Competing against online sharing

Ramon Casadesus‐Masanell (Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Andres Hervas‐Drane (Economics Department, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 7 September 2010



This paper aims to explore online sharing of copyrighted content over peer‐to‐peer (p2p) file sharing networks and its impact on the music industry, and to assess the viable business models for the industry in the future.


The authors analyze the evolution of the online content market over the years that followed the widespread adoption of p2p. The paper is based on a teaching case, and builds on two related academic papers that provide the theoretical underpinnings for the analysis.


Based on the early developments observed in this marketplace and the aforementioned theoretical work, the paper argues that it is unfeasible to fully eradicate p2p, and so the industry must embrace it by understanding how consumers derive value from the technologies that enable it.


The developments analyzed here offer relevant insights for the online content marketplace, allow the scope of strategies available to the music industry to be understood better, and may provide lessons for other industries transitioning to online business models.



Casadesus‐Masanell, R. and Hervas‐Drane, A. (2010), "Competing against online sharing", Management Decision, Vol. 48 No. 8, pp. 1247-1260.

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