Managing Principal Jeffrey Cohen Discusses Antitrust Issues in the Music Industry during Global Antitrust Economics Conference
November 3, 2016
Analysis Group Managing Principal Jeffrey Cohen recently joined a panel of academics and legal practitioners to discuss the antitrust policy implications of new business models and innovation economics during the 2nd edition of the Global Antitrust Economics Conference. Organized by Concurrences Review together with the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, the conference took place on October 7, 2016.
During the panel, “Innovation Economics and New Business Models: Which Consequences for Antitrust Policy?”, Mr. Cohen's remarks focused on the music industry, and how innovation in music has bumped up against antitrust regulation for the better part of the last century. In particular, he discussed the role that intermediaries (i.e., the performance rights organizations or “PROs”) have played in managing the interests of both the performers and music consumers. Mr. Cohen noted that, over time, the Department of Justice has had robust discussions with the PROs about whether the consent decree that was entered back in the 1940s is still serving competitive purposes.
Other speakers on the panel included Greg McCurdy (Director of Global Competition Law for Uber Technologies, Inc.), who spoke about Uber's relatively small share of the broader ride-sharing marketplace; Marina Lao (Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission), who offered her perspective on “sharing economy” businesses such as Uber and Airbnb, and whether enforcement policies should be different to reflect the competitive dynamics in such companies' evolving business models; and Daniel F. Spulber (Elinor Hobbs Distinguished Professor of International Business and Professor of Strategy at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University), who discussed the proper frameworks for discussing these innovations generally.
The conference was divided in five panels, each of which discussed different aspects of antitrust law and economics. Keynote speeches were addressed by Howard Shelanski (US Office of Management and Budget - White House) and by Judge Frank Easterbrook (US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit).