This is the first in a series of posts about my view on the current state of the music industry.
Player #1: The Music Oligarch. Music is an oligopoly codified in the intellectual property laws of the United States. Like other successful oligopolies, the Music Oligopoly attempts to exert pricing power by limiting competition and supply. Unlike other oligopolies, the Music Oligopoly cannot limit supply by geographic boundary or exclusivity. Instead, their control over supply is purely a function of their legal rights. As a result, the Music Oligarchs are obsessed with legal enforcement as the principal means for controlling supply to keep pricing high, protect margins and thereby feed and maintain the oligopoly. That single-minded focus has occurred at the expense of innovation which is being demanded by the rapidly changing needs of the music consumer. As those needs have changed and legal enforcement by the Music Oligarchs has become highly visible, the Music Oligarchs have lost the support of the very audiences they ostensibly serve and in fact are now seen as enemies by much of that audience.