Record lables in the digital age: The use of business intelligence in decision-making processes

Emil Møller Angelsø

Student thesis: Master thesis


The aim of this thesis has been to illuminate how business intelligence is used in decision-making processes at a record label, in the process of releasing music from a new act. This was done by first highlighting some characteristics of music as a product that are structuring the record industry. Then, the technological development’s effect on the music consumption was explored, showing that music consumption is moving from physical sales to online streaming services today. This has opened for the gathering and exploitation of user generated data regarding music consumption. It was the initial assumption the BI would be used at the Danish record label Sony Music to help the uncertainty of releasing music from a new act. Through the construction of a conceptual framework based in theories regarding BI and human judgment processes of heuristics, the use of business intelligence used in decision-making processes was analysed. The research method used for the study is a qualitative abductive method, based on qualitative data, gathered at the case company Sony Music Entertainment Denmark. The findings were divided into four distinct phases of releasing new music at Sony Music. These phases were constructed according to the collected data from four semi-structured interview at Sony Music, based on the level of uncertainty of each phase, and the structure of the tasks relating to the phase. The four phases were discovery, negotiation, marketing planning, and evaluation. The main findings were that the uncertain environment, led to a lack of resources, resulting in in-depth data analysis not being utilized until the record label has signed a contract with the act. Data driven assessments were given on the profitability of the act, but were based on assessment relating to subjective judgement and framing of the project, that may have led to biased results. The late structured use of BI lead to a process where BI was utilized to legitimize and optimize the initial decision made on signing a contract with the act. An organisational experience that most data is irrelevant, due to market changes, has led to a stop of recording and storing evaluations. The effect of this is that Sony Music does not have a database to match the data gathered for analysis. Last, it was found that the use of BI is constricted to the employees who in everyday tasks are confronted with tools that allow for data analysis. These tools were mainly used in the phase of marketing planning. The A&R managers were not forced to use data analysis tools in their daily work, even though the international Sony Music Entertainment provides such tools.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages84