ARAS has founded a research program to examine the impact of disruptive technologies on the Audio and Entertainment markets. This ongoing research program focuses on understanding emerging tech-driven disruption in audio, music, gaming, film, media, entertainment, content creation, as well as related engineering, production, distribution businesses. We define this industry as the A+E market.
Our goal is to provide insight and guidance to avoid costly mistakes, improve your ability to do business, build competitive advantage, and blaze the best paths through gathering fear, uncertainty, doubt, and disruption (FUD²).
The research used in this article was developed via a survey of industry professionals performed from Q419-Q120 (See Figures 1, 2 below). This research was presented at the Advanced Audio + Applications Exchange™ (A3E™) Conference at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show in Anaheim, CA in January 2020. Survey invitees and participants came from the A3E LLC industry and event database.
Survey Demographics
Figure 1. Survey Demographics – Business Type (n = 142)
Figure 2. Survey Demographics – Size of Business (# of Employees) (n = 142)
This survey is now closed and our new “Developer Disruptions” and “Digital Artistry” surveys are in progress.

Survey Findings

The pace of business change is accelerating. A technology cycle has traditionally taken 15-20 years to reach the plateau of optimization (see Figure 3). In 2020, we see those cycles compressing. This means that there is less time to identify, react, and either embrace or put barriers in place to stem their advance into your business space. In this case, we have identified many of the specific technologies we consider to be disruptive to the A+E market segment.
The complexity of disruptive technology increasing. The technologies examined in this research are either more complex than earlier cycles from the get-go or are increasingly more complex as they mature.
The sheer volume of disruptive technologies is increasing and coming from unexpected places. No longer will there be a few technology-driven threats to your business, there will be many threats. Conversely, there will also be more technology-driven opportunities to gain a competitive advantage for your business.
We see that technology is becoming increasingly integrated into business processes and products. Technology has been an adjunct to the business process in legacy systems. It has continuously morphed to define and essentially become the business process. Similarly, tech has become an essential value add to products from all industries. The A+E industry has been changed early and often by disruptive technologies. The difference now is that technology defines both business process and products.
Jobs, skills, development, distribution, and compensation are being disrupted by emerging, cloud-based technologies – especially Social Media and Artificial Intelligence. Truthfully, neither of these technologies are emerging, but are going through disruptive periods on their longer lifecycles. Social media is facing maturity issues amid increasing M&A and regulatory issues. Artificial Intelligence is awaking from an AI winter with specific capabilities like machine learning and generative adversarial networks that are particularly challenging to the A+E Industry.
There is major cognitive dissonance regarding industry disruptors versus their business impact. In general, we find that several industry disrupters reported by the respondents did not have as much impact on their own businesses and vice-versa. This may cause businesses to have a slow or no reaction to the threats and opportunities inherent in these disruptors.
Industry associations are critical resources for disruption-related knowledge and support. Many of the respondent businesses do not have the internal resources to identify, respond, and either mitigate the threats or seize the opportunities of emerging

Bottom Line: Disruption Is Continuous, Networked, and Accelerating

The disruptions that are emerging and affecting our survey participants now, and through YE2022, are just a another wave in a continuous cycle of disruption, disintermediation and massive opportunity in the A+E industry.

As noted at the beginning of this study, we are in the early stages of yet another A+E industry-wide business disruption driven by massive change and advancement in disruptive technologies.

What ARAS research enables right now is to identify current and immediate disruptors, and gauge the relevant impact on audio-related industries (e.g., music/entertainment, hardware, engineering, testing, software) through the next three years.

That information in turn enables us to guide and assist firms in seeing, avoiding, and mitigating the negative effects of disruption – and identify and take advantage of the many opportunities that develop along the way. Disruption creates chaos; but disruption also enables opportunity.

Further details of this study can be found in our report – Technology Disruptions in the Audio Business & Markets Through YE2022: A3E Research™ Findings and Forecasts