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Popular Music, Digital Technology and Society

Popular Music, Digital Technology and Society

March 2018 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

From shifts in format, through the effects on circulation and ownership, to the rise of digitally-produced genres, the ways we create, share and listen to music have changed fundamentally. In Popular Music, Digital Technology and Society, Nick Prior explores the social, cultural and industrial contexts in which these shifts have taken place. Both accessible and authoritative, the book:

  • Clarifies key concepts such as assemblage, affordance, mediation and musicking and defines new concepts such as playsumption and digital vocalities
  • Considers the impact of music production technologies such as MIDI, sampling, personal computing and smartphone apps
  • Looks at the ways in which the internet shapes musical consumption, from viral marketing to streaming services
  • Examines the effects of mobile audio devices on everyday social interactions
  • Opens up new ways to think and write about the personal experience of making and performing digital music

This book is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to understand the place of popular music in contemporary culture and society. It will be fascinating reading for students and researchers across media and communication studies, sociology, cultural studies and the creative industries. 


Chapter 1 Introduction: Popular Music, Technology and Society
Chapter 2 After the Orgy: The Internet and Popular Music Consumption
Chapter 3 Apps, Laps and Infinite Tracks: Digital Music Production
Chapter 4 From Iron Cage to Digital Bubble? Mobile Listening Devices and the City
Chapter 5 Vox Pop: Exploring Electronic and Digital Vocalities
Chapter 6 Playsumption: Music and Games
Chapter 7 Afterword: Digitus

Eloquent and informed, this book reveals the deeply complex relations between music and new types of digital and networked technologies. It will transform our understanding of popular music today.

David Beer
University of York

Brimming with analytical insights from sociology and cultural studies, this is an indispensable guide through the world of digital music and its bewildering array of technologies.

Trevor J Pinch
Cornell University

An excellent book. Nick Prior weaves together insights from a diverse array of contemporary social theories to help make sense of the sprawling reality of today's digital music worlds. That he does this in such an accessible style is to be warmly applauded.

Lee Marshall
University of Bristol

Nick Prior

  Nick Prior is Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. His primary interests pivot to the sociology of music and particularly the attempt to understand the complex layers that fold around popular music in an increasingly digitally mediated present. His most recent book, Popular Music, Digital Technology and Society, is published by Sage (2018) and explores how music's devices, styles, sounds and personnel are implicated in post-1980s shifts in the nature and organisation of culture and society. He works in a post-Bourdieusian tradition, though his most recent work opens up... More About Author

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