Last modified on August 14, 2014, at 13:48

Making friends with Jarvis Cocker: music culture in the context of Web 2.0

Publication (help)
Making friends with Jarvis Cocker: music culture in the context of Web 2.0
Authors: David Beer [edit item]
Citation: Cultural Sociology 2 (2): 222-241. 2008 July.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: 10.1177/1749975508091034.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
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Making friends with Jarvis Cocker: music culture in the context of Web 2.0 is a publication by David Beer.


[edit] Abstract

The movement toward what has been described as Web 2.0 has brought with it some significant transformations in the practices, organization and relations of music culture. The user-generated and web-top applications of Web 2.0 are already popular and widely used, the social networking site {MySpace} already having more than 130 million members worldwide. By focusing specifically upon the presence of the popular music performer Jarvis Cocker across various Web 2.0 applications, this article seeks to open up a series of questions and create opportunities for research into what is happening in contemporary music culture. This exploratory article lays out an agenda for research into music culture and Web 2.0 that is not only concerned with the implications of Web 2.0 for music, but which also attempts to understand the part played by music in making the connections that form the collaborative and participatory cultures of Web 2.0 and the flickering friendships of social networking sites.

[edit] Research questions

"By focusing specifically upon the presence of the popular music performer Jarvis Cocker across various Web 2.0 applications, this article seeks to open up a series of questions and create opportunities for research into what is happening in contemporary music culture. This

exploratory article lays out an agenda for research into music culture and Web 2.0 that is not only concerned with the implications of Web 2.0 for music, but which also attempts to understand the part played by music in making the connections that form the collaborative and participatory cultures of Web 2.0 and the flickering friendships of social networking sites.theobjective of this article is tracking the particular transformation in music culture due to the rise of Web 2.0. two main questions are asked here: 1. how Web 2.0 applications are enabling a reconfiguration of the relations and organization of music culture. 2. how it is that we may understand the part that music and music culture play in the development of Web 2.0, and in particular how music brings together its community of collaborative wikizens."

Research details

Topics: Miscellaneous topics [edit item]
Domains: Other humanities, Sociology [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Case [edit item]
Theories: "A descriptive sociology

has recently found its way onto the agenda in a number of forms. So for instance, Bruno Latour’s (2005) widely cited most recent book on Actor Network Theory (ANT) suggests to its readers that they concentrate their efforts on describing or tracing ‘associations’. We also find that prominent new media theorists such as Friedrich Kittler are promoting their own version of a sociology of description. In Kittler’s case it takes the form of a kind of ‘information materialism’ (Kittler, 1999) or ‘cultural mathematics’ (Armitage, 2006) that is concerned with producing detailed understandings of the functionality and workings of new media technologies. More relevant in terms of the direction of this particular article is the form of descriptive sociology forwarded in Scott Lash and Celia Lury’s (2007) Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things. Through a series of detailed case studies Lash and Lury update and renew Adorno and Horkheimer’s well-known vision of the culture industry for a digital and global age.

All I wish to point out at this stage is that we are now finding that the relations and organization of music culture – the distance of the popstar, the practices and artefacts of the industry, and the way that musical movements operate – is being challenged and disrupted in a way that may require cultural sociology to return to and refresh established visions and theories of youth and music culture. We might also need to think outside of the sphere of popular music as other celebrities, politicians, activists, product manufacturers, and even the Queen – through The Royal Channel: the Official Channel of the British Monarchy which was recently launched on Youtube – begin to use Web 2.0 applications to play with perceptions of proximity in an attempt to connect with and get closer to ‘the people’." [edit item]

Research design: Case study [edit item]
Data source: Websites [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: N/A [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Live Wikipedia [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"I would like to conclude by suggesting that popular music plays a complex and central role in the connections necessary to the participatory functioning of Web 2.0. This is perhaps a continuation of the part music has played historically in bringing together people through shared tastes – although it has long been considered that where we are from and the personal relations we have affect our tastes and preferences (Johnstone and Katz, 1957) leading to intimate connections between music, space and place (Whiteley et al., 2004). In the 1950s for instance, Johnstone and Katz found that ‘musical tastes and preferences for particular songs … are found to be anchored in relatively small groups of friends, suggesting that personal relations play an important role in musical fads and fashions’ (Johnstone and Katz, 1957: 563). As social networking sites stretch out friendship networks – and in some cases disassociate them from particular localities – so we might need to reconsider how this has a knock-on effect for music culture and for its linkages between locality, friendship groups and musical tastes and preferences. Reflecting on these linkages in the context of the type of mainstream web applications described here would give us a much needed sociological way into studying Web 2.0. Thinking of the possibilities here for a more quantitative angle on things, recent globalization literature has told us that music is particularly important in terms of senses of ‘belonging’ (see for instance the chapter on mediascapes and music in the study of Manchester in Savage et al., 2005). It has been suggested that musical taste is a particularly important variable connecting in complex ways with a series of sociological classifications such as age, ethnicity, gender, occupation, social class, place and so on (Savage, 2006).


As I have shown here, getting hold of data about musical movements has become easier with the emergence of (these largely sociologically/untapped) open and accessible archives of information about them. These archives are eminently searchable and sortable. If we take the SNS for instance, the people with profiles on these sites can be sorted into groups dependent on favourite performers, films, television programmes, and so on, as well as by ethnicity, gender, height, location, and other such categories."

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Further notes[edit]