Rafal Zaborowski (London) on "Holograms, platforms and glowsticks: The challenges of capturing music experiences as data"
Drawing on original empirical data from Japan, in this paper I engage with changing cultural practices surrounding music, and with that, the methodological challenges in approaching music experiences as data. Specifically, I look at unintended consequences accompanying the move from the analogue to the digital, which play a salient role in contemporary audiences’ experiences of music.
While the materiality of music was never fully denied, everyday listening is increasingly experienced through streaming and online storage. This, combined with the portability of phones and new participatory concert practices, has opened up a new range of music uses but also conflated the private with the public, the personal with the social. As music is increasingly consumed digitally and ubiquitously, listeners’ attention strays away from textual cues and the social aspect of music seems less pronounced than ever – arguably becoming almost odourless (cf. Iwabuchi 2002).
And yet, despite the organised infrastructure of digital music platforms, listening and storing practices surrounding music remain often accidental and reflecting the chaos of social life. Datafication and digitalisation transform music from texts and practices to a meta-system of platforms, streams and formats, where, in the words of a listener, “music is not just music anymore – it’s a whole thing”. With the increasing technological capabilities of online platforms, this metafication of music becomes crucial to understanding methodological and epistemological challenges surrounding listening. If the blurring of texts and contexts shows critical limitations in the circuit of culture (du Gay et al 1997), how can we update it?
The lecture series on “Data Practices” explores data “in motion”, both theoretically, empirically and methodology. The proliferation of data-intensive media requires researchers to develop their conceptual vocabulary and socio-technical understanding of data production, calculation and their underlying practices and infrastructures. Throughout the lecture series, we ask how a praxeological account can enable us to account for the movement and transformation of data. We consider data practices as those practices involved in the making, calculation, storage, accounting and valuation of data among others which are socio-material and entangled with infrastructures. The lecture series is jointly organised by the DFG graduate school “Locating Media” and the DFG cooperative research centre “Media of Cooperation”.
AH - A 217/18