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Towards a Postdigital Sensibility: How to get Moved by too Much Music
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2107-4119
2015 (English)In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 7, 255-269 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article explores the affective consequences of the new mode of instant access to enormous levels of musical recordings in digital format. It is suggested that this "musical superabundance" might weaken the individuals ability to be affected by music in everyday life, while at the same time leading to a renewed interest in collective experience, in ways which are not limited to established notions of musical "liveness". According to a theory of affect influenced by Spinoza, what is at stake is the capacity of the body to be affected by music. The article proposes that a renegotiated relationship between collective and individual modes of experiencing music can be conceptualized with help of Spinozas distinction between two kinds of affections: actions and passions. After scrutinizing the interface of hardware like Apples Ipod and online services like Spotify, the article proceeds by discussing three musical practices which can all be understood as responses to the superabundance of musical recordings: (1) the ascetic practice of "No Music Day"; (2) the revival of cassette culture; (3) the "bass materialism" associated with the music known as dubstep. While none of these approaches provide any solution to the problem of abundance, they can still be understood as attempts to cultivate a "postdigital sensibility". The article tries to conceptualize the postdigital in a way that transcends the narrower notion of "post-digital aesthetics" that has recently been gaining popularity. Finally, it is argued that such a sensibility has a political significance in its potential to subvert the contemporary processes of commodification.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 7, 255-269 p.
Keyword [en]
abundance, affect, digitization, interface, liveness, streaming, media, materiality, music, mp3, spotify
National Category
Cultural Studies
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-118412DOI: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1572255OAI: diva2:822492
Streaming Heritage: Following Files In Digital Music Distribution
Swedish Research Council, 421 - 2013 - 1139
Available from: 2015-06-16 Created: 2015-06-16 Last updated: 2015-10-16Bibliographically approved

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