The journal Popular Music has recently published my article ‘Success Ratios, New Music and Sound Recording Copyright’. This piece draws upon several posts that I have featured on this blog, including ‘There’s No Success Like Failure’, ‘Should the Masters Own the Masters?’ and ‘The Loser’s Standing Small’. The abstract is as follows:
This article addresses the uses that record companies have made of two rhetorical tropes. The first is that only one in 10 artists succeed. The second is that they are investing in new music. These two notions have been combined to give the impression that record companies are taking risks both economically and aesthetically. They have been employed to justify the companies’ ownership of sound recording copyright and their system of exclusive, long-term recording contracts. More recently, the rhetoric has been employed to combat piracy, extend the term of sound recording copyright and account for the continuing usefulness of record companies. It is the argument of this article that investment in new music is not necessarily risk-taking; rather, it is the policies derived from risk-taking that provide the financial security of record companies.
Tantalising stuff, eh? If you have access to the Cambridge University Press database you can access the article via this link. If not, I hope to have more material published on this subject in the not too distant future.