Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Documentary film on Napster (excellent!)

Directed by Alex Winter (who for me will always be Bill from Bill and Ted fame), I stumbled upon a documentary film called 'Downloaded' all about the Napster Wars.

All the principals are interviewed and it's exciting to hear them discuss their naivety, with extensive footage covering the inception of the file-sharing service and the ensuing legal battles.

There's loads of footage from musicians like Metallica, Dr. Dre and Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, all offering different takes on music piracy.

The most fascinating aspect of this particular documentary is how affable and well-meaning Shawn Fanning, Shaun Parker etc. are, especially when compared to the guys behind The Pirate Bay, as captured on the recent documentary TBP: AFK.

I found 'Downloaded' on Netflix. I'm sure you will be able to find it somewhere similar in the world of VOD.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog


Winter, A. (Director). (2013). Downaloded [motion picture]. United States: VH1.

Monday, 19 January 2015

New professional website, with links to music piracy research

Took a while to get round to it, but I finally created a new website which acts as a central hub for my own empirical research and associated works.

In doing so, this frees up this blog to continue to comment on the research of others.

If you hop on over to www.stevencaldwellbrown.com you will find links to my various written works for academic journals and beyond.

Been aware that my online presence has been quite fragmented recently, with content on a lot of websites I do not manage myself and are not updated often: this new website ought to remedy that.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Do music fans now spend more on live music than recorded music?

Well, it wouldn't be difficult: live music events are now incredibly costly. And recorded music has never been cheaper.

But you won't find this detail in here where Music Week's Tim Ingham discusses findings from a new report from Neilsen which suggests that music fans in USA now spend more money on live music events than CDs, digital downloads, and music streaming combined.

It wouldn't surprise me.

It represents an ongoing shift in the music industry where for most musicians, the bulk of their income is from the live music sector.

The report of course deals in averages, but a good question to consider is this: if you could add up how much you spent on recorded music annually say 10 years ago, and how much you spend today, would it be more or less? Undoubtedly less. Then, if you could do the same for live music, would it be more or less? Most likely more, assuming you enjoy going to live concerts and do so when you can.

There's more concerts on the go more regularly and by a larger variety of bands than ever before, so it makes sense that people are spending more money on them.

It's where things are going, because artists can secure financial rewards from live performance (as much as 85% of revenues in fact, compared to around 10% for recorded music).

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Monday, 5 January 2015

Recommended journals #1: Popular Music Studies

Another year, another occasional series to add to the list.

We have had recommended books over the years and more recently a recap of key scholars involved in digital piracy research from different disciplines; in more recent months I have also set the ball rolling with in depth disscussion of my own contributions in the form of my 'anatomy of an article' series.

Now it's time to go a step further.

The ultimate goal of this blog is to arm readers with the tools to do their own detective work on music piracy and related topics to make up their own minds. Often this has come in the form of a simple link here and there.

The next logical step is to recommend particular journals to explore on your own and this is the subject of this blog entry, where I list a few journals of interest which I believe will be of interest to my readership.

Popular Music is a discipline in its own right and the articles you will find in Popular Music journals are suitably diverse, often situated in what you might consider a broader world of Cultural Studies, with some Sociology and Politics in there. Some recommended journals which I have referenced throughout the years include:

Popular Music
Rock Music Studies
Popular Music and Society

These are distinct from Music Psychology journals, which I will post about in due course.

In the three journals above (and I will try and keep it limited to three in the future as well) you will find yourself immersed in a world of music who goes way beyond the scope of this humble blog - strap yourself in. As well as articles which typically avoid statistics or any fuzzy methods, you will find book reviews and special issues dedicated to particular topics.

You cant lose.

Often, articles are free to access (especially with themed issues), but if you're struggling to access particular papers, have a good search for the article name and the authors online as you might find earlier versions lingering on institutional or personal websites: check out my Resources page for further help on this.

Meet n' Tweet @musicpiracyblog

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Link to 200+ articles on digital piracy research

A while ago, I posted an entry about a key addition to the literature in the form of this report here which systematically reviews research on digital piracy and does so in a critical way. It highlights the many shortcomings of methodology, issues with definitions, etc.

Then I recently stumbled upon an appendix to the report which includes a full reference list of the 200+ studies reviewed, and supplemental content on the breakdown of different studies which considered predictive factors of digital piracy by 'media type' (i.e. music, movies, etc.).

At a glance, it's probably the single best entry to the world of digital piracy research possible.

A mega recommend, and an optimal way to round off 2014.


Watson, S.J., Zizzo, D.J. and Fleming, P. (2014). Determinants and Welfare Implications of Unlawful File Sharing: A Scoping Review (Working Paper No. 2014/5). Retrieved from Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy website:  http://www.create.ac.uk/publications/determinants-and-welfare-implications-of-unlawful-file-sharing-a-scoping-review/

Monday, 22 December 2014

The Soundtrack to Christmas is Changing - here's a compilation of reasons why

Hop on over to The Conversation to find my latest contribution. It's a festive one!

In the article, I review the sorts of music compilations you might fund stuffed in your stocking this year. And why. There's even a few Spotify playlists stuck in there. It's Christmas, after all.

Times are changing in this era of instant gratification with unlimited streaming and all the rest of it, and it's interesting to note that formal music compilations are not exactly an aging dinosaur.

Even if it isn't you who is buying them.

Tweets @ musicpiracyblog

Friday, 19 December 2014

New 'Crouching Tiger' sequel to be released on same day in theatres and VOD

For a long time, film critic Mark Kermode has shown support for films being released on the same day in cinemas as on VOD services. For even longer, George Lucas has championed this move. The logic is simple: this would appeal to different audiences.

It looks like next year, with the sequel to 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon', this will finally happen.

The move follows the principle behind the also-penned-for-2015 move to release new albums on the same date, in an effort to minimise copyright infringement. Yet, it looks like not everyone is happy about it.

The Guardian's Ben Child reports that some cinema chains are planning on boycotting the release.

I'm excited to see how it all plays out, where Netflix really is emerging as a dominant force in entertainment. It's unclear where things are going, but innovation should always be celebrated for what it's worth and evaluated on it's successes and failures afterwards, not shot down in advance.

Twitter @musicpiracyblog