ebusiness@newcastle

Case studies

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This research project has given our team the exceptional opportunity to engage with some of the most exciting and talented practitioners in the creative industries. We have gathered over 100 primary and secondary case studies in the past year and their business models have allowed to us to construct a Taxonomy of Business Models.

Here are a few examples of the interesting case studies we have been following:

Sell-a-Band (www.sellaband.com)

The music industry has been extensively disrupted by the internet with illegal downloading and file sharing.  Music is a risky business these days and the music labels have been seeing their profits drop year after year. But this is not always bad news for musicians. A new type of music business is emerging online which is giving musicians and artists a chance to connect directly to their fans.

Sell-a-band gives the power to the public, allowing music lovers to invest in a particular band/artist and get their money back through the sharing of revenues once the band has recorded an album. Think NASDAQ meets A&R scouts. Think power to the people. Think music revolution.

Whether this model will work for artists and music lovers in the long run yet to be seen. However the music industry has been characterized by innovations since its infancy and those firms which are willing to take the risk and invent a new wheel will most likely reap big benefits (even if they are not financial).

Herzensart (http://www.herzensart.com)

According to the DCMS Creative Industries Mapping Document craftspeople are often sole practitioners and multiple job-holders and many are micro-business which makes this creative sector financially difficult to assess and understand. However we have been able to find one business which is using a simple and successful business model.

Sandra Monat, designer and craftswoman, owns Herzensart, a small firm based in Germany which makes and sells ‘softies’. These creations are hand made toys, dolls and other figures which are made with exclusive fabrics and sold online to buyers all over the world. ‘Softies’ are very popular crafts in Europe and Herzensart are capturing international buyers through an ‘exclusivity’ business model.

Sandra Monat makes each ‘softie’ as a one of a kind, limited piece which will not be reproduced guaranteeing her customers exclusive products. The portfolio of creations also tells her customers in which country her creations are currently living in the world and her customers vary from Australians, Canadians and Asians. A great way to add value to hand made exclusive creations.

Michael Moore (http://slackeruprising.com/)

American documentarist Michael Moore is adopting a ‘free’ model in his new film ‘Slacker Uprising’ which portrays American voting attitudes.

Although all of his previous films have achieved high financial success both in cinemas and DVD sales, Michael Moore is now giving his new film away for free on his website.

Film makers and musicians are among a growing number of creative practitioners who are giving their creations away for free on the internet. This movement is a consequence to the growing and unstoppable numbers of internet users who are downloading sharing content freely online.

The ‘free’ model is a not ideal when it comes to direct financial gains, but it does present positive outcomes to creative practitioners who are looking for more media and customer exposure, as well as having a ripple effect on complimentary products. In the case of Michael Moore, his ‘free’ give away has translated into increased sales of the DVDs of his films.

We have also been working with some organisations through primary and secondary case studies as well as through consulting exercises. You can find more information about these organisations here: