Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Music by Numbers: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in the Music Industry

Posted: January 23rd, 2017 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Dave Laing and Richard Osborne

Call for Chapters
Proposal submission: 31 March 2017
Full chapters due: 31 October 2017

The music industries have always been concerned, even obsessed, with numbers, whether those of chart placings, sales awards, website hits, ticket sales or listener figures. They operate on a premise that only a small ratio of artists will succeed. They issue statistics that show the importance of their contribution to GDP or the need for protection from pirates and touts. There are also numbers that are not made public: streaming royalties; breakeven points; the division of profits; algorithms. And there are numbers that they cannot deal with yet: big data is accumulating but there are problems with accessing it, sharing it and making the best use of it.

These numbers warrant closer inspection. The industries’ statistics can determine what consumers get to hear and what evidence governments and legislators base their policies on. This edited collection seeks to illuminate the historic and contemporary use and abuse of statistics in the music industries, both nationally and internationally.

Possible Topics
Themes may include but are not confined to:

  • Sales charts
  • Sales awards
  • Success rates (hits vs. misses) and record industry R&D spending
  • Industry sales, usage and collection data
  • Piracy statistics
  • Figures used in campaigns to extend copyright
  • Research data on P2P file-sharing
  • Festival economic impact data
  • Streaming royalties
  • Global Rights Databases
  • Employment figures and contribution to GDP
  • Relative sizes of sectors of the music industries
  • The use of statistics in radio
  • Big Data
  • Corporate quarterly results
  • Academic approaches to industry data

Please submit proposals to: [email protected] and [email protected].

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