Sunday, 31 January 2016


Been wanting to wrap this blog up for at least a year now, as I am engaged in a lot of other writing projects. When an article written for The Conversation got more hits in a week than this blog has in over three years, I knew it was time to move on. The blog is no longer fit-for-purpose.

Today, it ends. But it ends with a 'bang'...

The goal of this blog was to discuss research into music piracy, to shed some informed light on things. It was also about empowering readers with the tools and resources to do this themselves, without my input. With that in mind, I have frequently linked readers to publicly accessible resources to facilitate their own research, on their own time.

I have now found other, better resources in which to share my research with the general public - some are online, many are offline.

And so, it is time for me to log out once and for all.

I will however leave this website live for the foreseeable future in the hope that it is useful.

Over and out.

Twitter @musicpiracyguy

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Database of research articles into copyright

Happy holidays.

See here for a comprehensive link to a database containing hundreds of research articles and reports into copyright.

Many of them have featured on this blog in the past, but many more have not; the list is also constantly expanding.

Tweets @musicpiracyguy

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Research methodology used in music piracy research: revisited

Hop on over to the excellent 'Ragged University' website for a brief article of mine on research methodology used in music piracy research.

It covers many of the issues in the 2014 Convergence article 'Approaches to digital piracy research: A call for innovation', which has been discussed elsewhere on this very blog.

How do researchers explore piracy? What are the limitations in research design? Are the findings generalisable? These are some of the questions I am keen to explore here.

The article is also littered with some great links, for those of you keen to dig a bit deeper.

Tweets @musicpiracyguy


Brown, S.C. (2014). Approaches to digital piracy research: A call for innovation. Convergence, 20(2), 129-139.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Recommended book: How Music Got Free

Took me a while in the end to get round to reading this, and here is my summary.

Witt's book provides an in-depth account of the origins of file-sharing (it goes back longer than you might expect) with vivid descriptions of the principals.

I learned a lot, including that the first pirated song was 'Until it Sleeps', by Metallica. I like details like that.

Defining the year 2000 as the 'banner year' in the timeline of digital music piracy (and I agree), the second half of the book picks up in more familiar territory, and it is here where the real arguments are made.

For instance, Witt ponders: "If something was available for free, and could be freely and infinitely reproduced for free, with no degradation in quality, why would anyone pay to own it for a second time, when they already had it, for free?" (p. 125).

He also critiques streaming, with up to date examples.

It's a non-academic book, so an easy one to swallow.


Witt, S. (2015). How Music Got Free. London, England: The Bodley Head.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Just how relevant is the album format in 2015?

Published this article on The Conversation which focuses on Adele's new release '25' and the recent 2015 Mercury Music Prize.

The article considers the notion that music listening is becoming more passive, that albums are getting shorter, and that the album format may very well be encouraging music piracy.

Check it out.

Tweets @musicpiracyguy

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Business Of Music-Streaming Services: How Deals With Record Labels And Publishers Are Made

Stumbled upon this piece from Tech Times recently which explores music streaming services in some detail.

Though it fails to come to any real conclusions, it offers a neat summary of various aspects of subscription services including how it works differently for established and emerging artists - something I have discussed many times on this blog.

Notably, it draws from academic research (albeit fixated on one study).

Have a peek.

Tweets @musicpiracyguy

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Is Spotify good or bad?

Well that depends on who you ask.

Certainly, if you look at this new working paper from Economists Aguiar and Waldfogel, released today, Spotify both reduces legal and illegal music consumption.

The effect is a 'revenue neutral' outcome for the industry.

Specifically, the authors highlight that 137 streams on Spotify reduces sales by 1 unit.

Find a better rundown here.

Tweets @musicpiracyguy


Aguiar, L. and Waldfogel, J. (2015). Streaming Reaches Flood Stage: Does Spotify Stimulate or Depress Music Sales? (Working paper 21653). Retrieved from The National Bureau of Economic Research website: