The disruptive impact of the Internet on the content industry – Music, movies – is now a known fact. The nature of the disruption, however, is not so well understood. Music majors and large media groups have grown out of the necessity to manage limited bandwidth and related resources. Up until recently, physical constraints had limited the number of TV channels and radio stations, which meant that those stations acted as de facto gatekeepers and could select who would go on air and who would not. They worked hand in hand with the majors, who performed the same function upstream. In a world of plastic, launching a new song was very expensive: expensive studio material had to be used, discs had to be physically created and distributed, so artists had to be selected and only a few could be produced. The business was about how to fill available physical slots in the most profitable way. Thanks to these industry players, people in the twentieth century were able to enjoy music, as they had not been able ever before. Radio stations and majors played the indispensable role of gatekeepers and, logically enough, could set up tollbooths to be rewarded for their service.
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