Thursday, 29 May 2014

Academics present research in Comedy Clubs [An event review]

Because sometimes I get to go outside.

As mentioned in a recent blog entry, there's a group of researchers in Glasgow who present their research findings to the public in a Comedy Club called The Stand. You can find out more about them here.

I wrote a review of sorts (because it's nice to write about something other than digital piracy) which you can find here. I was really impressed with how well the individual presenters engaged with the audience, without having any common language with them; it made for lively analogies and comprehensible breakdowns of different topics (all too often not the case at conferences). It's something I might try myself in the future.

Always impressed with anyone who can explain complex phenomena in straightforward ways (Richard Dawkins is particularly good at this, the clever dick that he is). I'm especially struck by how important this skill is when reading a recent news article which suggests that the British public are not particularly knowledgeable about important current issues, possibly due to wonky reporting from mass media. If only someone would make an impartial blog on the findings from research into music piracy research...

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Excuses, not reasons? How pirates rationalise their behaviours

An exciting area of research principally amongst Criminologists, work into the neutralisations and rationalisations of digital piracy reveal what can thought of as some of the 'excuses' people make to justify their behaviours. Importantly, these behaviours must first of all be interpreted as wrong in order to merit engagement in such rationalising.

A recent article by Smallridge and Roberts (2013) not only summarises this area of research well (certainly better than I just did) but adds to it by including new neutralisation techniques including 'the claim of normalcy', where people point to the large volume of others engaging in digital piracy to make them feel better.

Notably, their study considers movie, music, software, and gaming piracy independently, and concludes that: "There are some differences in neutralization acceptance across piracy type. In addition, some techniques appear to have a stronger impact on certain types of piracy" (p. 136.).

The paper also comes from the open-access journal 'International Journal of Cyber Criminology' which means you can read it for free.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog


Smallridge, J.L. and Roberts, J.R. (2013). Crime Specific Neutralizations: An Empirical Examination of Four Types of Digital Piracy. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 7(2), 125-140.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

'In Two Minds': Public event on the psychology of voting [Event Review]

When I discuss this notion of piracy being 'good' or 'bad' at conferences or when teaching, I routinely relate it to the upcoming referendum in Scotland to vote for independence (or the other way around). Specifically, I ask people to be critical of the sorts of things people in either camp say to support their point of view. This sort of thinking inspired my recent article on critiquing the research methods used when researching digital piracy

Anyway, given I occasionally get out the house, I reviewed a recent public engagement event where academics debated the psychology of decision-making, specific to the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence - you can find the piece here on my web page which includes links to other (piracy-specific) content which might be of interest.

It was a great event, and showed how academics can engage with the public and uphold their important roles as public intellectuals, reserving their own judgements on such sensitive topics when presenting their research. I aspire to do the same on this blog.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Porn Piracy

Been researching this quietly for some time (with an article in the pipeline) and over the last month or so there has been a few big news items, including this one where adult stars launch a 'Pay for your porn' campaign, explaining that porn piracy harms the adult entertainment industry.

The official website explains that 'If you don't pay for porn, then no more will be produced - it's as simple as that', and labels porn as 'stolen content'. The rhetoric surrounding theft continues on their Twitter page where Adult Performer Cherie DeVille asks: "Want us all to keep sucking dick??? Then stop stealing our stuff!!"

The article linked above raises some interesting points on why the porn industry faces particular barriers and invites commentary on alternative pricing models to combat shifting consumer preferences.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Monday, 5 May 2014

New research on economic analysis of music subscription services

Kind of.

Illustrative of the sort of economic modelling you often find with research papers into the 'numbers' side of digital piracy, Thomes (2013) proposes a model which ultimately concludes that advertising-funded music services are an effective means of tackling music piracy.

What do you think?

Tweetaliciousness @musicpiracyblog


Thomes, T.P. (2013). An economic analysis of online streaming music services. Information Economics and Policy, 25, 81-91.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

New research article on crowdsourcing and live concert films (free access)

In this new article of mine, I discuss various aspects of crowdsourcing in relation to music and technology - the focus is on live concert films. It is a companion piece of sorts with one from a few years ago on Nine Inch Nails (which has successfully found its way onto Wikipedia...) and the profitable distribution methods used from building up a connection with his fanbase.

Between them, the more positive impact of the digital revolution on music listening becomes apparent, reviewing how musicians are better equipped to engage with their fans by making the most of the internet as a mass communication tool.

The new paper also demonstrates that for at least some music fans, there is a desire to engage with music in creative ways by uploading video clips from concerts and remix songs, etc. In doing so, it shows that music listening is not necessarily becoming more passive, as is often claimed amongst scholars. Proposing that there is an economic rationale for encouraging this, the paper invites speculation on more relaxed copyright laws in the future.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog


Brown, S.C. (2014). 'With a little help from my friends': Peer production and the changing face of the live album. International Journal of Music Business Research, 3(1), 52-66.

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