Conference Announcement: ‘Information Overload? Music Studies in the Age of Abundance’ (8-10 Sept)

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We are thrilled to announce the details for our forthcoming conference:

Information Overload? Music Studies in the Age of Abundance
8th – 10th September 2021
University of Birmingham & Online via Zoom

Keynote Speakers:

Robin James (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

Nick Seaver (Tufts University)


For those investigating any musical activity after about 1994, the main sources of research data will not be print archives or discrete media – they will be World Wide Web media. The Internet Archive, the web’s library, today holds over 525 billion archived web pages, while API and post-API archiving initiatives make social web platforms accessible as research databases. At first glance, no other archive is more inclusive in terms of whose voices it represents, and none more comprehensive in terms of the insights it provides into the thoughts, desires and musical tastes of ordinary people.

Yet there is good cause to be sceptical of claims to a more ‘democratic’ archive in an age of surveillance capitalism. Contrary to early hopes that the internet would bring about greater egalitarianism, Shoshana Zuboff argues that the political economy of contemporary digital communications is characterised by ‘radical indifference’ in the service of maximising data flows. The harms that algorithms perpetuate through biased and incomplete training data suggest that visibility within the archive remains strongly patterned according to race, gender, prosperity, ability and geography. Intersecting with these concerns is a question of how the superficial ‘abundance’ of stories to be told about music in the last twenty-five years impacts on questions of historical theory.

With this conference we seek to gather researchers who are interested in the epistemological, methodological, ethical, and disciplinary problems that arise when studying music in the age of abundance.

Paper titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words, together with a 100-word biography, should be sent to muscon2021 -at- by Friday 7th May 2021. Notification of acceptance will be sent via email by Monday 7th June.

Full preparations are being made for an in-person conference, however online participation via Zoom will also be possible.

the conference website with the full call for papers is here





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