BLAKE DURHAM Circulatory Maintenan ce: The Entailments of Participation in Digital Music Platforms To the administrators, developers, moderators, team members, interview - ers, uploaders, downloaders, seeders, musicians, designers, archivists, and historians who contributed countless thousands of hours of voluntary ef - fort: our library could not have existed had you not been willing to build it piece by piece. —@whatcd.Twitter Post, November 18, 2016, https://twitter.com/whatcd/status/799751019294965760 This article examines an undertheorized facet of digital participation, a mode of labor that is distinctly not creative, one that fits equally between the “playground” and the “factory”: labor that is preservational in nature. Based on a multisited digital ethnography of digital music cir - culation conducted between 2013 and 2016, I articulate how listeners are enjoined to partake in the ongoing maintenance of the platforms they use for music consumption. This article compares What.CD, a music-focused private BitTorrent tracker, with one of the most widely adopted digital music streaming services worldwide, Spotify. This work belongs to a broader commitment to tracing the less visible yet critically important infrastructures of music circulation. The technologies that engender music circulation are not neutral; they permit and encourage certain flows, discourage others, and stem certain styles, formats,
American Music – University of Illinois Press
Published: Aug 28, 2020
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