Modes of interaction between technological and social characteristics in digital music services
MetadataShow full item record
This research aims to extend current theory on the diffusion of innovations by providing theory incorporating both technological and social characteristics of an innovation. Thereby, it intends to overcome problems of technological determinism, linearity and retrospective models, which can be found in current literature on the topic. To arrive at that point, an emergent industry with close interaction between technological and sociological features will be investigated, namely the digital music industry. The research goal is to unravel the technological and social characteristics of digital music services and the modes of interaction between both. In order to do so, the determination/contingency framework of Lievrouw (2002) serves as a heuristic. Theoretical concepts will be drawn from Rogers’ (1995) Diffusion of Innovations for the technological characteristics and from the Social Shaping of Technology (Mackay & Gillespie, 1992; MacKenzie & Wajcman, 1999; Williams & Edge, 1996), User Innovation (von Hippel, 1976) and theory on virtual communities (Chiu et al, 2006; Dholakia et al, 2004; Hars & Ou, 2002; Jeppesen & Frederiksen, 2006; von Krogh & von Hippel, 2006) for the social characteristics. The on beforehand constructed theoretical concepts are tested by field research. The required data for this research are gathered by analysing relevant text documents and holding questionnaires among digital music users. These data are analysed using directed content analysis, in which statements are coded towards the concepts entered into the research; thereby confirming, adapting or rejecting these concepts. Of the total of 22 entered concepts, only three were not found to be present in the digital music industry. Next to that, five extra concepts were derived from the data analysis. Furthermore, the research found twelve modes of interaction, present in the digital music industry. These modes of interaction constitute collective action between two or more characteristics of the digital music industry, where one or more characteristics exert influence on the others. The existence of these modes of interaction could, to some extent, already be derived from general innovation science. However, for the most of them, their presence in the digital music industry was not yet underlined. The problem of vapourware and the time of entry discord, found in this research, are distinctively new features of the digital music industry, that have also not yet been described in general literature on the diffusion of innovations. These modes of interaction provide extension of current theory. Furthermore, this research has a theoretical contribution in proving the prevalence of certain technological characteristics, social characteristics and modes of interaction in the digital music industry; as well as presenting guidelines for future research. Finally, the practical contribution of this research is providing suppliers of digital music with tips and guidelines for strategic management.