Media and Cultural Studies
6132 Vilas Hall
Expertise and Activities
My research focuses on new media use in everyday life, specifically on the digitization of cultural goods (music, software, books, movies, etc.) and how these are then turned into commodified and sellable objects in various digital formats. What do these new formats (e-Books, mp3’s, streaming video, apps, etc.) mean for the ways we make and use the media we love? I hope my work, with its concern for artists as creators and as entrepreneurs, helps contribute to healthy and vibrant local cultural scenes. I also hope it helps users make better sense of the role new media play in their everyday lives. My recent book focuses on the shared fate of the computing and music industries over the last two decades. 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. While the debate on digital music tends to focus on piracy, I investigated the aesthetic and cultural consequences of digitization and the disruption of our relationship with music’s commodity form. My current research project follows the ongoing digitization of cultural products by looking at the emergence of “app culture”, or, the culture around the production of software applications for mobile media and and a host of other devices. Looking at apps within a longer history of marketing and selling software as a commodity, the project hopes to explore how apps and the practices that surround their production and use have readjusted the economics and industrial structure of software development and shifted our relationship with casual and everyday software.
- Ph.D. McGill University, 2010
- M.A. Ryerson/York University, 2005
- B.S. Queen’s University, 1998
- 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
- 2021. “Infrastructures of discovery: examining podcast ratings and rankings.” Cultural Studies. Vol. 35 (4-5): 728-749. Available here.
- 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). Available here.
- 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, http://ecs.sagepub.com/content/18/4-5/446.abstract.
- 2015. “Anti-Market Research: Piracy, New Media Metrics and Commodity Communities.” Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture, 13(1): 32-44, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15405702.2014.977998?journalCode=hppc….
- 2015. “Control, Curation and Musical Experience in Streaming Music Services (with Devon Powers).” Creative Industries Journal, 8(2), http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showAxaArticles?journalCode=rcij20.
- 2014. “Non-Practical Entities: Patents and the Digitization of Culture.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, 31(3): 212-229, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15295036.2013.833341.
- 2014. “Artists as Entrepreneurs, Fans as Workers.” Popular Music and Society, 37(3): 273-290, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03007766.2013.778534.
- 2013. “‘The Person Behind the Music We Adore’: Artists, Profiles, and the Circulation of Music..” Wi: Journal of Mobile Media, 7(1), http://wi.mobilities.ca/the-person-behind-the-music-we-adore-artists-profiles-an….
- 2012. “Hear Here: Location Based Music Commodities.” Journal of Popular Music Studies Online: Pop/IASPM Sounds of the City Special Issue, 15, http://iaspm-us.net/?p=2913.
- 2012. “Making Music Behave: Metadata and the Digital Music Commodity..” New Media and Society, 14(5): 850-866, http://nms.sagepub.com/content/14/5/850.abstract.
- 2011. “Sounds in the Cloud: Cloud Computing and the Digital Music Commodity.” First Monday, 16(5), http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3391/2917.
- 2008. “The Politics of Podcasting.” Fiberculture, 12(1), http://thirteen.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-087-the-politics-of-podcasting/.
- 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.
- 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