Popular Music Reception: Tools of Future-Making, Spaces, and Possibilities of Being

Hamilton, Craig and Raine, Sarah (2020) Popular Music Reception: Tools of Future-Making, Spaces, and Possibilities of Being. In: Metaphors of Internet: Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity. Digital Formations . Peter Lang. ISBN 9781433174520

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Since the original publication of Life Online (Markham, 1998), internet use has become what Hine (2015) summarizes as embedded, embodied, and everyday. Websites and messageboards, once experienced as definitive spaces, are now connected with other platforms. Notions of individuality and agency have become entangled with processes of corporate data collection and analysis (Amatriain, 2013; Lynch, 2016). Algorithms loom in our everyday lives, enacting their role of gatekeepers of consequence (Tufekci, 2015:16).

These developments are particularly apparent in the field of popular music, where technologies are everyday, data infrastructures culturally ‘ordinary’ (Liu, 2016), and data collection ‘nestled into the comfort zone’ of many people (Van Dijck, 2014). The growing importance of, and commercial reliance upon data by and about listeners (see Webster et al, 2016; Thompson, 2014) invites us to revisit questions of how audiences derive meaning from popular music, and how scholars can understand the processes and conditions involved with this. How are listeners negotiating this shift in their everyday lives?

Returning to Markham’s original work, we contend that digital music technologies have travelled a path from ‘tool’, to ‘place’, to ‘ways of being’ since 1998. In this chapter, we consider the use of music listening technologies as acts of agency that can be understood as a process of conscious ‘future-making’. This process includes ‘speculative, deliberate’ tool use, and allows us to suggest additional metaphors to describe people’s everyday engagement with internet technologies. We suggest the terms ‘space’ and ‘possibilities of being’. Each is difficult to conceptualise as any engagement with an imagined, speculative future occurs within platforms and systems driven by commercial and algorithmic logics: in other words, the ‘speculative, deliberate’ tool use is never completely controllable.

Item Type: Book Section
30 June 2020Published
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > Birmingham School of Media
Depositing User: Craig Hamilton
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2019 09:55
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8574

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