Music and the Internet: Towards a Digital Sociology of Music is an interdisciplinary research project that aims to provide the first comprehensive analysis of the changing cultural roles of the internet in music.
Taking as its historical focus a twenty-year period ranging from the early take up of the world wide web to the present day world of social media platforms, it responds to three overarching research questions:
- Have uses of the internet contributed to greater boundary crossing between 'art' and 'popular' musics?
- Has the internet affected an expansion or diversification of the geographical reach of contemporary genres?
- To what extent have the institutions that provide for the production and distribution of music been reshaped by the internet?
This project takes off from the assertion that the range and diversity of uses of the internet since the popular take-up of the world wide web demand new approaches to the analysis and theorisation of music for which online practices are central. A major conceptual and methodological contribution of this research will be to analyse these genres using social data science methods. Informed by the research questions, and mixing qualitative and quantitative approaches, these tailored methods will analyse and visualise data from 'natively digital' mediums like forums, mailing lists, and social media platforms, thereby taking the analysis of online music beyond the reach of a single researcher.