Writing

Writing is central to so much of what I do. I’ve published books, essays, chapters, academic papers, magazine articles and a hell of a lot of blog posts.

My most well-read work is an e-book from 2007 called The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online. It was written at a time when there weren’t too many people discussing digital strategy for independent music, so it ended up being downloaded half a million times. I’d just spent the best part of three years researching the ways in which artists, small labels and other independent music enterprises could make use of the tools that the internet provides and had started doing a bit of consultancy. You’ll recall that MySpace was at the peak of its popularity, GeoCities was still a thing, and Facebook had only just become available to the general public. Exciting times…

However, when I say the phrase “my book”, what I’m usually referring to is something called Radio in the Digital Age. That came out at the end of 2013 through Polity Press, it was a major work for me – and was kind of intended to be my final word on the radio research I’d been doing for more than a decade. Instead, it opened up a whole lot of new conversations. I guess that was fairly predictable…

Probably the most important thing I’ve written in terms of making a statement about how I see and think about the world would be Toward a 6th Media Age. It’s an essay about how the tools that we use to communicate pretty much define our world and who we are as human beings. It’s about what happens when we move from one mode to another – and it’s about what comes next. This is my small contribution to the field of Media Ecology, and represents not just what I think, but how I think.

The 360 Deal is a collection of genuinely helpful pieces of advice for people just starting out in the music industry. I edited this one, and solicited the short essays from music industry contacts of mine from around the world. All the proceeds from that book go to my favourite music charity run by some friends in India.

Music in the Digital Age is an ebook that started life as an update to my 20 Things book, and became a reflection on how digital technologies have altered the parameters for the composition, production, distribution, promotion and consumption of popular music. This one’s a work in progress – but you can already buy it and download it. For free, if you prefer.

I’m one of three co-authors of Understanding the Music Industries (Sage, 2012), which is designed as a core text book for undergraduates, but has some really helpful explanation about how the popular music industries work for anyone who might be interested. No prizes for guessing which chapters I wrote.

The LPFM War 2004 is an extended essay about a unique situation that sprang up in Auckland because of the deregulation of the radio broadcasting sector there. Low Power FM radio stations (microbroadcasters, actually) started a turf war. I got involved.

1001 Whiskies You Must Try Before You Die is a terrible name for a book. It suggests there are also whiskies you should try after you die, or that trying 1001 whiskies is something that you can do without dying as a result. All the same, there are some fantastic drams in there, and I reviewed a bunch of them.

30 Ideas in 30 Days: An Experiment in Everyday Innovation – is a collection of series of blog posts I wrote in March 2010. It kind of does what it says on the tin. I set myself the challenge of an invention a day. This was the result.

How to Make Wishes That Come True is a short book about goal-setting. It came out of a web community project that sadly no longer exists. My friend Stef and I created the site and for a short time, it really took off. People made wishes and others worked together to grant them to the best of their ability. It was kind of lovely.

I’ve also written academic journal articles, book chapters, research reports and magazine articles. Feel free to have a look through.

You’ll also find a lot of my writing in the archives at New Music Strategies – the industry analysis blog I established in 2005.