Theses Master's

The Subway Sessions: How technology is changing the way we interact with music in public space and reshaping sociomusical theory

French, Kory

For the millions of Americans who use it, the iPod has changed the way we ‘receive’ music. I place an emphasis on receive because it refers to both the consumerist act of ‘purchasing’ and the inherent act of ‘listening’ to sound. Essentially, there are two properties that the iPod and its inexorable cousins of multiple musical trading platforms have brought, or at least accelerated, to music that perpetuate this shift—availability and accessibility. Availability has delimited the boundaries, both physical and cultural, of what music we can learn of, listen to, and acquaint ourselves with. Accessibility has provided us with hours of recorded material in a device that is, at times, the size of a postage stamp and can cost less than concert tickets. This has made music a part of everyday life regardless of who one is, what his or her knowledge of music may be, or the social class he or she belongs to. Together, these two properties have allowed recorded music to become as ubiquitous as any other sound of living—natural or industrial, urban or rural.


More About This Work

Academic Units
American Studies
Thesis Advisors
Fox, Aaron Andrew
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
June 6, 2011