Media and Cultural Studies
Professor | Director of Graduate Studies
6132 Vilas Hall
Current and Future Projects
- Implementing further design and search refinements to the PodcastRE.org database.
- A book mapping out the history and growth of the podcasting industry
- Research into music in virtual environments, live-streaming music technologies, and podcasting apps.
- A media history project focused on software that looks at early “apps” from the 1970s and the software catalogs (early “app stores”) that were used to distribute the programs.
Expertise and Activities
My research focuses on digital media use in everyday life, specifically on the digitization of cultural goods (music, software, podcasts, etc.) and how these are then turned into commodities and sellable objects. What do these new formats (mp3’s, streaming audio, podcasts, apps, etc.) mean for the ways we make and use the media we love? I hope my work, with its concern for musicians, software developers and podcasters as creators and as entrepreneurs, helps contribute to healthy and vibrant local cultural scenes. I also hope it helps us, as users, make better sense of the role digital media play in our everyday lives. My first book focused on the shared fate of the computing and music industries after the Internet, digital downloads and streaming music shook up the industry. Entitled Selling Digital Music, Formatting Culture, the project involved case studies of technologies – Winamp, the CD Database, Napster, iTunes, Cloud-based services – that played a key role in the migration of music on CDs to music as digital files on computers and online. Since then, I’ve also developed research projects around apps and new forms of software as well as podcasting. My edited collection with Dr. Sarah Murray, Appified: Culture in the Age of Apps, features case studies of dozens of apps individual apps and places them within the wider historical and cultural context of media and cultural studies scholarship, attuned to issues of politics and power, identity and the everyday. My edited collection with Dr. Eric Hoyt explores how media historians and cultural researchers can best preserve podcasting’s booming audio cultures and the countless voices and perspectives podcasting adds to our collective soundscape. I’m also working on a larger project about the emergence of “app culture”, and the longer history of marketing and selling software and I founded and maintain PodcastRE.org, one of the largest, publicly-accessible databases devoted to podcast preservation.
- Ph.D. McGill University, 2010
- M.A. Ryerson/York University, 2005
- B.S. Queen’s University, 1998
- NEH Summer Stipend Award, 2023
- Chancellor’s Teaching Innovation Award, 2021
- AI & Society International Workshop Grant, 2019
- UW2020 Discovery Initiative, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education/WARF, 2017
- Digital Humanities Advancement Grant (with co-PI Eric Hoyt), National Endowment for the Humanities – Office of the Digital Humanities, 2017
- Borghesi-Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshop in Sound Studies, University of Wisconsin Madison Center for the Humanities, 2015
- Post-Doctoral Scholarship, Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société, 2010
- Dissertation Grant, Media@McGill, 2009
- Best Conference Paper Award, IASPM-Canada, 2008
- Canadian Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2007
Articles and Edited Special Issues
- 2023. “Competing Sounds: Podcasting and Popular Music.” Special Issue of Radio Journal co-edited with Ellis Jones. 20(1).
- 2021. “Infrastructures of discovery: examining podcast ratings and rankings.” Cultural Studies. Vol. 35 (4-5): 728-749.
- 2021. Hoyt, Eric, Bersch, JJ, Noh, Susan, Hansen, Sam, Mertens, Jacob and Morris, Jeremy. “PodcastRE Analytics: Using RSS to Study the Cultures and Norms of Podcasting”. Digital Humanities Quarterly. 15(1).
- 2020. “Music Platforms and the Optimization of Culture”. Social Media + Society. Brooke Erin Duffy, David Nieborg and Thomas Poell, (eds.).
- 2019 with Hoyt, Eric and Hansen, Samuel. The PodcastRE Project: Curating and Preserving Podcasts (and Their Data). Journal for Radio and Audio Media. 26(1): 8-20.
- 2019. with Morris, Austin. “App-ed Out: Logics of Failure in App Stores”. Computational Culture. Issue 7, 21 October.
- 2015. “Curation by Code: Infomediaries and the Data-Mining of Taste.” European Journal of Cultural Studies, 18(4-5): 446-463.
- 2015. “Anti-Market Research: Piracy, New Media Metrics and Commodity Communities.” Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture, 13(1): 32-44.
- 2015. “Control, Curation and Musical Experience in Streaming Music Services (with Devon Powers).” Creative Industries Journal, 8(2).
- 2014. “Non-Practical Entities: Patents and the Digitization of Culture.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, 31(3): 212-229.
- 2014. “Artists as Entrepreneurs, Fans as Workers.” Popular Music and Society, 37(3): 273-290.
- 2013. “‘The Person Behind the Music We Adore’: Artists, Profiles, and the Circulation of Music.” Wi: Journal of Mobile Media, 7(1)
- 2012. “Hear Here: Location Based Music Commodities.” Journal of Popular Music Studies Online: Pop/IASPM Sounds of the City Special Issue, 15
- 2012. “Making Music Behave: Metadata and the Digital Music Commodity.” New Media and Society, 14(5): 850-866.
- 2011. “Sounds in the Cloud: Cloud Computing and the Digital Music Commodity.” First Monday, 16(5).
- 2008. “The Politics of Podcasting.” Fiberculture, 12(1).
- 2021. Saving New Sounds: Podcast Preservation and Historiography (Edited Collection, with Eric Hoyt). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Open Access available here.
- 2018. Appified: Culture in the Age of Apps (Edited Collection, with Sarah Murray). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.
- 2015. Selling Digital Music, Formatting Culture. Berkley: University of California Press.
- 2023. “Live at the App: The Economics, Platforms and Technologies of Livestreamed Music”. The SAGE Handbook of the Digital Media Economy. Terry Flew, Julian Thomas and Jennifer Holt eds. London and California: Sage Publications. 260-279
- 2021. “The Spotification of Podcasting” in Saving New Sounds: Dispatches from the PodcastRE Project. Jeremy Wade Morris and Eric Hoyt (eds.). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 208-225.
- 2021. (with Yizhou Xu). “App Radio: The Reconfiguration of Audible Publics in China through Ximalaya.FM”. Engaging Social Media in China: Platforms, Publics, and Production (US–China Relations in the Age of Globalization). Guobin Yang and Wei Wang (eds.). Michigan: Michigan State Press.
- 2019. “Hearing the Past: The Sonic Web from MIDI to Music Streaming” in The SAGE Handbook of Web History. Niels Brugger and Ian Milligan (eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 491-504.
- 2018. “Platform Fandom.” The Routledge Companion to Media Fandom, Melissa Click and Suzanne Scott New York: Routledge, 356-364.
- 2018. “Introduction” in Appified: Culture in the Age of Apps. Jeremy Wade Morris and Sarah Murray, eds. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 1-19.
- 2018. “Is it Tuesday: Novelty Apps and Digital Solutionism.” Appified: Culture in the Age of Apps, Jeremy Wade Morris and Sarah Murray Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 91-101.
- 2016. “App Music.” Music and Virtuality, Sheila Whiteley and Shara Rambarran Oxford University Press.
- 2008. “Delegating the Live: Musicians, Machines, and the Loops they Create.” Sonic Mediations: Body, Sound, Technology, Carolyn Birdsall and Anthony Enns Cambridge University Press.
- CA 346 – Critical Internet Studies
- CA 449 – Sound Cultures: Podcasting and Music
- CA 459 – New Media and Society
- CA 950 – Digital Methodologies
- CA 950 – Digital Commodities
- CA950 – Sound Cultures
- CA950 – Qualitative Methods and Writing for Media and Cultural Studies