I finished my MRes in music earlier this year and was awarded a distinction, as a seasonal gift I’ve made the dissertation available for view, download and dissemination
Counterhegemonic Practice in Digital Music: How Interfaces and Networks are changing the cultural and political map of underground music
Abstract: This dissertation explores the political and cultural aspects of underground music in the digital age, and how contemporary musicians are using art and technology to collectivise against social and economic inequality. The democratisation of music production software, and the changing modes of listening from purchasing single units to streaming has led to the recorded music industry definitively changing; most importantly music has become digital material as recorded data, which platform corporations use to profit from and gain control of digital users. Through introducing theoretical concepts such as immaterial labour, network protocol, “left accelerationism” and the post-human economy I propose that political organisation in the digital underground must map its resistances against information and network hegemony. In order to map the potential for digital counterpower this dissertation presents case studies on artists such as Holly Herndon, NON Collective and Mykki Blanco, as well as live coding practice and alternative business models such as Resonate. The conclusion queries the possibilities and limitations of counterhegemonic practice in digital music, and proposes that such practice must engage with wider issues of data and platforms.
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All the best for next year, love and solidarity