Thursday, 6 November 2014

Various teaching links: two-sided markets

 Lots of news on platform economics and two-sided markets

1. The CMA is going to have an inquiry into banks.

Analysis: Kamal Ahmed, BBC business editor

When the Competition and Markets Authority talks about lack of "transparency" in banking, they are highlighting one of the key anomalies of the banking market - that current accounts are ostensibly free.

A "free" upfront product raises all sorts of tensions in any market as commercial operators have to make their profits elsewhere. This is often in hidden charges and - in the case of banking - what is called forgone interest (that is interest not paid on deposits).
I am sure the issue of "free in-credit banking" will be part of this review. If customers paid up front for accounts would they demand a better service? Would they be more likely to switch if they were not satisfied with their bank? If customers are charged for bank accounts, what does that mean for people on lower incomes, would they be priced out of full service banking?
These are difficult issues, and ones which the CMA will be looking to answer.

2. Taylor Swift does not like Spotify 
2a. some analytics

Taylor Swift, Spotify and an industry unsure how to make money

Many people are puzzled: why would Taylor Swift, one of the world’s biggest pop stars, remove her entire catalogue of music from Spotify, a streaming service that pays her millions of dollars each year?

What is clear is that Ms Swift and Big Machine, her Nashville-based record label, believe they can make more money by withdrawing from Spotify and focusing on sales of CDs and downloads.

The decision goes to the heart of a long-running debate in the entertainment business: what is the best way to make money out of recorded music?
“The music industry has still not figured out the best way to extract value in the digital era,” said Jeremy Silver, a digital media consultant.
Consumers are increasingly using streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer, which last year accounted for about 10 per cent of the $15bn global recorded music market.
Spotify charges $9.99 a month for unrestricted access to millions of songs, and passes almost 70 per cent of its revenues back to rights holders. But to encourage users to sign up in the first place, it also has a free tier, which includes advertising.

It is this free tier that drags down the royalty rate the company is able to pay record labels. Each individual stream of a song generates a fraction of a cent in revenue, on average, compared with as much as $1 for the sale of an individual download and even more for a CD sale.

Ms Swift and other big artists such as Beyonc√© and Coldplay have long pursued a strategy of keeping new albums off streaming services in the initial period after launch. But the decision to pull Ms Swift’s entire catalogue from Spotify is unprecedented.
According to a person familiar with the matter, it was the two-tier model that proved problematic. Big Machine wanted to keep Ms Swift’s songs on Spotify’s paid tier and remove it from the free service. But Spotify requires rights holders to be on both tiers or none at all, so the label pulled the whole catalogue.

2b. some song lyrics about it.