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Personal profile

Research interests

I am interested in the social and institutional organisation of cultural production and consumption, particularly issues relating to intellectual property, stardom and digitisation. Although my work includes different types of cultural production, my main substantive interest is popular music, and I am an active member of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. The main focus of my work is on the music industry, but not merely in terms of economics and institutions. Rather, I am interested in how music industry structures shape the discourses and practices involved in popular music consumption. In my view, if we want to understand what people in popular music (musicians, fans, critics...) say and do, then we must contextualise their actions within a broader institutional framework.

In my early career, I specialised on copyright and piracy in the music industry. I co-edited Music and Copyright with Simon Frith in 2004 and my first sole-authored book Bootlegging: Romanticism and Copyright in the Music Industry (2005) won the Socio-Legal Studies Association’s early career book prize. Reflecting my interest in stardom, in 2007 I published a sociological biography of Bob Dylan and in 2012 I edited a collection entitled The International Recording Industries that sought to challenge the anglocentrism of popular music studies by providing case studies of the recording industry in eight different countries.

I have published a wide range of journal articles relating to how the music industry may or may not be changing as a result of digitisation. I am currently working on a number of projects relating to popular music production (how do musicians earn a living?) and consumption (what are the implications of streaming music for ownership, collecting, listening and so on). I am particularly interested in the idea of value - do people value popular music and how is that reflected in its economic value. Ultimately, I intend to bring all of these different strands together into a broad theorisation of digital music more generally.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Cultural Work
  • popular music
  • music industry
  • creative industries
  • creative work
  • digital culture
  • digitisation


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