| HBS Case Collection
(Revised April 2009)
MP3 Portable Audio Players and the Recorded Music Industry
The emergence of the MP3 file-based music format not only disrupted the market for portable audio players, it also had a huge impact on the business models of major record labels. Modularity, and the commoditization spill-over enabled by modularity in the personal computer industry, was a major force in the development of the market. While Apple's iPod today holds the dominant market position, new forces of commoditization continue to drive shifts in the value chain. The case examines the commoditization cycle and contrasts integrated solutions such as the iPod-iTunes software-iTunes Music Store with emerging competition from other MP3 players and the Amazon.com Music Store.
Keywords: Customer Value and Value Chain;