Music is being fundamentally transformed by digitisation and digital media. With the growth of internet access across the developing and the developed world, and the accelerating appearance of mobile and new media platforms in which music plays a critical affective role in attaching users, digitisation is fostering a range of escalating changes that radically alter the environment for the creation, circulation and consumption of music. Not only creative and distributive practices, but the nature of music as a cultural object are evolving in far-reaching ways. Institutional and industrial reconfigurations are paralleled by the renegotiation of intellectual and cultural property regimes, by new musical literacies, and by the emergence of novel sonic materialities, new aesthetics and genres. Digitisation inflects longstanding musical subjectivities and gender dynamics; it demands new thinking about the periodisations and temporal assumptions that govern the historiography of late-20th- and 21st-century music. But these changes also have wider repercussions, since music is often held to be in the vanguard of the changes to contemporary cultures and cultural economies afforded by digitisation. The fate of digitised music is thus taken to portend what is to come for audio-visual media as, increasingly, they circulate through the internet and via sites such as YouTube.
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