Selected book chapters, academic articles, conference papers, music journalism, blogging, and media interviews.



We Can Work It Out: Forensic Musicology Methods

Review of case law and music comparison methodologies. Cases include Smith v Weeknd, Gray v Perry, Arnstein v Porter. Methods described include Musical Work comparison, sample analysis, and soundalike analysis.
In Music Borrowing and Copyright Law, edited by Chen Zhu and Enrico Bonadio. Hart/Bloomsbury, 2023
pdf pre-publication full text

Determining the Composition
Case studies : Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, and Mobb Deep.
The Oxford Handbook of Music Law and Policy. Oxford University Press USA, 2021. Joe Bennett and Sean O’Connor.
Linkpdf full text

What Makes Trap … Trap?
TIDAL magazine. June 8, 2020.

Anatomy of the Hit: Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”
TIDAL magazine. June 10, 2019.
Link | Part of a series

The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education: Perspectives and Practices.
Bloomsbury, 2019.
Link | Full text

Songwriting, Digital Audio Workstations, and the Internet
Book chapter. In The Oxford Handbook of the Creative Process in Music.
Oxford University Press, 2018.
| E-book version | Pre-publication PDF

Towards a Framework for Creativity in Popular Music Degrees
Book chapter. In The Routledge Companion to Popular Music Education.
Routledge, 2018.

Creativities in Popular Songwriting Curricula
Book chapter. In Activating Diverse Musical Creativities: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
Bloomsbury, 2015.

Constraint, Creativity, Copyright and Collaboration in Popular Songwriting Teams
PhD thesis, University of Surrey, 2014. Supervisor: Alan Moore. pdf

REF 2014 Impact Case Study – the international impact of Joe Bennett’s research
Research Excellence Framework/Bath Spa University, 2014.
Evaluated as demonstrating ‘quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.’

Conference review: popMAC 2013.
Popular Music
(academic journal), 33, pp. 341-342.

Constraint, Collaboration and Creativity in Popular Songwriting Teams
Book chapter. In The Act of Musical Composition: Studies in the Creative Process.
Ashgate, 2012.

You Won’t See Me: In Search of an Epistemology of Collaborative Songwriting
Journal on the Art of Record Production. 2013.

Collaborative Songwriting – the Ontology of Negotiated Creativity in Popular Music Studio Practice
Journal on the Art of Record Production. 2010. 
PDF (English) | PDF (Spanish)

You Can’t Teach Songwriting!
Total Guitar (magazine), September 2012.

Come To Steal Your Song Away? Plagiarism in Popular Songwriting
Total Guitar (magazine), July 2012.

The Song Remains The Same – Why? Darwinism in Song Evolution
Total Guitar (magazine), June 2012.

Over 300 articles (reviews, interviews, teaching, analysis)
for Future Music (magazine), Total Guitar (magazine), Classic CD (magazine), Music Tech (magazine) and others. 1994–


Close To The Edge: Forensic Musicology and Plagiarism (Keynote Speaker)
Association of Popular Music Education conference.
Loyola University, New Orleans, USA. May 2023.

How Someone Controlled You: The Digital Audio Workstation and the Internet as Influences upon Songwriting Creativity
The 12th Art of Record Production conference.
Kungl Musikhögskolan (Royal College of Music), Stockholm, Sweden. December 2017.

Close to the Edge: Investigating the Myth of the ‘Plagiarism Threshold’ in Musical Creativity
International Association fo the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) Conference.
University of Kassel, Germany. June 2017.
Abstract and slides

‘Waging Wars to Shape the Poet and the Beat’: Songwriting, The Digital Audio Workstation and the Internet
Massachusetts Music Educators’ Association (MMEA) conference.
Boston. March 2017.

I Hate These Blurred Lines: The Intrinsic Test in Music Copyright Disputes
With Professor Wendy Gordon (Boston University School of Law).
The 11th Art of Record Production Conference.
Aalborg University, Denmark. 2016.

The Death of the Songwriter: Attribution of Creative Ownership in Popular Music Production
The 9th Art of Record Production conference: Record Production in the Internet Age. 
University of Oslo, Norway. December 2014.

Where is Creativity? Locating Intellectual Property in Collaborative Songwriting and Production Processes
International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) UK & Ireland Biennial Conference.
University College Cork, Ireland. September 2014.

Who Writes the Songs? Creative Practice and Intellectual Property in Popular Music’s Digital Production Chain
Creativity, Circulation, and Copyright: Sonic and Visual Media in the Digital Age. 
Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH). Cambridge University, UK. March 2014.

Forensic Musicology: Approaches and Challenges
The Timeline Never Changes: Audio Engineers Aiding Forensic Investigators in Cases of Suspected Music Piracy. International Audio Engineering Society Convention.
New York, USA. October 2013.

Two Worlds Collide: Originality and Plagiarism in Songwriting
International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) Conference.
Gijón, Spain. July 2013.

You Won’t See Me: In Search of an Epistemology of Collaborative Songwriting
The 8th Art of Record Production Conference.
Université Laval, Québec, Canada. June 2013.
Abstract | Full Text

Applying Melodic Analysis to Infer the Extent of Plagiarism in Popular Song Authorship Disputes
PopMAC Popular Music Analysis Conference.
University of Liverpool, UK. 2013.

The Ontology of Collaborative Songwriting in Popular Music Studio Practice
The 5th International Art of Record Production Conference.
Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. 2010.

Bassoonists Don’t Play the Blues: Pedagogical Alternatives to Clef-Based Systems
Music Skills Symposium.
Newcastle University, UK. 2009.

Songwriting in Higher Education: a National Teaching Fellowship Project
Higher Education Academy Annual Conference.
University of Nottingham, UK. July 2006.

iTunes and OSX Widgets in the Teaching of Songwriting
Podagogy PALATINE Conference.
University of Wolverhampton, UK. June 2006.

Teaching and Learning Songwriting in UK Higher Education
Orsa Music Fair.
Orsa, Sweden. October 2005.

Evidence of Student Learning in Vocational Assessment Environments
Carnegie Colloquium on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Atlanta, USA. 2005.

The Ergonomics of Guitar-Based Songwriting
Leeds Guitar Conference.
Leeds, UK. November 2004.

Teaching and Assessing Songwriting in Higher Education
(Presenter and Chair.)
PALATINE Higher Education Academy Conference.
Bath Spa University, UK. 2004.


Copyright law meets forensic musicology
Guest speaker: analysis of Forensic Musicology practice in US music copyright infringement case law.
Duke University School of Law, November 6, 2023.

Forensic musicology and Music Copyright: A Road Map for Songwriters
Invited lecture for series “Cutting Edge Research on Popular Music”.
Institut für Popularmusik, University of Music & Performing Arts, Vienna, Austria, October 10, 2023.

Critical Listening in the Analysis of Popular Music 
Guest teacher – lectures and song analysis sessions.
Brunnsviks Enskilda Musikhögskola (BEMU), Sweden. May 22-24 , 2023.

Forensic musicology in commercial popular music: ontologies and epistemologies
Research presentation: The Oxford Seminar in Music Theory and Analysis (OSiMTA).
University of Oxford, UK. Jan 18, 2023.

Forensic Musicology: an Overview
Invited lecture on methodological lessons from music copyright case law.
Boston University Law School. November 2017.

Revisiting Three Boys Music v. Michael Bolton
Invited participant in mock retrial of Three Boys Music v. Michael Bolton 212 F.3d 477 (9th Cir.2000).
Boston University Law School. November 2015.

Originality, Creativity, and Copyright in Popular Music
Invited speaker.
Universidad De Las Americas, Quito, Ecuador. April 2014.

Creativity in Songwriting
Invited speaker.
Lulea University of Technology, Sweden. March 2014.

Songwriting, Creativity, and Ownership
Invited speaker.
Newcastle University. November 2013.

Creativity and Copyright in Songwriting: Defining the Originality Threshold
Invited speaker.
Kingston University, London. November 2013.

Forensic Musicology: Approaches and Challenges
Panelist for roundtable discussion: “The Timeline Never Lies: Audio Engineers Aiding Forensic Investigators in Cases of Suspected Music Piracy.”
Audio Engineering Society International Convention. New York. October 2013.

Plagiarism and Soundalikes
Panelist. With Neil Innes, Philip Pope, and Alan Parker.
Performing Right Society/The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. March 2011.


BBC Radio resident musicologist
Interviewer: Gordon Smart
BBC Radio 5 Live. Weekly, Mondays at 7pm Eastern (UK midnight), 2024.
Audio: Playlist of episodes

The evolution of song form
Interviewer: Larry Mantle (with Maura Johnston)
NPR (Los Angeles / KPCC). Feb 6, 2024.

The ever-shrinking song: how TikTok is transforming music
Interviewer: Liam Kelly
The Times (UK). Feb 4, 2024.

Pop songs are getting shorter in the era of streaming and TikTok
Interviewer: Szu Yu Chen
The Washington Post. Jan 26, 2024.

Interrogating the myth of the quickly-written hit song
Interviewer: Andy Price
Musicradar. Jan 13, 2024.

Analyzing ‘Let It Go’, 10 years on.
Interviewer: Ayomikun Adekaiyero
Business Insider. Dec 19, 2023.

Does anyone care about the Christmas Number 1 any more?
Interviewer: Kirsty Blake Knox
Irish Independent. Dec 14, 2023.

Why Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ became so popular — and stayed that way
Interviewer: David Bauder
Associated Press News. Dec 11, 2023.

Rolling Stones Escape Copyright Lawsuit Over 2020 Song ‘Living in a Ghost Town’ For Now
Interviewer: Bill Donahue
Billboard. Oct 19, 2023.

Eminem’s BMI takedown
Interviewer: Jen Crichton
Dubai Eye Radio. Aug 30, 2023.

The Case For and Against Ed Sheeran
Interviewer: John Seabrook
The New Yorker. June 5, 2023.

How will AI change the music industry? 
Interviewer: Matt Fortin
NBC TV Boston. June 5, 2023.
Link + video

‘A Sigh of Relief’: What Ed Sheeran’s Victory Means for the Future of Music Copyright Claims
Interviewer: Ethan Millman
Rolling Stone (USA). May 4, 2023.

Plagiarism or just the basics of a pop song?
Interviewer: Madeleine Brand
NPR / KCRW (USA). May 1, 2023.
Link + audio

Lawsuit claims Ed Sheeran copied Marvin Gaye for hit song
Interviewer: Victor Blackwell
CNN (USA). April 30, 2023.

How familiar is too familiar: on music copyright infringement
Interviewer: Fauziah Ibrahim
ABC TV (Australia). April 30, 2023.

Stolen or Original? Hear Songs From 7 Landmark Copyright Cases
Interviewer: Ben Sisario
The New York Times. April 27, 2023.

Commonplace chord progressions in music copyright litigation
Interviewer: Georgia Tolley
Dubai Eye Radio (UAE). April 27, 2023

Ed Sheeran to face copyright trial in US over alleged similarities to Marvin Gaye song
Interviewer: Jackie Long
Channel 4 News (UK). October 1, 2022.

Coincidence or theft? Rise of music streaming can make it hard to judge
Interviewer: Nadia Khomami, Arts & Culture correspondent @nadiakhomami
The Guardian (UK). April 6, 2022.

Copyright Infringement and Songwriting
Interviewer: Colin Murray.
BBC Radio 5 Live (UK). March 17, 2022.

Experts Compare Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” to Artikal Sound System’s “Live Your Life”
Interviewer: Delisa Shannon.
Rolling Stone (USA). March 4, 2022.

Christmas Cheer for all to hear
Interviewer: Mary Hynes.
Tapestry, CBC Radio Calgary (Canada). December 17, 2021.

Classic Christmas music… with local ties
Interviewer: Tiziana Dearing.
Radio Boston (USA). December 13, 2021.

What Makes Christmas Music Sound … Christmassy?
Interviewer: Alex Palmer.
Discover Magazine (USA). Dec 15, 2021.

Why Are Hit Songs 3 Minutes Long? A Musicologist Explains
Interviewer: Nik Zekevic.
NBC LX TV (USA). November 22, 2021.

‘It’s Made People More Paranoid’: How Artists and Writers Are Covering Their Bases in the Post-’Blurred Lines’ Era of Interpolations
Interviewer: Kristin Robinson.
Billboard (USA). October 28, 2021.

Adele Wrote Her Latest Album ‘30’ During a Divorce. Others Have Chronicled Breakups in Song.
Interviewer: Jennifer Calfas.
Wall Street Journal (USA). October 15, 2021.

‘It’s Fan Fiction For Music’: Why Deepfake Vocals of Music Legends Are on the Rise
Interviewer: Thomas Hobbs.
Billboard (USA). July 6, 2021.

Writ Parade: Why American songwriters are suing each other
Interviewer: Tom Wainwright.
The Economist (UK). May 15, 2021.
Link | Full text

Songwriting duo lifted by You Raise Me Up ruling
Interviewer: Pavel Barter.
The Times (UK). April 12, 2020.
Link | PDF

A hit, a writ: why music is the food of plagiarism lawsuits
Interviewer: Michael Hann.
The Guardian (UK). March 26, 2020.

Don’t play it again Sam, studios told amid plagiarism fears
Interviewer: Will Pavia.
The Times (UK). April 6, 2019.

‘Blurred Lines’ on Their Minds, Songwriters Create Nervously
Interviewer: Ben Sisario.
The New York Times. March 31, 2019.

Analysis and discussion of Hal Blaine’s drumming from Be My Baby
Interviewer: Isabel Fraser.
BBC Radio Scotland. March 16, 2019.

Is it Time to Pull Baby, it’s Cold Outside Out of the Christmas Song Rotation?
Panel discussion with Maura Johnston. Interviewer: Chris Citorik.
WBUR (NPR/Radio Boston)December 19, 2018.

The Beatles: the Evolutionary Science of Pop Music 
Science Friction series. Discussion with Armand Leroi. Presenter: Natasha Mitchell.
ABC (Australian National Radio). December 16, 2017.
Link to summary | Full podcast (28 mins) 

My my! How it became cool to like ABBA
Interviewer: Alice Vincent.
The Daily Telegraph (UK). December 12, 2017.

Here Is the Happiest Christmas Song You Will Ever Hear
Interviewer: Dana Dovey
Newsweek (USA). December 10, 2017.

Has pop finally run out of tunes?
Interviewer: Peter Robinson.
The Guardian (UK). April 13, 2017.

Plagiarism in songwriting
Interviewer: John Creedon.
RTE Radio 1 (Ireland). April 12, 2017.

Ed Sheeran may regret Photograph that led to $20m copyright case
Interviewer: Hannah Ellis-Peterson.
The Guardian (UK). April 12, 2017.

Skater hoodies and steely ambition: the 6 secrets of Ed Sheeran’s success
Interviewer: Alice Vincent.
The Daily Telegraph (UK). March 7, 2017.

How Do You Define a Musical Work?
Interviewers: Denise Howell and J. Michael Keys.
This Week in Law. Episode #369. December 9, 2016.

What is a Forensic Musicologist?
Interviewer: Rachel Belle.
KIRO Radio. November 1, 2016.
Link to transcript

The Man Musicians Call When Two Tunes Sound Alike
With Peter Oxendale, Guy Protheroe, and Joe Bennett. Interviewer: Alex Marshall.
The New York Times. October 11, 2016.

The Memorability of a Song Hook
Interviewer: Jamie East.
Virgin Radio. September 28, 2016.
Link to audio

The Millenial Whoop
Interviewer: Isabel Fraser.
BBC Radio Scotland. September 3, 2016.
Link to audio 

What is Forensic Musicology?
Interviewer: Dino Sofos.
BBC News. Via Facebook Live. August 10, 2016.
Link to video

Popular music and the loss of anger
Interviewer: Lorraine Ali.
The Los Angeles Times. July 15, 2016.

As Led Zeppelin Faces Copyright Charges, The Line Between Plagiarism and Homage Blurs
Interviewer: Scott Simon.
NPR Weekend Edition. 18 June, 2016.

Interview about alleged Stairway to Heaven plagiarism
Interviewer: Jane Hill. 
BBC News (television). 14 June, 2016. 

Origin of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ questioned at copyright trial
Interview: Brian Melley.
Associated Press. 16 June, 2016.

Interview about Ed Sheeran’s Photograph
Interviewer: Bill Whiteford.
BBC Radio Scotland. June 9, 2016.

Interview about Ed Sheeran’s Photograph and alleged similarity to Matt Cardle’s Amazing
Interviewer: Jamie East.
Virgin Radio (UK). June 9, 2016.

Feature on Forensic Musicology
Good Morning Scotland series. Interviewer: Laura Maxwell.
BBC Radio Scotland. April 16, 2016.

Interview about alleged Stairway to Heaven plagiarism
Afternoon Edition series. Interviewers: Sarah Brett and Ore Oduba.
BBC Radio 5 Live. April 12, 2016.
Link to audio

Why does Sam Smith’s Bond theme Writing’s on the Wall sound like Michael Jackson’s Earth Song?
The Daily Telegraph. September 25, 2015.

How to tell if a song’s been copied
Newsbeat series. Interviewer: Sinead Garvin.
BBC Radio 1. September 22, 2015.

The history of Auto-Tune
The One Show series.
BBC Television.
 April 1, 2015
Link to video

5SOS’ ‘She’s Kinda Hot’ was kinda influenced by these 7 songs
Interviewer: Brenna Ehrlich.
MTV News. July 20, 2015.

Blues guitar with Alexis Conran
Man vs. Expert series.
Discovery Channel. March 2015.

Blurred Lines verdict ‘a disaster’
The Irish Independent. March 11, 2015.

How do I become a forensic musicologist?
Interviewer: Sandra Haurant.
The Guardian (UK). January 20, 2015.

Why is ‘Uptown Funk’ so catchy? We asked an expert
Interviewer: Brenna Ehrlich.
MTV News. January 9, 2015.

Panel discussion: Stairway to Heaven and Taurus
The Brendan Cole Programme.
Voice of Russia Radio.
June 3, 2014.
Link to audio

Earworms—why do songs get stuck in our heads?
The Today Programme. With Professor Elizabeth Margulis (Princeton University). 
BBC Radio 4. January 28, 2014.
Link to audio