The Digital Media Manifesto



Martin Springer


Extension of use case no. 05: Music distribution



This contribution extends DMP Use Case: 030810chiariglione01

3. Description of the digital use case

Two models can be considered:

  1. distribution of music protected by a "reasonable copyright" license (a license that allows copying and redistribution)
  2. distribution of music protected by a "restrictive" license (a license that restricts copying and redistribution)

The first model tends to support a new channel to distribute music (and legalise some exsiting channels).

End users can acquire audio (e.g. MP3, OGG) files of music items that they can listen to, copy and distribute on the conditions specified in
the license terms.

End users can reuse audio (e.g. MP3, OGG) files and metadata (e.g. MOD and other tracker files, lyrics) to make derivative works.

In the following only model 1. is further analysed (see [1] and [2] for further reading (in German)).

3.1 Functions of the digital use case

The functions are:

  1. Authors (musicians) make music items using analogue and digital instruments for playing, digitizing, modifying and sampling sound.
  2.  Aggregators acquire the right to distribute music items from different sources (Authors)
  3. Aggregators provide production services (mastering of music items, generation of metadata for the description of music items)
  4. Aggregators provide promotion services (graphics and covers for the music releases, marketing)
  5. Aggregators provide technology for electronic distribution (server, bandwidth)
  6. Aggregators provide management services (booking of musicians for live performances, accounting services, rights management
  7. Aggregators give away music items via the internet for free, protected by a "reasonable copyright" license
  8. Aggregators provide production and distribution services for physical media (Retail)
  9. End users (Consumers) acquire music items for free
  10. End users (Consumers) can perform the actions the Aggregator supports (e.g. making a CD, making derivative works).
  11. End users (Consumers) can support Aggregators/ Authors by

3.2 Value chain players in the digital use case

Value chain players are similar to the traditional case.

  1. Author
  2. Support to artists rights (Aggregator)
  3. Content Production (Aggregator)
  4. Marketing (Aggregator)
  5. Other promotions (Aggregator)
  6. Distribution technology provision (Aggregator)
  7. Distribution (Network, Physical media)
  8. Retail (Physical media)
  9. Consumption devices
  10. End user (Consumer)

The Aggregator provides the value chain from "Support to artists rights" to "Distribution technology provision".

3.3 Technologies used in the digital use case

Technologies are:

  1. Internet technologies
  2. Electronic payment
  3. Information technologies (PC etc.)

3.4 Cost/ Benefit


Support to artists rights:


Marketing and Promotion:


Consumption devices:

Rights management:

3.5 Legislative framework of the digital use case

Significant work is done in the domain of license development for "reasonable copyright" licenses (e.g. [3],[4])

3.6 Business model of the digital use case

All portions of the value chain are affected.

Since there is no guaranteed funding by the Consumers, the business model must rely on alternative funding, e.g.:

A crucial factor for the success of the business model is a level of trust between all value chain players (Authors, Aggregators and

3.7 Difficulties of current deployment

Current deployment suffers from the fact that some technology (hardware, software) is considered illegal by traditional value chain players. Usage within the PC is convenient but moving content to other, even more convenient devices is possible.

4. Hurdles

  1. Unfair contracts between Authors and Aggregators
  2. Lack of an effective system for electronic micropayment (e.g. to send money to Bankers for funding releases)
  3. Lack of Consumers understanding of information economics [6]

5. Relations with other use cases

Use case no. 05: Music distribution

6. References

[1] Moritz Sauer ( "Spitzt da wer die Schlappohren?", DE:BUG. 76-11.2003,

[2] Sascha Koesch ( "Zwischen den Releases", DE:BUG. 76-11.2003,

[3] The GNU Free Documentation license (

[4] Creative Commons (

[5] Kelsey, Schneier, 1998 "The Street Performer Protocol and Digital Copyrights",

[6] John Perry Barlow, 1992 "Selling Wine Without Bottles: The Economy of Mind on the Global Net",