Music and Performing Arts 2022 Season

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PlaySpace: Dr Mads Krogh



15 August 6:15am
25 August 12:00pm Other

Abstract communalities: Reconsidering genre for digital times

Long-standing views in (popular) music studies consider notions of genre closely linked to musico-cultural communities. Concepts such as genre world, genre culture and the prominence of ‘scene-based’ genres (Lena 2012) in popular music historiography testify to this. However, current developments – such as the networked thriving of SOME folksonomies, expanding MIR-based taxonomies, the ‘contextual turn’ in music streaming (Prey 2018) and socio-aesthetic ideals of ‘post-genre’ (James 2017) – raise questions about this linkage. In this presentation, I take these questions as a starting point for arguing that musical genre theory might benefit from considering processes of abstraction as central to categorical infrastructures and communalities as these develop in digitized musical life. Specifically, the concept of ‘musico-generic abstraction’ (Krogh 2019) aims at theorizing the productive de-contextualization entailed in the manufacture of general terms (not least by digital means) and the potential, mutual mediation of genre and related types or classes, for example, of style, mood, activity, or location. Two examples will be considered: First, the role (and persistent importance) of genres in individualized, context-driven music recommendation, particularly, in the context of Spotify. Secondly, the construction of communalities in tag-based communication about music, particularly, in the realm of producer-oriented audio distribution platforms (e.g. SoundCloud and Bandcamp).

Mads Krogh is Associate Professor of Popular Music Culture at the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. His research deals with issues of genre, mediation and practice, drawing inspirations from cultural sociology, assemblage, affect, and actor network theory. Recent publications and ongoing projects include Music radio: Building communities, mediating genres (Bloomsbury 2019), Methodologies of affective experimentation (Palgrave 2022), Musical genre: Assemblage and abstraction (Bloomsbury, contracted).

PlaySpace is an arena for discussion and collaboration around the themes of music and research. Playspace offers opportunities for scholars to discuss recent works in an informal setting, encouraging the sharing of new ideas and approaches to inquiry. Drop in and bring your lunch – open to Conservatorium staff and students only. QCRC 3.44