Originally posted on a closer listen:
How quickly we forget. How quickly we are to believe our present moment is new, different, incommensurable with the past. This is especially true in our fetishization of new technologies, as even a cursory glance at the recent literature on digital audio will show. MUSIC HAS BECOME DEMATERIALIZED! THE SKY IS FALLING! “But wasn’t radio broadcast the first dematerialization of music?” This question was posed by Francisco Lopez in a recent essay in which he argues that our renewed attention to immateriality will help lead us “back to an ethereal state of listening.” I don’t like the conservative implication of a “going back to,” but certainly there’s something to be gained from problematizing received notions of listening a bit.
Radio broadcasting isn’t immaterial of course, nor is streaming or downloading for that matter. You can store a lot of music on a 1 TB harddrive, certainly, but after all it…
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