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‘Under-the-Radar’ Electronic Dance Musicians: Opportunities and Challenges with Digital Communication Technologies

Rauh Ortega, Andreas Aurelio (2018) ‘Under-the-Radar’ Electronic Dance Musicians: Opportunities and Challenges with Digital Communication Technologies. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis aims to deepen our understanding of contemporary cultural production. It examines the experiences of ‘under-the-radar’ or grassroots musicians in electronic dance music (EDM), who use digital technologies to make and circulate music as part of their musical practices. Placing grassroots musical activities in the context of contemporary cultural production, this thesis asks two key questions: 1) to what extent have changes associated with digital communication technologies facilitated the musical practices of grassroots musicians? and, 2) how do these changes affect grassroots musicians’ experiences? The analysis focuses on three elements of cultural production: a) motivations and working conditions; b) learning strategies and practices to make and perform music live; and c) the ways musical content is circulated and promoted online. Qualitative research methods are used to investigate participants’ experiences and practices as cultural producers. Data from ethnographic approaches include in-depth semi-structured interviews and participant observation (face-to-face and online). This microanalysis of musicians’ activities is analysed in relation to a macro view of the political economy of online platforms and music industries, and the larger socio-cultural context of EDM. This thesis argues that while digital communication technologies provide grassroots EDM musicians with significant benefits, there are still considerable dilemmas and problems facing those who take their musical practices seriously – most notably aspiring professionals. Benefits include output for creative expression, learning opportunities, lower(ed) entry-level requirements for making and playing music, and convenient online music circulation. Main challenges include building a career, entrepreneurial and networked sociality, promotional incentives, and structural inequalities. A key objective is to move beyond perspectives that overemphasise advantages offered by digital technologies to cultural producers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Keywords: Cultural Production, Popular Music, Electronic Dance Music, Grassroots Musicians, Cultural Labour, New Media
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Media and Communication (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Andreas Aurelio Rauh Ortega
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2018 12:30
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2018 12:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20632

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