Music for nothing or, I want my MP3: The regulation and recirculation of affect

Gilbert B. Rodman, Cheyanne Vanderdonckt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


With the public discourse around filesharing veering towards punitive extremes, our aim in this essay is to reframe the issue in two ways. First, we argue that the filesharing debates are 'too economic', insofar as they reduce a multi-faceted phenomenon to a single issue: financial loss resulting from the theft of intellectual property. Lost in such arguments is the fact that music routinely circulates through the culture in myriad ways that have little (if anything) to do with commerce and capitalism, and everything to do with affect and affiliation. Second, the filesharing debates are simultaneously 'not economic enough', insofar as they evade the financial complexities of the music business in favor of an overly simplistic equation: 'downloaded music' leads directly to 'lost sales revenues'. A more robust analysis of the music industry's standard economic practices, however, undercuts both its economic claims about the negative effects of filesharing on sales and its moral claims to be defending helpless musicians from downloading 'thieves'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-261
Number of pages17
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Affect
  • Copyright
  • Filesharing
  • Intellectual property
  • Mp3s
  • Music

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