A Manifesto for the Future of Music Technology Research

“Meaningful innovation happens when fields intersect – yet those who work in music technology are too often siloed in distinct fields within universities, industry, startups, journalism, hobbyist and fan subcultures. We don’t always know how to think together, and we often do not know what others can contribute. We don’t even know what we don’t know. When fields do come together, old hierarchies too often overshadow the spirit of collaboration and mutual learning. Institutional barriers challenge our ability to work together, from the way organizations are structured to reward-systems that encourage people to keep doing what they have always done.

Let’s Build Better Worlds

Music technologies make worlds. Let us make better worlds. Let music technology do good, serve public interest, foster belonging, justice, collaboration and sharing, enable greater access to positive musical experiences and personal connections, and create durable objects and practices.

We call for greater awareness of the cultural forces already in new music technologies, and the courage to challenge or change them when the collective good demands it.

Ask of any music technology: For whom will this make things better? How? Is it open or closed to creativity and innovation it has not yet anticipated?

Ask of any policy: Whose rights and opportunities are being promoted? Whose are being eroded? What idea of culture does it presume?

Ask of any practice: Who is invited to join in? Who is left out? Where will it find support?

Ask of any organization: How does it help people come together? Does it exploit them in doing so?

We must create more opportunities for people to engage one another through music. We must fight for people’s rights to create music and music technologies, and to enjoy music free of rent-seeking and unwarranted legal intimidation. We must stand up to abusive musical practices, from exploiting people’s dreams of making a living in music, to criminalizing whole classes of audiences and musicians, to subjecting people to hearing loss, to the use of music in coercion, warfare and torture.

We are Music Technologists. We work in science, art, engineering, humanities, activism, social science, policy and industry. We believe in music technology and we want to build better worlds. We invite you to join us.”

Via Music Tech Fest | A Manifesto for the Future of Music Technology Research


Online Fandom ?? Fans or Friends?

Last weekend I gave a talk at the International Communication Association about the increasingly interpersonal nature of the relationships between musicians and friends. In it, I draw on the interviews I???ve done with musicians to identify some of the positive new rewards they get when they can interact directly with their fans, cover many of the tricky interpersonal issues they face in trying to negotiate how much those relationships can be like friendship, and briefly summarize the main strategies they use to manage boundaries in ways with which they are comfortable.

Here it is in PDF form for download:

Fans or Friends?

Any and all feedback (especially the constructive kind) is welcomed!

Curse of overtweet: stars ‘lose mystique’ by sharing too much – News, Gadgets & Tech – The Independent

Audience research has found that incontinent tweeters who use social-media sites to enter into daily communication with their fans are shortening their shelf life.

The survey of 1,500 magazine readers by Bauer Media, which owns Q and Kerrang! magazines, said: “In this social-media age, it’s all too easy to follow your musical icons on a minute-by-minute basis.” This new accessibility is producing exhaustion with tweet-happy stars. “There’s a consensus within the industry that this ease of access is leading to artists losing appeal more quickly,” Bauer said.

Would have like to see the actual data – what questions did they ask? Is this perception of what would happen or evidence that it really does happen?

“If you make yourself invisible, people won’t care”: Nancy Baym interviews Greta Salpeter | MIDEMBlog

So that was one thing that our manager told me right when we started. We were playing arena tours opening for Fall Out Boy, and she said “Every single night, as soon as you’re offstage, have your techs take care of all the equipment onstage. You go right to the merch table and sign for an hour at least and just like start meeting people.” And it’s been interesting, because some of the people who are coming to my shows now are people I met four years ago, and a lot of it has to do with like that handshake, that personal connection, the one joke that connected each other, that kind of thing. And they know I feel the same way. Like, you know, if I meet someone and feel a connection with them, I’m more inclined to support them. I’m more inclined to follow their work in the future. I’m more inclined to kind of keep up with them.

And we always did it in a very genuine way. It was never like ?”Oh, let’s go to the table and sign so we can sell a bunch of stuff.” You know, it wasn’t– we were kind of kids when we started, and we just thought like “Oh, cool, we get to meet people from all over the place. This is so fun.” And that’s something I still do now, is just like every night going out, signing autographs if people want them, taking pictures, telling anecdotes, just talking to people.

And I think that’s one thing too– in being a musician, we travel so much when we’re touring that we kind of have to have a sense of purpose as a traveler other than just our musical career, because otherwise it’s just– you know, it’s too much work. So my kind of sense of purpose as a traveler is talking to people from all these different cities and sharing stories and learning as much as I can about different parts of the country and different parts of the world. So that’s the first one, just actually shaking hands, meeting someone in-person.

Getting to meet people is one of the major things that makes being a musician worth it for so many I’ve talked to. And it also helps with the money thing. Imagine that.

Snoop Dogg on connecting with fans on Twitter

Whether you have a successful album or a label that supports you or backs you, there is a relationship with the people who make you who you are. That’s way more important nowadays to me because that’s what the industry is broken down into — trust. If I trust you and have a relationship with you, and you are telling me you are putting a record out and it’s going to be good, I’m going to buy it because I trust you.


How Dance Music Producer/DJs Connect With Their Fans | Techdirt.

What these guys are doing is building a very strong connection with an influential part of their fanbase. Personally, I prefer the phrase ‘ecosystem’ since fanbase suggests a distance between fan and artist, whereas an ecosystem places an artist right in the center of it. They are not just “connecting with fans”, as Mike would put it, but they are participating in their own ecosystem. As said before, when you have a strong ecosystem, that’s when business opportunities start presenting themselves.

Some call it a tribe, others say 1,000 true fans, but it all boils down to one thing: finding original ways to engage with the most valuable people around you… your fans.

Good examples.

Radio Berkman: The Neverending Concert (Rethink Music III)

Listen: or download | …also in Ogg

Musicians are increasingly becoming their own managers, promoters, bookers, and agents. And with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, BandCamp, and dozens of other ways of staying in touch with their audience, the concert never stops.

There’s no way to put a dollar value on this engagement, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile.

How are artists building an audience, completely outside of their music, simply by opening up online?

Nancy Baym — author of the recent book Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Professor of Communications at University of Kansas, and all around music aficionado — joined me this week to talk about how fans are building genuine relationships online and how artists are able to thrive because of them.