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Paper info: Network expansion and population trimming: the case of the global music industry


Network expansion and population trimming: the case of the global music industry


Johan KaskChristina Öberg

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 33rd IMP-conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017.


Not available


Based on longitudinal data from the global music industry, this paper examines how companies may expand their networks geographically while, at the same time, the population of active businesses is trimmed by selection mechanisms. The paper combines theory from evolutionary approaches in social sciences on the mechanisms weeding out the least adopted from a population, with the business-as-a-network approach on network dynamics. In the music industry, the number of record companies has decreased from large sets of actors in most open economies in the interwar period to only three multinational, major record groups to date. The so-called ‘majors’ have over the years expanded their network across borders through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions at the expense of, primarily, the medium-sized and mainstream national record companies. These latter companies have become an endangered species, while small genre-specific niche companies still find nourishment in the industry’s outskirts. The paper contributes to previous research on network dynamics through pointing at its evolutionary mechanisms and the expansion of networks, and through illustrating how these approaches may be combined. The paper also contributes to previous research through its empirical description of the music industry and its development over time.