February 24 Readings - Bernard Short

Taylor talks about the ways that digital technology shapes the three areas that have historically been so affected by technology: music production, storage, and consumption. What I like about this is that he brings it home with his interest in everyday people and their use of everyday technologies.

Back in the early days of the World Wide Web, there were technologies available for transporting and transmitting audio, but most of the formats sounded horrible or had files that were to big so they took forever to download and then were hard to store due to size.

MP3’s changed everything, producing sound quality coming close to the level of CD but with smaller file sizes. Once downloaded, you could store your MP3 in a variety of ways, via hard disk, Zip disk, or on a CD. MP3’s totally changed the way we stored music, making life easier and simpler for everyone.



Music Consumption

Here Taylor talks about Simon Frith and his theory of technologies. Here is states that the technologies that catch on are the ones that lead to the decentralization of music making and listening, and make more flexible ways of listening. I totally agree with him here, its due to MP3s and their download capabilities that we’re allowed to create a more personalized music consumption experience. What do I mean by this? Instead of going to the store like I used to back in the day and being forced to buy a complete LP or CD in order to hear a song that I liked, now I can download my own songs one by one and create my own album based off of my tastes. Now of course back in the day music was better all around so people didn’t mind buying the whole Earth Wind and Fire CD or LP because all 16-20 tracks were hits.

Eclecticism in consumption of music today to me is in direct response to the masses protest against the substance-less/soul-less music of today. The masses simply stopped buying the packaged garbage just to get a few select gems hidden deep within the packaged garbage. Now we can browse at our own pace and create our own listening experience which creates a more enjoyable environment.


Taylor then talks about David Harvey's notion of "flexible accumulation" which is meant to describe what he calls a disorganized capitalist mode of production today.

The question I have for the group is what does David Harvey mean by a disorganized capitalist mode of production today?

Taylor then speaks of Jean Baudrillard’s theory and I totally disagree with Jean Baudrillard’s view that patterns of consumption have become so flexible that consumers are overwhelmed. I think that it’s the just the fact the patterns of consumption now favor the consumers and some people just don’t like that because they cannot manipulate consumption for profit the way they used to.

What is the All Embracing Technique?

Is Technique autonomous?

Ellul says Man is not adapted to a world of steel; technique adapts him to it. It changes the arrangement of this blind world so that man can be a part of it without colliding with its rough edges.

As long as technique is represented solely by the machine, it is possible to speak of "man and the machine." What if technique wasn’t represented solely by the machine? What if technique was represented by music?

Ellul talks about when technique enters into every aspect of life, it ceases to be external and becomes mans very substance.

If technique was represented by music instead of machine how would that change your view of this thought process?

When music enters into every aspect of life is that a bad thing? Has that already happened?

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