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An Innovation-Based Model of Competitive Advantage for Digital Music Distribution: A Grounded Theory in Iran

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1. Title Title of document An Innovation-Based Model of Competitive Advantage for Digital Music Distribution: A Grounded Theory in Iran
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Taher Roshandel Arbatani; <p>Department of Media Management, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran</p>; Iran, Islamic Republic Of
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Hooman Asadi; <p>Department of Music, School of Performing Arts and Music, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran</p>; Iran, Islamic Republic Of
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Afshin Omidi; Department of Media Management, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Iran.; Iran, Islamic Republic Of
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4. Description Abstract


The digital era provides a good incentive for entrepreneurs of music industry to create new business models. Surprisingly, some of these digital businesses in the music industry have gained global renown and also earned a lot of money (e.g., iTunes). As the researchers have shown, the “distribution” of music in this new environment is at the heart of the music businesses. For example, a report has shown that in duration of 2003 and 2011, online digital music sales increased from 0.02 to 5.2 billion dollars.

On the other hand, according to the literature in the field of media management, innovation is the key to the success of such businesses in a vibrant environment in the present media environment. In this regard, drawing on the media innovation framework of Storsul and Krumsvik (2013), the main aim of this study is to design a competitive advantage model for digital music distribution (i.e., legal music download shop) in a developing country like Iran.

Problem Area

The digital music distributors are dramatically emerging and have created unique opportunities for creating efficient media markets in the music industry. According to previous literature, digital music distributors are considered as important intermediaries in the music industry and these intermediary businesses will be a key to reach the “efficient media market” in this industry. In particular, such businesses have begun to work recently in Iran (e.g.,, but in order to help Iranian entrepreneurs in this area, the present research body has a lot of unexplored dimensions. In other words, Iranian practitioner of digital music distribution, need to know that how they can improve their innovative activities to gain a competitive advantage, according to the special business environment that exists in this country. In this regard, by designing a suitable route to achieve the competitive advantage of these businesses based on media innovations, we can create a great deal of wealth in emerging markets such as Iran.


Using a qualitative approach, we will use from a grounded theory-building method according to the work of Strauss and Corbin (1997). In addition to a detailed review of the related literature, the authors of this study will conduct in-depth interviews with some of experts in the field of music industry according to the principles of purposeful sampling. It should be noted that the sampling process in this study will continue to reach the saturation level of our data.


This study contributes to the present literature as follows:

  1. This study provides in-depth insights into the framework of media innovation (Storsul & Krumsvik, 2013) in the music industry, in a way that allows digital distributors of music to gain competitive advantage in an emerging context. Therefore, the mentioned media innovation framework expands its boundaries in the digital music industry.
  2. The results of this study will show how the efficient media market in the music industry will be created by digital music distributors. In other words, the theory of “efficient media market” (Khajeheian, 2013) will illuminate its dark dimension in the music industry, specifically in a developing country like Iran.
  3. In a creative combination, this research will illustrate the dynamics of relationships between the three important perspectives – media innovation, competitive advantage and efficient media market – in digital music distribution that have not been seen in previous researches.

Practical Implications

Based upon the findings of the present study, Iranian practitioner in digital music distribution can improve their innovative strategies in a systematic way to gain a competitive advantage, with considering the specific conditions of the business environment in Iran. Ultimately, the prosperity of such digital businesses in a developing country paves the way for an efficient media market in the music industry.

Keywords: digital music distribution, competitive advantage, music industry, efficient media market, Iran.
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7. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 2018-06-28
8. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Paper
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9. Format File format
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11. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) emma conference 2020; emma conference 2018
12. Language English=en en
13. Relation Supp. Files Abstract (17KB)
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