YouTube Archivists, E-Collectors and Digital Flâneurs: The Internet and the Future of Phonography
Aims and Chapter Outline Whilst the first three chapters of the book embrace specific and relatively rooted sites of the material culture of music, focusing on a selection of independent record labels, Chapter 4 aims to introduce a broader discussion on music objects, their becoming and possible futures, as they transition to and become routinely integrated into digital networks. Some of the key terms and themes developed across the three previous chapters are revisited and critically re-assessed in this chapter. These include issues of materiality, collection, dissemination and cultural transmission, whose respective modi operandi are unsettled, challenged and redefined by novel socio-technological conditions. The chapter will especially focus on the internet as a possible archival medium, given that ‘everything that can be digitized can be stored’ (Poster 2001: 141). I will question what ‘happens’ with regard to collecting, remembering and transmitting in the digital world. I will consider the tension (but also the possible fusion) between material music objects and immaterial ones. It will be underlined throughout the chapter that, in order to be resonant, a reflection on transmission and dissemination has to be a study of the medium and of the delivery technology. My intention is not to oppose here the pre-digital and digital realms (or tangible and intangible objects), as they evidently coexist,
and keep influencing each other. One does not eradicate the other. Rather, they constantly and consistently act upon each other.