New AHRC Leadership Fellowship for research into a Digital Sociology of Music

Dr Christopher Haworth has been awarded an AHRC Leadership Fellowship for the project Music and the Internet: Towards a Digital Sociology of Music, 2019-2021.

This two-year project will focus on the changing aesthetic, social, and communicative uses of the Internet in electronic music from the mid-1990s to the present. 

The dimensions of these changes that will be studied during the project include: the use of mailing lists to organise independent communicational channels (mid-1990s); the adoption of the internet as a live performance medium for geographically-distributed performance (early 2000s); reactionary moves offline and towards the mail order exchange of cassette tapes (mid-late 2000s); and subversive and critical engagement with the internet in the age of ‘platform capitalism’ (2010s).

As well as using ethnography and web-based historiography—often in collaboration with music practitioners and industry professionals—a major conceptual and methodological contribution of the research will be to use social data science methods for the analysis of music in the age of the internet.  

By mixing these approaches, the project will stake out a bold new direction in digital musicology: the digital sociology of music.
 
Dr Haworth said: “While the effects of the internet on music consumption and listening have been widely studied, little research has attended to the myriad ways in which the internet transforms musical creativity and production. This project will look at key questions relating to this, such as how the internet facilitates crossover between ‘art’ and ‘popular’ musics, how it has affects the geographical reach of music, and how the production and distribution of music has evolved.”

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