This Fall term (2017) my variable topics course will fall under Period Studies with a specific focus on Popular Music in the Digital Age. The course is open to both undergraduates and graduate students from all departments. A full description is as follows:
Over the last few decades the music industry has been subject to a severe case of “disruption,” due to changes in technology, the economy, and listening practices. Artists like Chance the Rapper, Beyoncé, and Radiohead have challenged record industry customs by releasing music with experimental funding and promotional models. New services like Spotify and YouTube have become common ways of listening to music but have also been criticized for failing to pay artists a fair price per stream. Popular Music in the Digital Age is a course that critically investigates the relationship between popular music and digital culture. The course will chart the history of digital music from the development of digital audio technologies, through their replacement of analog audio technologies, up until their role in the music industries in the present day. We will focus on the ways that digital technologies have altered the sound and value of music, instigated the development of new music formats (such as the MP3), and changed our listening practices. Further, the course will use critical and cultural theory to raise questions about copyright, monetization, and performance in the digital age; thinking especially about the challenges and benefits, for both artists and listeners, created by digital technologies and new music listening services/platforms. We will work towards imagining alternative systems, practices, and methods for sharing music and compensating artists in the digital age. Students will be asked to participate frequently throughout the course and to reflect critically on their own listening practices and experiences of digital music.
A few weeks ago I was interviewed for the University of Alberta’s Sound Studies Initiative on the legacy of Leonard Cohen. The interview can be read in full HERE.
The most recent episode of the excellent Media Studies podcast, Aca-Media, features the study of popular music within the field. I am happy to be featured alongside some excellent colleagues. Below is a link to the episode as well as Aca-Media’s episode description:
Episode 31: Shape the Sonic Space
We’re back with an extended summer episode courtesy of the SCMS Sound Studies Scholarly Interest Group (SIG). Produced by Tim Anderson, the episode features excellent segments with Jeremy Morris on music formats, metadata and tagging; Brian Fauteux on Canadian college radio; Joan Titus on Shostakovich and musicology; and Nina Cartier on Blaxploitation soundtracks. Enjoy your summer!
The Literary Review of Canada has just published a review of Music in Range. It can be read in full here.
Also, here is a link to (a total of 50) free e-copies/downloads of “Satellite Footprint to Cultural Lifelines: Sirius XM and the Circulation of Canadian Content.”
Over the past few months I’ve had a few book reviews go live – one on Top 40 Democracy for Popular Music and one on Legions of Boom for IASPM@Journal.
I just got back from SCMS in Atlanta, where the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group annual meeting included a presentation by The Pub‘s Adam Ragusea (which was recorded live for the podcast).
In other podcast news, an interview I conducted with Dr. Magz Hall is featured on a recent edition of the Radio Survivor podcast. Give it a listen!
If you are without institutional access to the Journal of Radio and Audio Media, the following link will allow for up to 50 free copies of my article, “Blogging Satellite Radio: Podcasting Aesthetics and Sirius XMU’s Blog Radio“.
My new book, Music in Range: The Culture of Canadian Campus Radio is now available via Wilfrid Laurier University Press. This has been an ongoing project of mine for quite some time now, so I am thrilled to see it in print.
From the publisher’s website:
Music in Range explores the history of Canadian campus radio, highlighting the factors that have shaped its close relationship with local music and culture. The book traces how campus radio practitioners have expanded stations from campus borders to sur-rounding musical and cultural communities by acquiring FM licenses and establishing community-based mandates.
The culture of a campus station extends beyond its studio and into the wider community where it is connected to the local music scene within its broadcast range. The book examines campus stations and local music in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Sackville, NB, and highlights the ways that campus stations—through music-based programming, their operational practices, and the culture under which they operate—produce alternative methods and values for circulating local and independent Canadian artists at a time when ubiquitous commercial media outlets do exactly the opposite.
Music in Range sheds light on a radio sector that is an integral component of Canada’s musical and cultural fabric and positions campus radio as a worthy site of attention at a time when connectivity and sharing between musicians, music fans, and cultural intermediaries are increasingly shaping our experience of music, radio, and sound.
While in the midst of a hectic summer (some site updates to come), I wanted to quickly link to two journal issues that are currently available without a subscription or institutional affiliation.
The first is a special Student Radio edition of Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture. This issues includes my article on the construction of alternativeness by Canadian campus radio broadcasting. For an excellent overview of all the articles featured, do check out Jennifer Waits’s post for Radio Survivor.
Secondly, the article on Arcade Fire and the Reflektor campaign that I have posted about below is currently available for free, along with the entire March issue of the Journal of Popular Music Studies.
I’m off to Montreal tomorrow for SCMS 2015 and excited to be on a panel about podcasting (it has been a big year for the podcast after all). We’re scheduled early this year on Wednesday (tomorrow) at 4pm. Below is my paper title and abstract. Looking forward to being back in Montreal and to hear what everyone has been up to research-wise over the last little while!
Blog Radio: Satellite Radio and the Aesthetics of Podcasting
Sirius XM U’s daily Blog Radio show is a rich site for exploring the influence of podcasting on satellite radio programming, as well as the relationship between online and offline radio. Blog Radio airs during the afternoon 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. timeslot and Sirius XM U describes the show as where “The web’s most influential music bloggers keep you ahead of the curve with two hours of handpicked music every day.” Blogs including Gorilla Vs. Bear and Brooklyn Vegan host prerecorded shows that also co-exist as podcasts or playlists to be posted on the blog and shared by social media profiles. Although the North American satellite radio service, SiriusXM, has been aligned with streaming models of music distribution (see below), Blog Radio highlights the presence of the aesthetics of podcasting within satellite radio programming. Blog Radio is a significant component of SiriusXM’s efforts to occupy online spaces, such as taste-making music blogs, and it enables the SiriusXM brand to be archived and shared. Further, Blog Radio demonstrates the ways in which radio in the digital age is shaped by podcasting, especially as radio becomes increasingly visual and mobile.
SiriusXM has recently amplified its online presence by providing subscribers with added methods for personalizing and customizing their listening experience. “All Access” plans include both “broadcast” and internet access and subscribers with less inclusive (and cheaper) plans can activate online access for an added $4 per month. Listeners can hear online-only channels such as Classic College Radio and customize musical selections by using the MySXM feature, which enables one to control a slider that will play more or less of a certain sound or style. SiriusXM has grown to 25 million subscribers in North America, “far more than Spotify’s 3 million subscriptions in the U.S.” (Palermino 2014). Billboard magazine cites SiriusXM’s business model as a proven success for independent musicians and as integral to the growth of the streaming music industry (Palermino 2014). SiriusXM’s combination of online and offline content raises new questions about the role and definition of radio in the digital age and about online and offline listening practices.
Just a quick note to link to a recent article that has been published online at the Journal of Popular Music Studies. “Reflections of the Cosmopolitan City: Mapping Arcade Fire’s Reflektor and its Intermedia Promotional Campaign” has roots in a post for Antenna Blog but has now been extended into a full article with the JPMS!
As well, my review of Dead Soft’s recent release went live on Weird Canada yesterday.