Hi-fi statics and lo-fi dynamics: An analysis of digital media's impact on bass culture
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The aim of this thesis is to analyse the impact of digital media on the underground music ethnology known as 'bass culture'. As a result of digital media, music production, distribution and dissemination are ever more interconnected. Further, the roles of the artist and audience are not as clearly defined as they once were. By investigating the artist-audience relationship in a digital media context, it is hoped to discover the effects it has on bass culture. The research methods of this thesis comprise a literature review from the perspectives of both artist and audience, (under the themes of content, business and technology) and the empirical research in the form of a case study of music creators, through interviews and correspondence, along with a survey of music users. It was found that there is a high level of mutual awareness between users and creators, although they do clash in terms of musical appreciation and economic challenges. Creators do not agree with the theoretical models of free and pervasive music suggested by Leonhard and others. Methods of engagement by users suggest a more active participation. The review of the literature suggests that many phenomena discussed today are but extensions of age-old issues, such as sacrificing fidelity for mobility. The main conclusion from this thesis is that digital media is a positive enabler of change in music, and enables a more active participation by the user. It is recommended that the artist-audience relationship be considered when developing new models of music economy. Also, that the rise in user participation can realize Small's theory of 'musicking', although with potentially detrimental effects on creators. Further, ritual, vibe, perception and auditory memory are the focal points for understanding methods of engagement with music.
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