The digital music boundary object



Publication Details

Nowak, R. & Whelan, A. (2016). The digital music boundary object. In R. Nowak & A. Whelan (Eds.), Networked Music Cultures: Contemporary Approaches, Emerging Issues (pp. 113-131). United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.


Digital music is heterogeneous: what is brought under or left outside of the umbrella of digital music differs. Nowak and Whelan demonstrate this with reference to three examples: the 2007 release of In Rainbows by Radiohead as a 'pay-what-you-want' download, the 2010 leak of Autechre's Oversteps, and the fan videos set to the Phoenix song 'Lisztomania', discussed by law professor Lawrence Lessig. They use the concept of the 'boundary object', as developed in science and technology studies and in anthropology, to describe how digital music works in these conversations. Pointing out that these stories and others like them foreground particular perspectives and moral orientations, they highlight how digital music serves as a vehicle for the expression of political imaginings of value and cultural and social exchange

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