Displacement and complementarity in the recorded music industry: evidence from France

Marc Ivaldi, Ambre Nicolle*, Frank Verboven, Jiekai Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Do new digital consumption channels of music depress sales in old physical ones, or are they complementary? To answer this question, we exploit product-level variation in sales and prices of over 4 million products, observed weekly between 2014 and 2017 for the entire French market. A unique feature of our data is that we observe sales for both physical and digital products, as well as streaming consumption. At the track-level, we find that streaming displaces digital sales. At the more aggregate artist-level, digital sales displace physical sales, but streaming implies a promotional effect on physical sales. This complementarity is driven by popular genres, i.e., Pop and Variety. Most of our findings are robust to whether we consider the hits or include the products that belong to the long tail. Our findings bridge two streams of literature as we show that displacement between consumption channels at the product level can coexist with complementarity at a more aggregate level.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Cultural Economics
Publication statusPublished - 02.03.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • digitization
  • music industry
  • music consumption
  • streaming


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