Predictive factors of music piracy: an exploration of personality using the HEXACO PI-R

Steven C. Brown, Raymond A. R. MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Addressing one of the principal lines of research on music piracy, the present study considers personality as predictive of favorable music piracy attitudes. Additionally, positive anti-piracy messages were explored as a potential deterrent. A total of 261 participants (45.60% male) with a mean age of 26.34 participated in an online questionnaire. Personality was measured using the 60-item version of the HEXACO PI-R (Lee & Ashton, 2004). The effects of positive verbal anti-piracy messages were measured using an existing research paradigm, with participants allocated to one of four conditions (“legal sales of music encourage future live performances”, “legal sales of music allow fans greater access to exclusive content”, “legal sales of music will incorporate charitable donations” and control) emphasizing different positive outcomes to legally purchasing recorded music. An original construct (AMP-12) measured attitudes towards music piracy. Personality was a significant predictor of piracy attitudes, with participants demonstrating pro-piracy attitudes scoring lower on honesty–humility and conscientiousness, and higher on openness. Condition did not affect attitudes towards music piracy. Further analysis on personality suggests that participants holding pro-piracy attitudes are less fair (using the HEXACO PI-R). Additional analyses show that both preference for digital music and being 24 or younger as predictive of pro-piracy attitudes. Building on related research, the study adds to the knowledge base on predictive factors and explores personality in some depth. Discussion centers on personality and more specifically the HEXACO PI-R factor of Fairness in defining useful areas for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalMusicae Scientiae
Issue number1
Early online date10 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2014


  • digital piracy
  • personality
  • music piracy
  • anti-piracy
  • honesty-humility
  • conscientiousness
  • pro-piracy
  • attitudes
  • digital revolution
  • individual differences
  • musical preferences


Dive into the research topics of 'Predictive factors of music piracy: an exploration of personality using the HEXACO PI-R'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this