Tag Archives: Music

How heavy metal piracy is gold-plating Iron Maiden

It’s probably the last thing you’d expect, but it seems like music piracy might be presenting a completely new business model to some bands. Requirements for making it work do, however, seem to include either very long or very short hair, a tendency to wear leather, a fondness of whiskey and beer and a tendency to point at stuff with your index and pinkie at the same time.

Right, stereo(which is actually a bit of a pun when you thing about it)types aside, what we’re talking here is how piracy might be offering heavy metal bands a new way of making their money.

As an example, the members of Iron Maiden are looking like they’re doing very well for themselves in spite of being one of the most heavily pirated bands around – and data seems to indicate that the band is making a lot of money in the exact locations where it’s also being heavily pirated. Basically what seems to be happening is that the heavy metal fans are downloading Iron Maiden’s music illegally, liking it and then going out and buying it.

“One reason for this may be metal itself. It has a fiercely loyal fanbase and a clear brand and identity, even down to the uniform-style black t-shirts that fans wear that differ only in band logo and art. The audience identifies with the genre, which stands in contrast to genericized genres like pop, rock and rap. It doggedly maintains its own identity and shuns outsiders. As a result, fans tend to identify more with their music, and place a higher value on purchasing it,” as the website DeathMetal.org put it.

Of course using Iron Maiden as an example of how a new business model can save an industry is a bit like focussing on what some of the positive impacts are of lower banana prices for Chiquita, while disregarding what it means to banana farmers….

Scientists explain how you can get earworms out of your mind

You know that one song that got stuck in your head this morning? Maybe you didn’t know where it came from – it was like a bolt from the blue – or perhaps you caught the chorus seeping out of someone’s headphones on the tube?

And now it’s just stuck.

We all know earworms – songs that get lodged in our brains and place themselves on infinite repeat.

Now scientists at Western Washington University claim they have found a way of helping you get rid of the earworms.

And, strangely enough, the solution seems to be difficult anagrams.

“The key is to find something that will give the right level of challenge. If you are cognitively engaged, it limits the ability of intrusive songs to enter your head.” Dr Ira Hyman, a music psychologist at Western Washington University and the one responsible for the research, explained.

“Something we can do automatically like driving or walking means you are not using all of your cognitive resource, so there is plenty of space left for that internal jukebox to start playing.”

“Likewise, if you are trying something too hard, then your brain will not be engaged successfully, so that music can come back. You need to find that bit in the middle where there is not much space left in the brain. That will be different for each individual.”

According to Dr Hyman, the project about earworms has wider potential than getting ‘that’ song out of your head.

“If we can understand how intrusive songs work, it should help us understand how having an intrusive thought stuck in your head can be controlled as well,” he said.

But even without the further potentials, I personally think Dr Hyman is on the short list for a Noble Prize. It, that is, his ideas helps me this Kylie Minogue song out of my mind (it’s been there ever since I read about his research):