Sam Howard-Spink PhD is Clinical Associate Professor of Music Business in NYU Steinhardt's Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions. His teaching and research interests are in the political-economic systems of international music and interactive media cultures, industries, and human agencies.
Emerging Models and Markets for Music (EM3), the title of the graduate course Sam designed and teaches at NYU, covers hybrid business models for music, and the major emerging economies of Brazil and Latin America, India, Nigeria and Pan-Africa, and South East Asia including China, Japan, and South Korea. In the undergraduate Music Business Program, Sam teaches International Music Marketplace covering similar topics; and Interactive, Internet, and Mobile Music, a smaller discussion-oriented class that surveys all forms of digital/networked/analog distribution and music engagement. In addition to EM3 — also offered as a January intensive course in Rio de Janeiro every other year — he co-teaches the graduate class Environment of the Music Industry, and supervises the Masters' students capstone Colloquy projects. Sam joined the Music Business faculty in 2008, and was awarded the MPAP department's Teacher Of The Year in 2009.
A Londoner by birth, Sam was a news and music business reporter and editor in the UK and Hong Kong before moving to New York in 1999. He has a BS in Psychology from the University of Bristol in the UK; an MA in Communications from Hunter College CUNY; and completed his PhD at NYU's Department of Media, Culture and Communication in 2012. His dissertation is a comparative study of the music markets and copyright/piracy regimes of Brazil, Canada, and the United States, examined through the critical theoretical lenses of Cultural Hybridization, Network Information Economics, and Modern Social Imaginaries. Related research interests include novel recording industry music consumption indicator systems; national and supranational music, cultural, and copyright policies; media piracy and information rights social movements; cultural and economic hybridization, glocalization, cosmopolitanism, and Music Cities; remix/mashup theory and practice; and video games, VR/AR/MR, holographics, and other emergent interactive media involving music.
Sam has written for, among others, Music Week, Music & Copyright, The Guerrilla Guide to the Music Industry, The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, IBM Think Research and openDemocracy.net, and has published academic articles in First Monday and in Portuguese translation in Brazil. He has spoken on panels or given talks at South By South West, the Audio Engineering Society, CMJ, the Brazilian Studies Association, and SOAS in London. In 2009, Sam curated CMJ PLAY, a one-day conference on business opportunities for musicians in the interactive, mobile apps, and gaming sectors.
Research in 2018 included a funded study of recent changes to US recording industry indicators and metrics, such as Stream Equivalent Albums, and their wider musical, cultural, and political-economic implications. Work on music listening, consumption, and engagement in the first decades of the 21st Century is in development.
Sam is a member of the Samba New York! Bateria, a former hiphop/scratch DJ, and remains an expert-level Guitar Hero on Xbox.
- “Grey Tuesday, online cultural activism and the mash-up of music and politics.” First Monday, Oct 2004.
- “Activism remixed: Downhill Battle’s role in the copyfight.” EastBound, Journal of the Centre for New Media Research, Budapest. 2005.
- “Brazil.” The International Recording Industries, Lee Marshall (Ed.). Routledge. 2013.
- “Brazilian blends: Tropicalia, WIPO and the emerging global mix of culture and politics.” (in Portuguese translation). Propriedade Intelectual, International Trade Law and Development Institute of the University of São Paulo Law School, Brazil, Sept 2007.
- Book Review of Hall, G. (2008). Digitize This Book! The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. In Journal of Communication Inquiry, Vol. 33, No. 4, 424-428 (2009).