Can online music platforms be fair? An interdisciplinary research Manifesto

Giuseppe Mazziotti*, Heritiana Ranaivoson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

In this article we present a manifesto for research into the complex interplay between social media, music streaming services, and their algorithms, which are reshaping the European music industry – a sector that has transitioned from ownership to access-based models. Our focus is to assess whether the current digital economy supports a fair and sustainable development for cultural and creative industries. The manifesto is designed to pave the way for a comprehensive analysis. We begin with the context of our research by briefly examining the de-materialisation of the music industry and the critical role of proprietary algorithms in organising and ranking creative works. We then scrutinise the notion of “fairness” within digital markets, a concept that is attracting increasing policy interest in the EU. We believe that, for “fairness” to be effective, the main inquiry around this concept – especially as regards remuneration of music creators – must be necessarily interdisciplinary. This presupposes collaboration across complementary fields to address gaps and inconsistencies in the understanding of how these platforms influence music creation and consumption and whether these environments and technologies should be regulated. We outline how interdisciplinary expertise (political science, law, economics, and computer science) can enhance the current understanding of “fairness” within Europe’s cultural policies and help address policy challenges. The article details how our research plan will unfold across various disciplinary hubs of a Horizon Europe project (Fair MusE) that aims to explore the challenges and opportunities of today’s digital music landscape. The plan culminates in the integration of these hubs’ findings to deliver “key exploitable results”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-279
Number of pages31
JournalIIC International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • 2019 Copyright Directive
  • Data
  • European Union
  • Fairness
  • Music streaming
  • Playlists
  • Recommender systems
  • Social media

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