Music Industry’s digitalization

How to assure artists’ Intellectual Property Rights efficient and sustainable protection?



By Audrey Tonkovic

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France




As a critical mainstay of any industry, intellectual property rights protection is one of the most challenging issues of entertainment industries as they see their environment strongly reshaped by the proliferation of digital technologies. For the recording industry, the spread of digital music and platforms came with the exponential growth of music piracy – critically jeopardizing artists’ work protection and their ownership towards their projects.

This paper examines the various ways to assure the efficient and sustainable protection of intellectual property rights in the music industry through contracts in order to find the best alternative to protect effectively artist’s achievements.

Our analysis will rely on several methodological tools such as root cause analysis and qualitative and quantitative methods in order to identify and understand better the causes, implications and potential alternatives to such an issue.

This research indicates that the need for new and adapted business models within the music industry is required in order to assure a sustainable and efficient protection of artists ownership throughout their projects.

Keywords – Copyrights management, created works protection, record industry, music, future, new business models


Intellectual property protection is the backbone of business models in managing creatives across many industries especially the music one. “Generating more than $17.3 billion in 2017”[1], the record industry “has become one of the largest and most profitable cultural industries worldwide”[2], being a consistent part of the global economy and a relevant source of revenues, employment and growth. One of the main challenges faced by the entertainment industry is the efficient and sustainable preservation of artists’ work and achievement through the protection of their intellectual property rights. Major concerns were raised around this topic and record labels’ ability to manage these new copyrights issues due to:

A – Technology[3]: the rise and birth of the internet impacted largely the entertainment industry, giving the ability to a better and broader access to any piece of information, work or achievement ever made. Music suddenly became more reachable, replicable and available for free access through any internet devices and sampling or file-sharing methods[4] – as “about 24% of the internet bandwidth that is used around the world at any given moment is being used to illegally download music and other copyrighted materials”[5] – threatening critically copyrights management into musical contracts as well as the emergence of new artists[6].

B – Consumer habits[7]: the internet era has changed the way music is consumed. Indeed, the birth of the internet led first to the emergence of illegal networks named peer-to-peer (P2P) – which is a continuous exchange platform of music files and data from consumer-to-consumer regardless of copyrights regulations. Secondly, legal applications and digital platforms flourishment over the last decade allowed subscribers to stream and download music and thus mostly for free.


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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Tonkovic, A. (2019). Music Industry’s digitalization: how to assure artists’ Intellectual Property Rights efficient and sustainable protection? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue V, June.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/pmwj82-Jun2019-Tonkovic-how-to-protect-artists-intellectual-property-rights.pdf



About the Author

Audrey Tonkovic

Paris, France




Audrey Tonkovic is a 23 years-old French student in the “Grande Ecole” Program at Skema Business School in the Parisian campus of Skema La Défense. After a 2 year-common course in marketing, she enrolled in a Master of Science degree program in Project and Program  Management and Business Development. She had a background in literary studies through a 2-year preparatory class in Sainte-Marie de Neuilly – from 2013 to 2015 – before entering Skema Business School in 2015. She was appointed the general secretary of a student union in Skema Lille (France), combining her interests for Music, Fashion and Arts in general.

She had multiple experiences in Project Management especially in Digital Marketing in the Fashion and Press industry through various internships. These experiences allowed her to confirm her will to work in project management and more specifically to work in project management of creatives – assuring the protection and continuous improvement of their work.

Passionate by Art industries, she is looking forward to making her proof as a Project Manager in these areas. Internationally-oriented, through her multiple student exchange experiences of 5 months each in Brazil (Belo Horizonte, Fundação Dom Cabral) and then in the United Stated (Raleigh, North Carolina State University (NCSU)), multiculturalism is something that she truly values – professionally and personally – as a great asset for general knowledge, personal culture, and great open-mindedness.

Enthusiastic and passionate to continuously learn and improve herself in this areas, Audrey can be contacted by email at audrey.tonkovic@skema.edu or by LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/audreytonkovic/.


[1]  Challenges, (2018, April 24), L’industrie du disque annonce des chiffres records en 2017. Retrieved from Challenges’ article: https://www.challenges.fr/high-tech/l-industrie-du-disque-annonce-des-chiffres-records-en-2017_582873

[2] Dong-Her, S., Ming-Hung, S., David, Y., & Che-Lun, C. (2014). A Robust Copyright and Ownership Protection Mechanism for Music. Retrieved from Springer Science.

[3] Jewell, C., Creating Value from Music – The Rights that Make it possible. Retrieved from: https://www.wipo.int/ip-outreach/en/ipday/2015/creating_value_from_music.html

[4] Muller, J., Copyrights issues involving music. Retrieved from: https://info.legalzoom.com/copyright-issues-involving-music-23410.html

[5] Gaille, B., (May 2017), 23 Shocking Music Piracy Statistics. Retrieved from: https://brandongaille.com/21-shocking-music-piracy-statistics/

[6] Granados, N., (February 2016), How Online Piracy Hurts Emerging Artists. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nelsongranados/2016/02/01/how-online-piracy-hurts-emerging-artists/#35c7be427774

[7] Cuadrado, M., Miquel, M.J., D. Montoro, J., (2009), Consumer Attitudes Towards Music Piracy: A Spanish Case Study. Retrieved from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41064994?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents