Friday, 25 July 2014

Anatomy of a research article #1

In the first in this occasional series, I discuss an article of mine from a few years ago titled 'Artist autonomy in a digital era: The case of Nine Inch Nails'. Published in the journal Empirical Musicology Review, it can be accessed here.

The article adopts a case study approach, reviewing the self-distribution successes of Nine Inch Nails, and reasons that the risk-taking strategies employed are perhaps not feasible for other musicians. So, what's going on then?

Nine Inch Nails amassed a loyal fanbase throughout the 90's thanks to the backing of record label Interscope (the 'old model') and so had a sure audience who would be interested in new releases in the 00's when releasing music using more innovative means (the 'new model'). From flat out giving away albums for free to offering super deluxe packages, the control Nine Inch Nails (or rather Trent Reznor) had by shunning record labels really led to an exciting time for Nine Inch Nails fans.

In the article, a model (which was proposed by Mike Masnick in 2009) to account for Reznor's success is reviewed by making reference to academic research. Though the article finds that the model is overly simplified, it does agree with the points raised and sets out a list of suggestions for other bands to follow.

The thrust behind these new in-depth blog entries on my articles is to bypass the difficulty some of you are having in accessing my articles. However, as this one is published in an open-access journal and is free for all to download, I will say no more but rather direct you to the article itself to read on.

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

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