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Music and technology

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How technology and 'means of production' have changed popular music

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Music and technology

  1. 1. All eras in pop music are golden ages, or will be looked upon as such by the only generation that matters at any given time. Not only are all ages in chart pop equal, chart pop never changes, it only appears to change on its surface level.… The emotional appetite that chart pop satisfies is constant. The hunger is forever. What does change is the technology this is always on the march. KLF(1988) Popular Music: The Means of Production
  2. 2. ‘ Sacred Music’ ‘Court Music’ ‘Dance Music’ ‘Folk Music’ “ Listening’ to music...hearing sonic information abstracted from the condition of its production was among one of the 20th century’s most characteristic practices -and it was a new experience .” Blake (2007)
  3. 3. “ (Music) could only happen live, leaving no trace of its presence beyond the score..or the memories of performers and listeners.” Blake (2007) ‘ High’ Culture ‘Popular Culture’
  4. 4. “ These devices provided for the first time a record, a repeatable trace of the same performance .” Blake (2007) Recording Technologies and ‘The Listener’
  5. 5. During the 19th Century the piano was a major entertainment medium. The new technologies of player piano rolls and sheet music sold by music publishers brought amateur pianists, guitarists and vocalists in-home entertainment. ‘ Globalised’ Music and ‘Tin Pan Alley’ 1892 - The first "million-seller" song hit (sold via sheet music)
  6. 6. “ Music was made into an object for sale . It was, in other words, ‘commodified’…this often involved structural alterations to the music itself.” Blake (2007) 1877 - Edison invents the cylinder "phonograph” 1887 - Emile Berliner invents the flat record player ("gramophone")
  7. 7. “ The technologies of radio broadcasting and sound recording, in separating the listener from the musical practitioner, helped create a new skill- that of listening without visual stimulus…” Blake (2007) 1897- Marconi granted first British patent for wireless telegraphy. 1920 - US Commercial Radio broadcasting begins. 1922- First BBC broadcasts.
  8. 8. Acoustic-Amplified-Electric-Studio-Sythentic-Sampled-Digital
  9. 9. Home Recording - The Mix Tape - Personal Sound Environment
  10. 10. Digital Media - Ripping - Burning - ‘Loss of Aura’- DIY
  11. 11. The (Late) arrival of Global Music Television
  12. 12. MP3 - PTP- Napster-Bittorrent - DRM - iTunes
  13. 13. MP3 Player- iPod- Smart Phones - PDAs - WiFi
  14. 14. Web 2.0: The Law of unintended consequences
  15. 15. From ‘Taste-makers’ to ‘Tags’
  16. 16. Beyond the gendered listener?
  17. 17. Subcultures, Youth Tribes and ‘ Tag Clouds’
  18. 18. New platforms:SNS,Wikis & the Blogosphere
  19. 19. YouTube: Every music video & every concert-forever?
  20. 20. Social Music: Beat the playlist / Kill the DJ?
  21. 21. The ‘Blogosphere’- True PTP?
  22. 22. Spotify: beginning of the end, or end of the beginning?
  23. 23. Warp:Aphex Twin http://www.warprecords.com/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Az_7U0-cK0
  24. 24. Kill Rock Stars: Gossip http://www.killrockstars.com/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opWBRRCTDXg
  25. 25. The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception Films, radio and magazines make up a system which is uniform as a whole and in every part… are one in their enthusiastic obedience to the rhythm of the iron system…any trace of spontaneity from the public in official broadcasting is controlled and absorbed by talent scouts, studio competitions and official programs of every kind selected by professionals. Talented performers belong to the industry long before it displays them; otherwise they would not be so eager to fit in. The attitude of the public, which ostensibly and actually favours the system of the culture industry, is a part of the system and not an excuse for it. Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer (1944)
  26. 26. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space , its unique existence at the place where it happens to be... technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself ... The cathedral leaves its locale to be received in the studio of a lover of art; the choral production, performed in an auditorium or in the open air, resounds in the drawing room. The situations into which the product of mechanical reproduction can be brought may not touch the actual work of art, yet the quality of its presence is always depreciated. Walter Benjamin (1936)
  27. 27. Williams v Mcluhan: Remediation & Technological Determinism Our culture conceives of each medium or constellation of media as it responds to, redeploys, competes with, and reforms other media. In the first instance, we may think of something like a historical progression, of newer media remediating older ones and in particular of digital media remediating their predecessors. Bolter and Grusin(1999)
  28. 28. … after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned. Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man—the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society. Marshall Mcluhan: Techno enthusiast?
  29. 29. The physical fact of instant transmission has been uncritically raised to a social fact, without any pause to notice that virtually all such transmission is at once selected and controlled by existing social authorities. McLuhan, of course, would apparently do away with all such controls; . . . But the technical abstractions, in their unnoticed projections into social models, have the effect of cancelling all attention to existing and developing (and already challenged) communications institutions. If the effect of the medium is the same, whoever controls or uses it, and whatever apparent content he may try to insert, then we can forget ordinary political and cultural argument and let the technology run itself. It is hardly surprising that this conclusion has been welcomed by the "media-men" of the existing institutions. It gives the gloss of avant-garde theory to the crudest versions of their existing interests and practices, and assigns all their critics to pre-electronic irrelevance. Raymond Williams (1974) Raymond Williams : Techno pessimist?
  30. 30. Media Studies 2.0 David Gauntlett
  31. 31. A tendency to fetishize ‘experts’,whose readings of popular culture are seen as more significant than those of other audience members Media Studies 1.0 Media Studies 2.0 A focus on the everyday meanings produced by the diverse array of audience members
  32. 32. A tendency to celebrate certain key texts produced by powerful media industries The optional extra of giving attention to famous ‘avant garde’ works produced by ‘artists’ Media Studies 1.0 Media Studies 2.0 An interest in the massive l ong tail of independent media projects such as those found on YouTube and many other web sites, mobile devices,and other forms of DIY media;
  33. 33. A belief that students should be taught how to ‘r ead ’ the media in an appropriate ’c ritical ’ style Media Studies 1.0 Media Studies 2.0 The patronizing belief that students should be taught how to ‘r ead ’ the media is replaced by the recognition that media audiences in general are already extremely capable interpreters of media content
  34. 34. A focus on traditional media produced by major broadcasters, publishers, and movie studios,accompanied (ironically) by a critical resistance to big media institutions, such as Rupert Murdoch ’s News International, but no particular idea about what the alternatives might be; Media Studies 1.0 Media Studies 2.0 Conventional concerns with power and politics are reworked in recognition of these points, so that the notion of super-powerful media industries invading the minds of a relatively passive population is compelled to recognize and address the context of more widespread creation and participation.
  35. 35. Vague recognition of the internet and new digital media, as an ‘a dd on ’ to the traditional media (to be dealt with in one self-contained segment tacked onto a Media Studies teaching module, book or degree); Media Studies 1.0 Media Studies 2.0 The view of the internet and new digital media as an ‘o ptional extra ’ is correspondingly replaced with recognition that they have fundamentally changed the ways in which we engage with all media
  36. 36. A preference for conventional research methods where most people are treated as non-expert audience ‘r eceivers ’, or, if they are part of the formal media industries, as expert ‘p roducers ’. Media Studies 1.0 Media Studies 2.0 Conventional research methods are replaced …by new methods which recognize and make use of people ’s own creativity, and brush aside the outmoded notions of ‘r eceiver ’ audiences and elite ‘p roducers’
  37. 37. All eras in pop music are golden ages, or will be looked upon as such by the only generation that matters at any given time. Not only are all ages in chart pop equal, chart pop never changes, it only appears to change on its surface level.… The emotional appetite that chart pop satisfies is constant. The hunger is forever. What does change is the technology this is always on the march. KLF(1988) Popular Music: The Means of Production

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