Sunday, 30 June 2013

Vienna Music Business Research Days (conference review)

One of the events listed on the 'Events' page, the annual Vienna Music Business Research Days celebrated its fourth year last week, focusing on 'the future of music licensing'.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the event and was impressed by the enthusiasm from the speakers, which included individuals from all over the world and from a variety of backgrounds (including academia, politics and industry).

Young scholars also presented challenging research papers on a variety of topics.

An informal and welcoming event, it comes recommended for anyone in mainland Europe who would like to get up close and personal on informed debate over changes in the music industry. They do a live stream, which is rare. So if you CAN'T make it next time around, there's no stopping you getting involved all the same.

A beautiful city, Vienna is easy to get to and even easier to get around once you're there.

I will certainly be back next year (when I will be better prepared for the weather...)

Check out the PDF of this years programme to get more information on individual speakers and their work.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Friday, 28 June 2013

'What is piracy?' A TED talk

Love TED talks? Interested in piracy? You came to the right place.

Check out this recent presentation titled 'What is Piracy? by Jean-Philippe Verge which is entertaining and informative (as is the TED way!). Having some issues which prevented a convenient embedded video. Apologies.

It's not just digital piracy under discussion here, so strap yourself in on this one.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Monday, 24 June 2013

Is Hollywood reacting to movie piracy by charging MORE for theatre tickets?

It's not a bad idea.

Strap in folks, we're going to the movies...

Everyone is talking about this, where perhaps the best breakdown of events can be found in Time magazine.

In a nutshell, $50 got moviegoers a ticket to see the new Brad Pitt movie World War Z ahead of release, with the ticket money incorporating merchandise and a future download of the film.

A pretty package.

Is this a one-off promo? The film was delayed for some time, so little stunts like this generate a bit more hype (think: Daft Punk). If this was rolled out universally in the future, it could really interfere with kids going on first dates...

The real interest in this event as a news story stems from the timing: just days after Directors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg speculated over a new pricing structure for movies. Lucas, you may recall, was innovative enough to build an entire franchise around merchandise. He also champions an alternative release strategy for movies to cater for different audiences: releasing them in theatres and on home video on the same day.

So should listen to them? Hell yes. They know what they're talking about.

If less people can go to the movies and pay more, then not only does it counterbalance the revenues (at the minimum), but the people who do choose to go see new releases can (in principle) have a better time.

There's a million different options to listen to music now to cater for single-download demand etc., what's to say it wont work for movies?

Movie piracy is still a really big issue, especially in USA. It's no coincidence that the most pirated movies every year are the ones that aren't available legally elsewhere (hence Lucas' simultaneous release strategy). Shaking things up a bit, without making people like me with glasses wear another pair of glasses can only be a good thing.

It's all about innovation.

Speaking of which, prescription 3d glasses anyone?

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Friday, 21 June 2013

International Journal of Music Business Research

For those of you emailing complaining that you are struggling to access articles on music piracy... this post is for you. For I have been digging around for you.

Hop on over to the International Journal of Music Business Research website where you will find a rare open-access journal which offers some tasty articles on topics related to this blog.

As well as bi-annual issues with articles, the website acts as a central hub for The International Association of Music Business Research (IAMBR) and acts as a glorified blog as well with regular content of interest.

Check it out!

Tweets @ musicpiracyblog

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Quote of the month

 Because sometimes, someone else has just put it so much better.

 From the truly excellent book 'How Music Works' (2012), former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne explains how:

 “A century of technological innovation and the digitization of music has inadvertently had the effect of emphasizing its social function. Not only do we still give friends copies of music that excites us, but increasingly we have come to value the social aspect of a live performance more than we used to. Music technology in some ways appears to have been on a trajectory in which the end result is that it will destroy us and devalue itself. It will succeed completely when it self-destructs. The technology is useful and convenient, but it has, in the end, reduced its own value and increased the value of the things it has never been able capture or reproduce.

Technology has altered the way music sounds, how it’s composed, and how we experience it. It has also flooded the world with music. The world is awash with (mostly) recorded sounds. We used to have to pay for music or make it ourselves; playing, hearing, and experiencing it was exceptional, a rare and special experience. Now hearing it is ubiquitous, and silence is the rarity that we pay for and savor” (p. 136).

Easily one of the best books I've read in years, you can buy it from Amazon here.

Twitter feed @musicpiracyblog

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Working papers using data from French record companies and French musicians

Firstly, what is a working paper?

A working paper is a publication that authors make available ahead of being formally published in a journal or other resource. Often, some changes occur between the publication of the working paper and the finished article. As such, they can be considered the research equivalent of a literary work-in-progress.

More popular amongst some disciplines (and indeed some countries) than others, these resources have the benefit of being available for anyone to read - including you.

And so, the first working paper reviewed in this blog post comes to the conclusion that digitization allows record companies to produce more albums, targeting niche markets. Importantly, the authors note that this does not result in greater sales. The findings synchronise with the 'long tail effect' theory (Anderson, 2006). Check it out.

The second, builds on the 'stage in the game' phenomenon discussed in this blog last July where piracy is seen to affect artists differently. One core finding is that artists who do more live performances are more tolerant of piracy.

With hundreds of related working papers out there, why create a blog post about these two?

Well, these two are not only in novel in as much as they draw from data from record companies and musicians, but they draw from French data. With much research from USA, it's good to see research from other countries where there have been some valuable contributions from mainland Europe in music piracy research, including from Spain, Netherlands and Sweden (as well as my native United Kingdom).

Get on out there with some creative Google search terms. See what you find.

Tweets when I'm not listening to Daft Punk (and often when I am) @musicpiracyblog


Anderson, C. (2006). The Long Tail. Hyperion: New York.

Bacache, M., Borreau, M. and Moreau, F. (in press). Piracy and Creation: The Case of the Music Industry. European Journal of Cultural Economics.

Borreau, M., Gensollen, M., Moreau, F. and Waelbroeck, P. (in press). "Selling Less of More"? The Impact of Digitization on Record Companies. Journal of Cultural Economics.