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The Fat Lady Sings for Airplay Quotas: Cultural Protectionism Disrupted

domestic_share_of_music_onlineThe digital revolution has triggered dramatic shifts in how cultural products like music, books and film are produced, distributed and consumed. They are no longer physical items to be printed or pressed, but frictionless streams of bits. The commercial implications are now apparent to all. Less well-understood, though, is the cultural significance of this revolution. Existing research concludes that the ‘domestic share’ of music consumption (e.g. the proportion of music consumed in France that is produced by French artists) is high and has, if anything, increased since 1990. Our new research suggests that this share is lower online – particularly amongst countries with airplay quotas. Such quotas are the traditional response to concerns of cultural hegemony, but will almost certainly be futile in future: analogue policy in an increasingly digital world.

The Fat Lady Sings for Airplay Quotas: Cultural Protectionism Disrupted

This post, on the Nesta website, previews results for some work I’ve doing with Andrew Somerville (from Semetric, the company behind Musicmetric).

On the census consultations

In 1882, novelist Leo Tolstoy, himself an enumerator in Moscow, described a census as “a mirror into which, willy nilly, the whole community, and each one of us, gaze”.

I have a piece published in the Conversation (UK) on the history, tradition and symbolism of the census. It is more of a background article than an actual position on the coming potential changes to the UK census.

I do have more specific views on how it should evolve – and in time I’ll probably blog about that – but as far as this piece goes, my overwhelming sentiment is that change should be gradual and well-tested.