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FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam

Platformization of music production: Developer and user perspectives on transformations of production technology in the online environment

Alternative title: Plattformisering av musikkproduksjon: Utvikler- og brukerperspektiver på endringer i produksjonsteknologi i nettbaserte omgivelser

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

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Project Period:

2021 - 2025


The PLATFORM project works toward a richer understanding of how music production evolves in the digital and online environment in terms of the ways in which production technology is developed, used, and brought to bear on creative roles and modes. The project mobilizes multiple perspectives upon the formation and utilization of music production technology, fusing theories of media development with scholarship on musical practice and aligning methods that afford a bird’s-eye view of technological change with those that afford a worm’s-eye view of transformations in cultural production. The project thereby unpacks the encounter between music culture and the emergence of online platforms—an encounter that generates a platformization of music production, the shapes and impacts of which will be captured and conceptualized. The project focuses on digital audio workstations (DAWs) such as Logic Pro and BandLab and the ways in which these networked clusters of music technologies are reshaping the foundations of creative audio work, including composition, performance, and collaboration. Its hypothesis is that the developers of DAW technology, as well as their various user groups, are all involved in a platformization process that has profound cultural, social, and economic ramifications for the music sector. The project is organized in six work packages that are interlinked and intentionally overlapping, so that their various perspectives and interdisciplinary insights will be of mutual benefit to the overall project. The vantage point of the project is Norway, which has a technologically advanced and internationally oriented music sector, with artists, practices, and enterprises flowing into the country as well as out of it. PLATFORM traces these exchanges, delivering insights and critical perspectives into the social context of technological development as well as its associated creative practices.

The PLATFORM project sets out to explore and critically evaluate the conditions for cultural production in a time of digitized and networked technology. It asks: How are platforms of music production developed, and what are their significance for music making? The hypothesis of this project is that the developers of production technology, as well as their various user groups, are all involved in a platformization process that has profound cultural, social, and economic ramifications for the music sector. The project goes on to ask: 1) How are production technologies established as online platforms and introduced into creative practices? The hypothesis is that the exploitation of online opportunities is having substantial ramifications concerning the pace of technological innovation in music production. 2) How are contemporary production platforms used and acted upon by music practitioners? The hypothesis is that the usage of platforms is deeply implicated in creative practice, and that there are significant differences and patterns residing there that are only discernible through the study of the coming together of technologies and users. 3. To what extent is platformization involved with transforming creative roles and modes of music production? The hypothesis is that new platforms influence key professions in the value chain of music while altering the conditions for producing music for contemporary platforms of music mediation. The investgations will be carried out through six work packages, half of them focused on central aspects of technological development and use, the other half engaged with technology’s entanglement with its surroundings. The Project Leader, Postdoctoral Research Fellow and PhD-candidate will use qualitative as well as quantitative methods, comprising interviews, observations, interface analysis and a sector-wide survey, thereby engaging the sector in our analyses of shifts in music production and the platforms that frame it.

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FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam