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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

1 - Digital Technology and Cultural Practice

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Summary

This chapter discusses some principal themes of the Cambridge Companion to Music in Digital Culture, emphasising the social and cultural dimensions of digital music. A historical introduction ranges from the embedding of digital technology in everyday life to the emergence of virtual realities, from digital-only genres like vaporwave to Second Life and Hatsune Miku, the virtual diva whose holographic performances are seen as emblematic of posthumanism: I sketch out an aesthetics of digital culture that emphasises continuities across its expressions, from digital multimedia and internet memes to playfulness on Reddit. Attention is also given to the real-world dimensions of digital culture, including the transition from downloads to streaming, internet-based participation, and so called Web 2.0 businesses. The digital revolution has brought about a radical restructuring of the music industry, culminating in a bizarre situation whereby music is economically underpinned by the collection of commercially valuable personal data on listeners.