Friday, 19 July 2013

Is music ownership dead?

Considering the rise in the popularity of vinyl, it's a hard one to call.

A good place to start thinking about this seriously is a look at Wikstrom's (2012) paper (linked here). You might recognise the name from one of the recommended books on this blog, his 2009 title 'The Music Industry: Music in the Cloud' (second edition due later this year).

In his 2012 paper, Wikstrom introduces three distinct music distribution models:




He explains that the music industry is moving away from ownership models to context models, citing recent examples of enterprising artists who do things differently to give fans room to 'do things' and not simply consume. 

The article calls to mind 'Artist autonomy in a digital era: The case of Nine Inch Nails' (Brown, 2011) which was explored in some depth on this blog, exploring how to 'increase the value' of music.

With the rise of broadband penetration, smartphones (including all-you-can-eat data), cloud storage and subscription services, the concept of music ownership is indeed one which is changing.

Who knows where we will end up.

It's an interesting though, given the recent debate surrounding Spotify as a weak business model for new artists.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog


Brown, S.C. (2011). Artist autonomy in a digital era: The case of Nine Inch Nails. Empirical Musicology Review, 6(4), 198-213

Wikstrom, P. (2009). The Music Industry: Music in the Cloud. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Wikstrom, P. (2012). A Typology of Music Distribution Models. International Journal of Music Business Research, 1(1), 7-20.

Monday, 15 July 2013

[In response to] Atoms for Peace Vs. Spotify

The past 24 hours have been interesting, but hopefully not as interesting as what is likely to follow.

Essentially, bands we know and love affiliated with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich (of Radiohead fame) have actively removed their music from music subscription service Spotify.

The best run down of events can be found over on NME.

Now, I don't know too much about the revenue artists make from these services. Mostly, because musicians don't talk money very often. That is why I am so excited to see Thom and Nigel discussing this.

As Godrich explains, Spotify can benefit musicians with an established back catalogue. He argues that it is not likely to help new artists, though. And it is on this point that I would like to make my point.

As I have discussed in both a previous blog entry a year ago and in more depth recently over on the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry website,  an artists 'stage-in-the-game' now largely determines the best way for them to distribute their music. There is no one set way of doing things anymore.

Thom and Nigel may or may not be absolutely spot on, but I applaud them for having the balls to speak up about this. Their observation of 'old bands' and 'new bands' I think is an important one, and one that deserves more mainstream attention.

For now, hop on over to the links above to be enlightened by some music piracy research; which expands on this distinction.

Tweetology @musicpiracyblog

Monday, 8 July 2013

Recommended journals #1 'Information Economics and Policy'

With some recent blog posts straying away from the aim of this blog on music piracy research, this entry represents the first in a new series which rests alongside the popular 'Recommended books' entries.

Let's first of all get right back to basics and explore exactly what a journal is (in case you are unfamiliar).

A journal is a periodical publication which used to be primarily in print form, but now often includes digital versions (and digital only in some instances). Different authors publish articles in these journals, which are reviewed by an editorial board. With quality control therefore paramount (to all concerned), journals represent an excellent resource for research findings with the additional benefit of often being published much quicker than as a book. This is of particular value with digital piracy as it is a fast moving area overall.

Articles are not always as readable as books, but are worth soliciting if you are really keen to read up on the latest and greatest music piracy research.

A good place to start is Information Economics and Policy. Not only are 2 of the 3 most downloaded articles specifically related to digital piracy, but they have two special issues of particular interest. The December 2010 issue 'Special Issue: Digital Piracy' features 11 articles and the February 2012 issue 'The economics of digital media markets' features 8.

Consider these special issues as great little books.

And all great little books, they deserve a good little read!

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Friday, 5 July 2013

Giving life back to music promotion and distribution: A closer look at Daft Punk's Random Access Memories

Despite high-profile returns to the stage this year from the likes of My Bloody Valentine and David Bowie, 2013 is likely to belong to Daft Punk.

Going into some detail on the promotional strategy employed by Daft Punk with their hit album Random Access Memories, an article over on the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) provides 'a detailed review of all the hullabaloo'.

Oh, and it was written by me.

Inspiring a trend for pre-release-i-Tunes-streams-with-pre-orders, the article explains why the approach used by Daft Punk is NOT a recipe for success. Instead, drawing from academic research, it is proposed that artists would do better capitalising on a seldom explored phenomenon...

Check it out.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Monday, 1 July 2013

Why pirates are not immoral, and why it does not matter

Over a year ago, the morality of music piracy was a focal point on this blog.

Expanding on this article, is a new feature in the British Psychological Society magazine 'The Psychologist' (July, 2013). A cheeky open-access version of the issue can be accessed here (if you're REALLY keen).

Drawing from a wealth of recent research into the morality of digital piracy, this new piece explains how pirates know their illegal behaviours are immoral, but they do not care. Crucially, this immoral behaviour does not translate to other behaviours offline.

Oh, and it is also written by me.

An important and timely article, it summarises the research findings into morality to date and frames them in the context of anti-piracy strategies/deterrent approaches to amending piracy behaviours.


Brown, S.C. (2013, July). Digital piracy and the moral compass. The Psychologist, 26(7), 538-539.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog