Sony Music (India)

Mani, Deepa; Shah, Geetika. "Sony Music (India) ", 2013
Discipline: Strategy 
Industry: Music
Length: 19p
Subjects covered: Disruptive innovation; Information systems; Information technology; Strategy
Publication Date: February 15, 2013
"This case study illustrates the principles of disruptive innovation in the context of the music industry in India. Widespread technological changes, including the spread of the Internet and mobile penetration, began to redefine the industry in terms of the way music was created, accessed and consumed. With these technological changes sweeping the industry in a relatively short time frame, the cost of music creation and consumption declined rapidly and incumbents began to find it difficult to sustain operations at current profit margins. The Indian music industry was the archetype of an industry disrupted by technological forces. In such a scenario, the case highlights the dilemma of Sony Music India, a large music recording company, which had been operating in the Indian music industry since 1998 and was now exploring the potential options available for growth and profitability in the evolving digital music space. The Indian subsidiary benefits from learning from its parent but operates under a different business model. The case is set in 2012, and places the student in the shoes of Vivek Paul, Head of Digital Media, who is pondering over what form Sony's digital platform offering should take. How different was the Indian music landscape from the West? What were the disruptive impacts? Should the response of the company mirror its parent corporation? What was the economic upside? Should the company sell exclusively through its own site? Should the company launch a separate organization to manage its digital business? "

Learning objective:
This case is designed for course sessions that focus on disruptive innovations in general, and on how information technologies disrupt industries, including business models, products, services and competitive strategies, in particular. It views the challenge of industry disruption from an incumbent's perspective, and requires the student to examine some of the key technological invariants that trigger disruptions and understand how these disrupted the music industry.