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Regulating Dissemination: a comparative digital ethnography of licensed and unlicensed spheres of music circulation. PDF Pack. People also downloaded these PDFs. People also downloaded these free PDFs. Because You Liked Dwyer, P. In Handbook of Social Media Management pp. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Specifically, it shows how the social and technical design of online music platforms link the consumption of music immanently to its circulation.

Governance comes to the fore in both sites: the study shows how practices of music curation, collection and consumption are regulated by the technical design of these platforms. Surprisingly, music consumption and circulation on Jekyll generates a variety of social relations, including pronounced social hierarchies. This is far less apparent on Spotify, due to the platform's individuated mode of address.

The subjectivities of online music consumers are mediated by both their personal histories and by the broader technical genealogies of the platforms they use. The thesis illuminates the mutual interdependencies of the licensed and extralegal spheres, two domains often portrayed as not only separate but antagonistic.

It also provides insight into the hybrid modes of exchange that generate digital music platforms. Through examining the entailments of circulatory participation, the study offers new insights into digital polymedia and to labour, exchange and governmentality online, as well as providing nuanced understandings of the ownership and collection of music in digital environments. The thesis shows overall how Spotify and Jekyll are not merely emblematic of emergent consumption practices engendered by new media, but are bound up in the mutual co-creation of culture, engendering novel musical subjectivities, practices, socialities and ideologies.

The complex musical, technical and social assemblages formed around music circulation online point to the affective potentials of music itself, producing inalienable attachments to the objects through which music is formatted, experienced, and circulated. Spotify Over the past twenty years, music circulation has been dramatically reconfigured. New digital platforms now account for the vast majority of global music circulation, with streaming services and unlicensed file-sharing networks constituting the most widespread modes of music consumption today.

In this thesis, I pursue such understandings through comparative ethnographic studies of two online music consumption platforms: the commercial music streaming service Spotify and the extralegal, unlicensed peer-to-peer platform 'Jekyll'. Spotify and Jekyll offer competing and seemingly incompatible visions of the Celestial Jukebox, with Spotify granting on-demand access but not ownership to an unprecedented corpus of music, and Jekyll offering an index of well organized, high quality audio, but with ongoing obligations attached to membership.

While these services represent only two of the rapidly proliferating licensed and unlicensed digital music platforms, Jekyll and Spotify represent opposing vanguards in the bifurcation of music circulation online. Alternately, Spotify represents the most prominent cultural intermediary working to convert listeners away from unlicensed platforms and towards royalty-generating subscription services, and in the process, reshape the digital music commodity itself.

In this way, these two sites are exemplary of the broader trends in digital music, in which unlicensed circulation has mutated, fragmented, and become ever more elusive, while the music industries attempt to wrest back control over the movements of their copyrighted objects. Additionally, the time-period of this research — from through — was a historically important moment for both platforms, as well as the ongoing evolution of the digital music economies at large.

Jekyll and Spotify were both launched in , but their patterns of expansion differ drastically. After a gradual expansion through Europe from through , Spotify experienced explosive growth after once entering the United States market, becoming one of the most influential global commercial music corporations. The foremost guiding principle of this work is to treat these two music platforms as an ethnomusicologist, immediately acknowledging the legitimacy and richness of digital music cultures and the lived experiences of its participants.

Thus, sociality is foregrounded in this research, as well as the musicality of these connections, showing how music exchange and the collaborative pursuit of musical knowledge animates and vitalizes these platforms. As many of the predecessors of both platforms — most notably the notorious peer-to-peer file-sharing service Napster — offered fully unmoderated and unrestricted access to file- sharing networks, the primary commonality between Spotify and Jekyll is how these systems govern participants, shaping permissible music consumption and circulation practices.

If Napster afforded the unrestricted dissemination of music to disparate audiences globally, Spotify and Jekyll enforce standards that limit circulation to permitted participants, and only with permitted musical objects. Access emerges as a key analytic, including how access is granted, how access can be revoked, and what actions must be performed to maintain access, both for individuals and broader collectives.

In this way, regulation and dissemination characterize the two most exemplary digital music platforms of this era. Jekyll shut down on 17 November , after several of its servers were seized by French law enforcement agencies. However, at least ten percent of members hail from Eastern Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia, with a strong contingent of Brazilian, Chinese, and Russian members; many of these users speak English as a secondary language.

Once the user has completed a download, the BitTorrent client reassembles the fragmented data into the original format, thereby making the files ready for listening. The few non-musical upload types allowed, namely applications, are often related to digital music production or consumption, such as digital audio workstations tools for managing music collections. While I make use of all three terms at points, I contend that Spotify and Jekyll users are always participants, in that the technical design of both platforms obliges members to contribute in particular ways.

Following the prosecution of Napster in , the protocol was designed to circumvent attempts to regulate copyright infringement; the tracker and index do not host or directly distribute any copyrightable content. In this sense, BitTorrent redirects the risks and rewards of unlicensed circulation back onto its participants, a departure from earlier file-sharing technologies that utilised client-server concepts more fully.

This meaning is equally important in the analysis of circulation. The 6 On the recursive nesting of publicness and privateness in relation to music, see Born Yet in marked contrast to other p2p file-sharing systems and public trackers, Jekyll is an intensively governed and regulated subculture.

In opposition to portrayals of file-sharing cultures as fully informal economies see Light , the Jekyll experience is highly formalised. The most prominent example of this is its codification of social hierarchies. Reciprocity in the p2p exchange is thus governmentally induced: the acquisition of music must be countered by seeding and contributing new releases.

Jekyll is also heavily marked by the pursuit of prestige, with symbolic capital being acquired through multiple facets of participation Bourdieu These literacies, alongside with other markers of distinction, constitute informal competitive spheres of distinction absent from the formal user class system.

Jekyll thus assembles together highly complex socialities, animating multiple modes of social and musical connection, communality, competition, and conflict. Digital Rights Management technology is used to ensure that cached files are not usable outside of the Spotify application. Afterwards, developers discontinue documentation and support; finally, the function is completely removed. This system of digital music rental agreements, in which new intermediaries generate unprecedented modes of gatekeeping functionality, is only the most recent iteration of musical rentier capitalism see Attali Research Themes The thesis is organised around a series of core research questions: What are the lived experience of individuals subscribing to a music streaming service or holding a membership in a private music file-sharing network?

How can researchers most accurately account for circulatory socialities? What new musical, exchange and labour practices are engendered by the technical design of these platforms? Lastly, how should researchers account for the complex regimes of governance that regulate networks of music circulation? This entails engaging with circulation beyond technical accounts of digital file-sharing infrastructures: it demands attention to the social lives of musical things Appadurai , tracing paths through uploaders, snatchers, curators, contributors, remixers, programmers, administrators, volunteers, listeners, followers, and all other participants who collaboratively co-produce the connections that constitute Jekyll and Spotify as sociomusical assemblages.

Circulation is at the centre of each of these research themes. The concept acknowledges both the infrastructures that regulate the flow of objects through spaces and also the complexity and messiness of cultural configurations Straw and Boutros In this way, Spotify and Jekyll are not merely emblematic of emergent consumption practices engendered by new media, but are bound up in the mutual co-creation of culture, engendering new musical practices, ideologies, subjects, and socialities.

A second major insight of this thesis is the surprising extent to which music's circulation and consumption generates a variety of social relations, including pronounced social hierarchies. This is particularly evident in Jekyll, in which the pursuit of prestige is one of its defining social characteristics. In Spotify, this is far less apparent, given the platform's mainly individuated mode of address. However, the platform seeks to produce simulations of the socialities of peer-to-peer networks, thereby engendering a limited but distinct type of sociality.

Music not only engenders and mediates socialities, but does so within multiple orders of sociomusical practices, engendering both microsocial formations as well as larger imagined communities, while also refracting broader processes of social identity formation and institutional support Born , b, , The clearest point of difference that informs the analysis is the licensed, royalty-generating business model of Spotify versus the unlicensed and extralegal Jekyll. The platforms and technologies that engender music circulation are never neutral; they permit and encourage certain flows, discourage others, and stem certain styles, formats and participants entirely.

Meanwhile, we must equally consider the ways in which networks of circulation are themselves shaped by their participants, including the multitude of historical and genealogical forces at work: the values, judgments and ideologies that users, administrators and employees bring to these services, the sum total of participatory labour that together forms these networks that would not exist without user labour, and so forth.

Recognizing music exchange practices as extralegal, as opposed to illegal, allows for a theoretical focus on the particularities of exchange practices that exist on spectrums of formality: from informal to formal, from illicitly circulated to legal distribution forms. In other words, the mutual mediations of music, its engendered social formations, and its technological institutionalizations — here in the form of a private tracker and a licensed subscription service — are deeply entrenched.

In dialogue with these literatures, I adopt a digital ethnographic method grounded in comparative analysis. Chapter 3 begins the thick description of Spotify and Jekyll, offering the core ethnographic account of both platforms. Chapter 4 further sets the stage by following the genealogies of circulation, examining defunct technologies and modes of exchange that shaped Jekyll, Spotify, relating this to the personal music consumption histories of key informants.

This chapter departs from the common depiction of Napster and iTunes as the two primary progenitors of digital music circulation, aiming instead to multiply the range of genealogies and actants at work, while also demonstrating historically how the licensed and unlicensed spheres are mutually mediating. Chapter 5 maps the Jekyll social ecology, drawing on the concept of polymedia and expanding on its use.

Next, Chapter 6 examines the musicality of Jekyll participation, with particular attention to the imagined communities animated by genre. Chapter 7 compares these materials with the socialities of Spotify, contrasting the collaborations of Jekyll with the individuated experience of Spotify usage.

Chapter 9 examines the restrictions on circulation through the lens of governance, with attention to how regulation is both enforced and resisted through technologies. Chapter 11 concludes by reflecting on the theoretical contributions made by the thesis, reevaluating the mutual mediations of the licensed and extralegal spheres of music circulation, and lastly, considering the potential futures for digital music circulation and consumption.

Through engagements with this literature before, throughout and after the culmination of my fieldwork, this research was conducted with serious consideration of apposite methodological approaches, and the subsequent ethnographic accounting of this work is situated in light of previous earlier contributions to the field.

The analytical framing for this project is primarily based on anthropological, ethnomusicological, and technical cultures literatures. This includes prolonged participant- observation methods with the identified communities and a series of interviews with a wide range of informants.

While I employed multiple methods for grasping the diversity of lived experience within my field sites, I contend that long-term participant-observation is the most powerful and acute method for ethnographers of digital circulation, one that is firmly situated in dialogue with trusted informants. Semi-structured interviews with a wide range of actors, including discussions with those who have been excluded from Jekyll and Spotify in various ways, are also of particular importance.

Also following from actor-network theory is the necessity of following connections between actors, whether human or non-human. A fluid combination of starting ethnographic work online and branching into offline settings has allowed for this research to capture important and often overlooked dimensions of the field, such as the demographic makeup of communities, consistency between online and offline identities, offline music circulation networks, and insight into how online behavior is situated within larger lived experience of individuals.

The tracing of genealogies Foucault can disclose the contingency of cultures, calling into question 10 While Latour is the scholar most closely associated with this term, irreductive ethnography is not the sole domain of actor-network theorists: see Piekut The primary fieldwork period lasted from June through August , with ongoing engagements with the field sites and informants through October Along with intensive participant-observation, I cultivated long-term relationships with six key informants, three from each field site, whom I spoke to regularly throughout my time writing my thesis.

I was able to meet several of these informants in person, spending time offline and taking account of the broader lifeworlds of participants of these networks of circulation. Interviews were conducted in both synchronous e. Several informants, including three key informants, were quite reflexive in their understandings of their personal music consumption practices and preferred time to contemplate their responses, while many informants were only willing to speak for brief periods of time and preferred to answer questions directly.

Engaging in serious participant-observation meant not only gaining access to the tracker, but also reading file-sharing news site Torrentfreak and registering for other private trackers, music taste profile generator last. I chose to describe both field sites as platforms to highlight how Spotify and Jekyll are built on collaborative and user-generated labour.

Furthermore, Spotify positioned itself as a platform for the broader music industry through its now deprecated Apps API, which allowed for third parties to develop and publish apps within the Spotify client. On platforms, see also Srnicek My critiques of Jekyll and Spotify have been informed by discussions with some of these vinyl collectors, who articulated their reasons why they chose not to participate in either subscription streaming or private file-sharing services.

This engagement with informants across online and offline locations entailed an agile approach to understanding how participants in circulation imagine themselves as subjects, and how their practices of circulation and consumption are rarely confined to singular spaces. The following section offers a series of reflexive literature reviews, combining engagements with existing work while also considering relevant connections with my research sites.

These reviews, which can be broadly categorized as readings in actor-network theory, digital ethnography, and music technology studies, reflect not only my understanding of the existing work in my field, but also a broader engagement with the methodological problems of researching music, culture, and new media. The works considered here inform the entire scope of this thesis, as the methodological insights offered by actor-network theory and digital ethnographies shaped my approach to my field sites.

I now turn to the exploration of actor-network theory and its insights for enacting digital ethnography. Actor-Network Theory The origins of the novel sociological orientations grouped under the actor-network label can be located in the early insights of science and technology studies, primarily through the work of Michel Callon, Bruno Latour, and John Law. From this refiguring of what constitutes the social — moving from structures which configure agencies to agencies which assemble — the distinctions between nature and society, subject and object, human and non-human, and even structure and agency become subject to productive inquiry.

These insights appear in early configurations, not from a return to Tardeian thought, but in multiple studies of science in action. This democratization of being leads to all things, whether human or non-human, being understood as actors or actants. This deposing of the humanist subject as the arbiter of all truths is followed by the necessity of empirical evidence.

If one attempts to explain an event in reductive, structural terms, it inevitably illuminates nothing about the specifics of the event. Rather, one must follow the multitude of actors that have been associated with or deployed to bring about this occurrence, without making presumptions about the importance of individual actors. For example, one may find a faulty voting machine more essential to the assemblage of an election event than the politicians themselves.

This leads to the importance of translation, or the manner in which action is transported and transformed through associations of actors. Returning to the voting machine example, this transformation occurs even when the machine is working as intended; the process of submitting a vote is transformed by the particulars of the voting machine — e. In ANT, the distinction between micro and macro-sociology are dissolved: the close study of the local interactions of an individual reveals his or her connections and associations, and the global study of institutions and contexts reveals the distributed yet local materials from which they are constructed, evidencing the necessity of seamlessly traveling between frames of reference.

At this point, it may be helpful to note departures I wish to make from Latourian actor- network thought. While it may be important to keep the social flat at the beginning of inquiry — one should not presume the existence of social hierarchies or the importance of one actor over another — it is intellectually dishonest to value accounts of the social based on their illumination of Latourian metaphysics, as Latour appears to suggest Latour , When a critical sociologist writes about cultural capital — perhaps the primary target of denouncement in Latour — it does not necessarily follow that he or she is literally attempting to explain the entirety of networked action through the existence of an ephemeral currency.

The invocation of cultural capital only blinds itself to the study of associations when it attempts to explain away behaviors, when it simplifies complexity. There are multiple examples of sociological accounts of music that succeed in demonstrating the multiplicity of actors and their associations while also invoking Bourdieu see Born ; Prior ; Thornton As many have written, actor-network theory should not be considered a homogenous approach or methodology; it is constantly expanding, branching off, and being remade by individuals to suit the needs of their research subject.

The question becomes not whither actor-network theory, but which actor-network theory. In the following, I evaluate several notable ANT case studies, with the intention of identifying approaches that resonate with the demands of tracing digital music circulation and consumption. A technological society is one where technology is embedded in both the modes of economic production and in the political imagination: the manner in which individuals conceive of the possibilities and responsibilities of government.

The political cannot be reduced to politics. In the case studies detailed in Political Machines, Barry demonstrates how science and technology, those supposedly apolitical forces, can both permit and delimit political controversies. In drawing out pertinent aspects of classic ANT approaches while supplementing their theoretical deficiencies exposed by empirical research, Political Machines expertly demonstrates how to deploy actor-network theory outside the study of science.

The chapter on interactivity in museums, discussing the public presentation of what is technology, and how the technical governance of visitors is implemented, as well as the chapter on the controversies around intellectual property, resonate strongly with the examination of technologies of governance in this thesis, as found in Chapter 9. Barry also 17 Callon et al. Throughout his book, Barry illustrates how individuals in a technological society are expected to become proficient technical subjects, a finding that is further borne out in Chapter 9 with my consideration of the necessary literacies for circulatory participation.

Additionally, in Chapter Four, I offer three case studies of individual listening histories, showing how subjectivities are constructed through the mutual mediation between technical objects and subjects. The governance enacted through technical design, and how technologies are deployed to configure their users, is the second area of actor-network theory that is most important for this study.

Woolgar emphasizes how technical design engenders particular modes of engagement, encouraging specific ways of using technologies and discouraging others. Whereas Mackay et. This insight is not a recent development. This aligns with the approach favored by Ben Piekut , , perhaps the music scholar who has most comprehensively addressed the methodological advantages of adopting particular principles of actor-network theory.

Holding these insights in mind, I now turn to consider the field of virtual and digital ethnographies and the methodological insights provided by experienced researchers of technical cultures. Debates around the practice of digital ethnography reveal not only methodological concerns, but indicate how methodology informs the most basic of theoretical and epistemological concerns of social research.

The framing of each chapter as a discussion between internet scholars on matters of crucial concern for online research demonstrates the inseparability of method, theory and practice. Keeping this dialogic approach in mind, this section will frame a review of multiple methodological approaches to internet cultures with a critical evaluation of their efficacy in the ethnographic case studies presented.

Before addressing specific works, it may be of some use to identify several notable trends in digital ethnography. Similarly, technological determinism is disavowed almost ubiquitously, although it is arguable that the spectre of social determinism is more frequently found within anthropological discourse.

While the particulars of the technologies themselves are frequently given adequate attention, ethnographic work on the Internet tends to neglect that the Internet, the World Wide Web and computer networking cannot be reduced to one another. The profusion of protocols by which information can be transmitted from one device to another each offer their own affordances and limitations, on which there remains interesting work to be done.

One of the most popular texts in the field, Digital Anthropology Horst and Miller boldly opens, in an introductory chapter by Horst and Miller, with a set of six principles, intended to serve as a foundation for the nascent subdiscipline of digital anthropology. Her analysis and classification of the literature into three overlapping categories — the groupings of politics, cultures, and lived experiences of digital media — should likely be the first point of contact for those considering conducting ethnographic research in digital cultures.

As seen by the title, she proposes considering the field site as a network of objects, spaces and people who are collected together by the ethnographer by following a variety of connections. To begin, researchers should find entry points into networks, rather than sites. The Internet cafe she expected to be her field site evolves into a place for meeting informants, who she then follows both in urban and virtual space.

This heterogeneity reminds the researcher that online activity is not an autonomous sphere of life but is influenced through other modes of connections. Invoking Marcus once again, Burrell suggests researchers situate themselves within a single site but with an awareness of other sites: following the circulation of digital objects within a particular spatial site an Internet cafe , the connections these users made to other sites, and the origins of the objects circulated.

This, in particular, resonates strongly with my need to follow digital music circulation and the restraints upon my ability to physically follow all possible connections. Finally, given that networks expand outwards almost infinitely and that ethnographies are understood to be incomplete and necessarily unfinished, the question of where and when to stop are less troubling and can be handled pragmatically, for instance, when time has run out or when new connections begin to repeat old findings.

The brevity and simplicity of these steps foreground their intentional incompleteness; no student could mistake these suggestions for a guidebook to ethnography. Not only is this theoretically consistent with the understanding of ethnography as itself incomplete, but the avoidance of over-deterministic frameworks permits the researcher to be more adaptable and attentive to the unexpected networks and relations that are presented in multi-sited ethnography.

A central concern of this thesis is the problem of identifying the social formations that are encountered in fieldwork. Attempting to label the social collections studied according to the classic paradigms of networks and communities can blind researchers to the multiplicity of relations actors adopt and enact as internet technologies become even more omnipresent. Given these challenges, Postill suggests field theory as a possible starting point for rethinking online relations, following the work of de Nooy, Turner and others, who have included the following of social interactions into their field-oriented work.

In conveying how technology is appropriated in these heterogeneous fields for different purposes, Postill suggests that field theory can extend an analysis of technology beyond availability and affordances towards Bourdieuian differentiation, which he offers as an explanation why one particular web forum succeeded where others failed.

Christine Hine has published widely on online research, and due to the considerable overlap in these works, I will draw out points of interest from two of her books. Virtual Ethnography, published in , still contains certain relevant discussions, despite the transformations in online sociality since its publication. It goes without saying that highly active, vocal participants make for easier research subjects, but given the anthropological interest in representing ignored and subaltern populations, a more charitable view of lurking in activity is demanded.

While explaining its particular strengths in researching sensitive matters, such as sexual health, Hine emphasizes the continued ethical imperative of obtaining permission. The impracticality of obtaining consent is not necessarily an adequate defense against concerns about unethical behavior. While striving to ensure that research subjects are not negatively impacted by the ethnographic account is of primary importance, the rich discourse within 19 Thorough discussions of lurking and unobtrusive research methods can also be found in ethnographies of virtual worlds Boellstorff , Nardi , an in-depth analysis of which has been removed due to the inapplicability of virtual world methodology for music socialities.

Ethnographies of Digital Music Networks While only a limited number of large-scale ethnographies have been conducted within networks of music circulation, an engagement with this limited field of work can potentially contain the most important methodological insights, as digital music presents unique challenges as an object of research. Here, the significance of the online scene is located only in its capacity to influence the offline alternative country scene Lee and Peterson One frequent line of analysis in the literature on music file-sharing cultures has been about the moral justifications on piracy, often working from the assumption that file-sharing constitutes widespread illegal and antisocial acts of copyright infringement Bateman et.

Many participants in the digital circulation of media are unsure which actions constitute copyright infringement, such as the use of unlicensed and incorrectly credited media on YouTube Kay Indeed, by largely bracketing the question of which forms of music circulation are illicit or immoral, close attention can be paid to the actual dispositions of users of these networks, discovering how they relate to these musical objects and their social, economic and aesthetic motivations for circulatory participation.

Beekhuyzen reflects on the profound methodological difficulty of applying actor-network theory, and of the unique challenges presented by digital ethnographies. The dissertation is also a reliable source of technical data regarding BitTorrent trackers and the similarities between licensed and unlicensed digital music networks.

It also offers a perspective on the historical context of digital file-sharing, usefully aligning with my own technical genealogy of music circulation. Her decision to only address users by their username is a feasible approach for protecting the privacy of informants.

Lysloff shows how the circulation of digital media is not simply a transmission of binary data. The files themselves have a certain tangibility or presence: they originate from a particular source, they occupy sectors on a hard drive, they can be manipulated, transformed, visualized, or even broken; they are, in other words, material.

While new directions in information system infrastructures, such as cloud computing and streaming models, do require certain considerations — e. Recognizing that participation i. Immersive study of internet collectives represents an ideal siting of ethnographic inquiry to encounter these transformations. Much of this work comes from outside the traditionally delineated boundaries of music studies: sociologists, cultural theorists, anthropologists and sound studies scholars are all represented within this review.

While musicologists working in the subdiscipline of organology have long recognized the importance of studying music technology, their focus on musical instruments, in often functionalist terms, ignores the multiple dimensions in which technologies mediate musical experience. With Adorno in mind, a brief review of some of the works on music technologies — particularly those addressing issues of music production, circulation, consumption and experience — will be the most pertinent to my work on digital music circulation and consumption.

Access remains equally significant for digital ethnography, as it entails both admission — i. The productivity of genealogical analysis is demonstrated in this text. Following Foucault, Born considers the multiple antecedents of the centre, which includes the aesthetic, philosophical, scientific, national, and personal contexts of Boulez, the institution, and its members. Chapter Four embraces this method of tracing the genealogies of technical systems.

The depiction of the hierarchy of computer code in Born is also a useful model for characterizing the layers of software encountered in music circulation. Turning to the contradictory proclamations of Adorno and Walter Benjamin on the effects of recorded media on listening practices, Born notes that digital technology has afforded usages of music which support the assertions of both writers: music taste is increasingly selected and employed within an unending project of identity construction, following Benjamin.

However, it is also not banal consumption, as in the unthinking, fully subjugated listener Adorno imagines in Introduction to the Sociology of Music My close attention to curatorial and consumption practices reflects this understanding of circulation. While ethnomusicology has long acknowledged that music generates many different forms of sociality, Born argues that music does so while crossing scales, and that its planes of social mediation are not reducible to each other.

Music engenders both microsocial formations such as performing ensembles and small listening groups as well as larger imagined communities, while also refracting broader issues of social identity and institutional support Born , , Complex socialities can only be fully understood through paying attention to the multiple modes of mediation involved in the assemblage.

The literature on circulation as an analytical concept informs each chapter of this thesis. Studying circulation entails significant consideration of the socialities generated, the modes of exchange that enact circulation, the material conditions of its existence, and the attempts to stymy, regulate, and inhibit circulation.

Studies of music circulation often address the geographic movements of musical forms, styles and objects in light of globalization Fairchild , Jones , Leyshon et al. Circulation is analytically powerful because it moves beyond conventional critiques of commodity cultures. By framing Spotify and Jekyll as circulatory systems, I attempt to capture the multiple movements and mediations of music.

The work of Jonathan Sterne represents some of the most productive and useful work on the creation, history and practice of sonic technologies. Given that streaming services and private BitTorrent trackers exhibit vastly different models of music ownership, both also exist in part within capitalist economies, driving demand for consumer goods such as hard drives, mobile devices and headphones.

Sound recording practices have been a productive site of investigations into the relationships between music and technology: recording technology has afforded transformations in practices of composing, performing and listening to music, and as recording techniques and practices evolve, so does music itself see Ashby ; Chanan ; Cook et al. While this may be a slightly more timid approach compared to media studies as proposed by Marshall McLuhan, a musicological approach to recording technology reminds the researcher that there is more to technology than its technicity: it is an opening into social, cultural, and musical practices, experiences and meanings.

Following a similar logic, Brown and Sellen characterizes digital audio files as less valuable than CDs and describes participation in peer-to-peer file-sharing networks as unsocial; this is contrasted to offline practices of collecting, sharing and listening to physical music formats in collectives, linking the physicality of traditional audio media and face-to- face, authentic interaction. The practice of collecting music recordings began long before the invention of digital technologies, and multiple scholars have addressed the significant social meanings created by music collectors and their interactions with their record collections Brown and Sellen ; Burkart ; Cunningham, Jones and Jones ; Hennion ; Hodgson ; Jones ; Katz ; Morris ; Straw Furthermore, his prescient recognition of how the mode of acquisition engenders particular dispositions to the collected object shows how the material and experiential conditions of consumption are mutually mediating.

Benjamin also notes the affect invested in the books collected, as well as their personal, cultural and social associations. For example, Tia DeNora speaks to individuals about their record collections towards examining how music is deployed in the shaping of identity. People buy more records than they can listen to. Lastly, new musical instruments and performing utilities based on digital technology have afforded unique modes of creativity and the production of previously unachievable sonic effects Duckworth ; Goodwin However, the use of these tools is not without controversy, ranging from aesthetic preferences for analogue technology to proclamations of the immateriality and inauthenticity of the digital Milner These concerns resemble 23 On the commodification of objects and the sociality of things, see Appadurai ; on music formats and commodification, see Jones ; Manuel ; Marshall ; Morris ; Morris ; Straw This thesis expands on this literature by further examining the blurring of boundaries between consumption, circulation, and production practices, particularly in the curatorial practices detailed in Chapter 6 and 7, as well as the study of circulatory labour in Chapter 8.

Conclusion While far from embodying true methodological consensus, the diverse literatures reviewed in this chapter point to the overarching importance of registering multiple modes of experience, paying close attention to the complexity of the field sites, as well as bringing as many contextual factors to light as possible.

While later chapters will introduce new materials to further specific arguments, here I articulate the key empirical findings of my fieldwork. Jekyll I begin with a reflexive account of my own process of discovering and joining Jekyll. I was struck by the rigour of its regulations, and feared being banned for breaking rules I did not fully understand, and so made little use of the account. In , while 24 OiNK is discussed further in Chapter 4, due to its central importance in the genealogy of Jekyll.

I learned that Jekyll, the largest of the genealogical successors of OiNK, surpassed the total number of albums available on OiNK and drastically redefined and reshaped the private BitTorrent tracker experience. The Jekyll Interview and the Regulation of Access Once receiving approval to begin ethnographic study, I begin the process of obtaining a membership to the tracker. Most private trackers work on an invite system, whereby an established member vouches for the trustworthiness of the invitee.

Jekyll was the first major private tracker to supplement this with an open interview system, allowing unaffiliated individuals access to a dedicated IRC channel to undergo an interview with a senior member of the site. Once logged into the jekyll-interview channel, applicants see a channel entry message explaining the rules and procedures of the interview process. This early period of participant-observation is one of the most formative periods of my fieldwork, as the interview process offers insight into how Jekyll not only shapes and regulates participation, but also how it constitutes itself as a sociality.

An excerpt from the field notes of my first day of the interview process is replicated below. The interview channel has been quiet, with only sporadic comments, complaints and short conversations observed, along with the sonic notifications a clapping sound of the joining and leaving of applicants.

Over 50 people are in the room, of which at least 35 are idling staff members. No one has been interviewed so far, a fact blamed by several on the early morning time for the primarily American staff, while applicants have identified themselves as coming from Australia, Vietnam, Lithuania, Canada, the United States and England.

At PM, a new applicant, EW, joins the channel. As over fifty individuals are logged in, many newcomers expect a staff member to greet them upon arrival. EW enters the proper command to join the queue and is subsequently silent. We wait together for several more hours, with no interviews taking place. After five hours of no contact with Jekyll staff, several applicants and I decide to try at a different time.

Within a span of minutes, EW transitions from uninformed outsider to an unofficial regulator of the permissible behavior of others. I return to the interview channel for three more days, idling in the queue for twelve hours each time, always remaining near my computer, as I observe that applicants lose their place in the queue if they do not immediately respond to an invitation to interview. After failing to be interviewed during the first day, I rejoin the channel the following day, prepared to wait indefinitely until interviewed.

On the evening of the third day, an interviewer messages me to begin the interview. The structure of the interview itself is byzantine. Rather, Jekyll is famous for its strict enforcement of rules covering audio formats, bitrates and encoding methods, and the overwhelming majority of questions in the interview relate to audio compression, permitted formats, acceptable procedures for ripping audio from physical media, and detecting poorly encoded audio.

After an additional hour of waiting for my turn to be interviewed, I almost immediately fail the interview, having incorrectly identified the banned WAVE lossless audio format as permitted. I am banned from the channel for 48 hours, but on my second try three days later, I successfully pass the question interview. After concluding the two-hour long process, I receive an email invitation to register an account with Jekyll and begin participating the following day.

For example, applicants are expected to have the target and average bitrates of each preset of the LAME Variable Bit Rate MP3 encoder memorized, an esoteric bit of technical knowledge that appears mostly irrelevant to everyday Jekyll participation. As reference to notes or online study materials are banned during the interview process, individuals can be failed for not answering quickly, and the decision to accept or reject an interviewee rests solely with the interviewer.

I routinely ask informants about their perspectives on the interview process and discuss its purpose in the Jekyll forums. Anthropological literature on rites of passage suggests that these rituals can be understood pedagogically, in that they convey encultured knowledge, generate social cohesion, enforce the importance of communal belonging, and shape the ideology of new members Kamau ; Maruna Similarly, studies of hazing rituals in fraternities suggest that negative induction experiences — including requiring initiates to wait for extended periods of time before being interviewed — can engender social dependence, tune individual opinions into alignment with group ideology, and enforce the hierarchical social dynamics between group leaders and initiates Keating et al.

Since one of the core functions of the interview process is to regulate the commitment level of those applying to join Jekyll, the difficulty and length of the interview process reduces the number of applications from apathetic, recalcitrant or unprepared individuals. I will later return to the governmentality of Jekyll in Chapter 10, but in the following section, I give an account of the basic experience of participating in the circulation and consumption of music on Jekyll.

Indeed, the design and navigation are clear departures from mainstream file-sharing platforms, in which banner advertisements typically dominate the top portion of the browser window. The Jekyll header as first seen upon account registration. I choose an alternative, minimal white and grey theme, finding the wood planks of the default background distracting. While casual members rarely mention choosing a non-default theme, dedicated Jekyll members almost always hold strong opinions about their preferred theme.

The catalogue is expansive, with most genres of contemporary Western popular music being present in some capacity. Pres popular music, along with music of the Global South, can be found on Jekyll, but are not well-represented areas of the catalogue. As described in the introductory chapter, Jekyll hosts. Participants add these. Yet despite the preeminent importance of the BitTorrent protocol in affording the technical flows of circulation, the everyday experience of Jekyll participation involves relatively little time actively spent within the BitTorrent client itself.

Instead, other popular media collection and playback programs are invariably used by individuals to listen to, organise, and manipulate their personal music collections. This elaboration includes a host of new modes of labour an exchange, as I further address in Chapter 8. When physically hanging out with informants, observing how they circulate and consume music on Jekyll, I notice how little time is spent looking at seeding and leeching torrents within the BitTorrent client.

Advanced search, filter, and sort options afford multiple approaches to viewing and arranging available torrents. In effect, the ratio system is an informal economy, where each torrent carries a cost based on the file size of the release. For example, if a participant snatches a megabyte album and then seeds megabytes back to the swarm, the resulting user ratio would be 1.

New members of Jekyll are subject to a grace period, allowing them to download 5 gigabytes of data before becoming subject to the ratio system requirements. If this condition is not met, the member loses the ability to snatch new releases until the required ratio is met. The experience of participating in the mandatory ratio system in Jekyll therefore brings a wholly unexpected form of quasi-economic anxiety, one that drives participants constantly to seek out new releases to seed to the tracker.

My informants speak anxiously and often about the challenges of the ratio system and the necessity of participating in a calculating and economistic fashion. In Chapter 8, I address further the nature of this economy and the modes of exchange that it encompasses. One bizarre result of this system, put simply, is that Jekyll participants do not necessarily snatch the music releases that they want.

Popular new releases, if snatched immediately after being uploaded to the tracker, often provide seeders with significantly more buffer than the ratio cost. Uploading new releases is the most important participatory action on Jekyll, a point that is often underemphasized in the literature on file-sharing.

Without the investments of labour in uploading via the collective contributions of participants, Jekyll would not exist. This analysis of circulatory labour in participation is central to my understanding of both Jekyll and Spotify, and is further unpacked in Chapter 8. Uploading on Jekyll speaks to the diversity of processes through which music is introduced into extralegal circulation and also the complex procedures by which music is reconfigured from its commodity forms e.

The page that addresses uploading rules is over 15, words long and details the exact regulations regarding permissible source media and encoding methods. While a dozen different audio formats are technically permitted, four formats are elevated above others as preferable.

The other three are variations of MP3s known as , V0 and V2 , and it is clear that FLAC and V0 are the most popular formats because of their putative high audio quality. A representative example of an individual uploading practice here will serve to demonstrate how music enters circulation on Jekyll. QT does not purchase the majority of his uploaded content. If not yet indexed, he set it aside to be uploaded. The next step was to set the composer, work title, track title, performer s , year of release, record label, album art, and catalogue number fields within the ID3 metadata tags attached to each file properly.

These files were then transcoded to the MP3 , V0, and V2 formats. QT then used his BitTorrent client to generate. At the conclusion of this process, the release is considered a completed upload and has entered circulation on Jekyll. The final major components of the Jekyll torrent site are the Requests and Collages systems.

The Requests system is an incentivisation scheme to encourage participants to upload particular releases. In order to create a request, a member must contribute a portion of their buffer to the desired release, which is then awarded to the first person to upload that release.

For instance, if Member A creates a request for a rare James Brown album with a 1GB bounty, and 10 additional members each contribute MB, the bounty for the first upload to fulfill the request is effectively 2GB. As such, it operates somewhere between a marketplace and a suggestion box, in which some participants may fill requests based purely on the demonstration of interest, whereas others may wait until a release is sufficiently incentivized before uploading.

The figures offered here are rounded for the sake of clarity. While torrents are generally grouped together by recording artist elsewhere within the index, Collages allow for any arrangement of torrents to be displayed on a single page. View Community Hub. About This Game No kill streaks. No pay to win. No random spawns. No BS. Just FPS. Competitive, objective-oriented gameplay, featuring three layers of anti-cheat including EQU8 Tip of the Spear: Task Force Elite is an online multiplayer shooter with competitive gameplay inspired by military FPS titles from the late s and early s.

Nostalgic gameplay upgraded to , featuring an unique blend of run-and-gun gameplay and a fast time to kill, players wage war across Middle Eastern streets, Arctic bases, underground tunnels and rolling terrains up to 6 square miles 16 square kilometers Storm a casino, raid tunnels, siege a bank, and secure an abandoned airfield.

Join one of the clans already on the game and play competitive matches or casually with your friends, in one of the many public servers, in your own clan server or start your own! Clan matches are played every weekend and the first tournament, community organized, is ongoing. Engage in close quarters urban combat, or rain fire from above in AI-controlled helicopters that you can command!

Control the zone in the objective area to crown your team as the King of the Hill! Some flags may even be in the enemy team's camp! Can your team survive the trip the lion's den and make it out to tell the tale? Capture all Outposts to control the map and rack up more kills than the enemy team! Fight your way into the top 3! Ban weapons, select maps, force map rotation or allow map vote.

Set banned words, ban or kick players, start a match, host a private password-protected server, and much more through our Proprietary server tool. Mature Content Description The developers describe the content like this: Tip of the Spear: Task Force Elite contains spurts of blood when players are shot or stabbed.

See all. Customer reviews. Overall Reviews:. Recent Reviews:. Review Type. All Positive Negative All Steam Purchasers Other All Languages Your Languages Customize. Date Range. To view reviews within a date range, please click and drag a selection on a graph above or click on a specific bar. Show graph. Brought to you by Steam Labs. Filter reviews by the user's playtime when the review was written:.

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