The politics of the digital single market: Culture vs. competition vs. copyright

Simone Schroff (Lead Author), John Street

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper examines the implications for European music culture of the European Union’s Digital Single Market strategy. It focuses on the regulatory framework being created for the management of copyright policy, and in particular the role played by Collective Management Organisations (or Collecting Societies). One of the many new opportunities created by digitalization has been the music streaming services. These depend on consumers being able to access music wherever they are, but such a system runs counter to the management of rights on a national basis and through collecting organisations who act as monopolies within their own territories. The result has been ‘geo-blocking’. The EU has attempted to resolve this problem in a variety of ways, most recently in a Directive designed to reform the CMOs. In this paper, we document these various efforts, showing them to be motivated by a deep-seated and persisting belief in the capacity of ‘competition’ to resolve problems that, we argue, actually lie elsewhere - in copyright policy itself. The result is that the EU’s intervention fails to address its core concern and threatens the diversity of European music culture by rewarding those who are already commercially successful.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1321
Number of pages17
JournalInformation, Communication & Society
Issue number10
Early online date3 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Digital Single Market
  • Collective Management Organisations
  • Geo-blocking
  • Copyright Policy
  • Music industry

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