—Professor of Cultural Sociology at the University of Edinburgh—discusses his new book, Popular Music, Digital Technology and Society
(SAGE Publications, 2018). The book explores the social, cultural and industrial contexts for the changes that have taken place in popular music since the widespread adoption of digital technology by creators, distributors, and listeners from the early 1980s onward. Joining insights from the sociology of culture with key analytic categories from science and technology studies (STS), Prior examines a variety of contexts in which these changes have been felt, including the novel spaces and structures of both music production and consumption afforded by digitalization, the co-construction of vocal subjects and vocal sound-processing technologies, the tactical use of portable media by young urbanites to mediate their relationship to the city, and the conjunction of music and play in the ever-growing video game sector. In addition to an acute sense for their embeddedness in the social lives of their various users, Prior also demonstrates a notable fluency with the technologies he describes as well as a distinctively musical interest in the sounds that they have been used to produce.
Eamonn Bell (@_eamonnbell) is a postdoctoral Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin in the Department of Music. His current research project examines the story of the compact disc from a viewpoint between musicology and media studies.