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Review: Cybersounds: Essays on Virtual Music Culture

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Message Norm Goldman
Editor: Michael D. Ayers

Writer, researcher, freelance music journalist and Visiting Professor at Manhattan College, Michael D. Ayers has assembled several international experts with impressive credentials who explore the recent phenomenon of the Internet music revolution, wherein there has been a convergence between artists, capitalism, fans, media, technology, and music itself. The result is an excellent compilation of essays featured in Cybersounds: Essays on Virtual Music Culture that present an insightful analysis of topics that up to now were lacking in technical sophistication in their discussions.

In bringing together these experts, these contributors have done a remarkable job in breaking down into their basic components such hot- button issues as the legal challenges that surround music and the Internet; the birth and evolution of cyber communities; how technology is used to frustrate corporate interests; questions about transformation and how cyberspace has affected the way we appreciate music from a passive to an active role; the question of power and regulation, for as Ayers states, "music in the on-line world has pushed the envelope;" the emergence of the Apple's iPod; how bands use their websites in branding themselves and how fans interact; how music and on-line activism have come together; how fans challenge the recording industry and trade their own home made recordings of live concerts; how artists and DJs work together over large geographical spaces to create new kinds of music, and also how new technology as digital recordings in cyberspace allow for new creativity; the effects of bootleg trading and peer to peer file trading, as well as the restructuring of the patterns of music distribution and consumption.

These are only a sampling of the huge territory that this book covers and as Jonathan Sterne, one of the contributors asserts, "Cybersounds offers us an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on music on the Internet and the state of scholarship about music on the Internet."

In an academically grounded but for the most part informal presentations, this is a remarkable collection of essays that break new ground in educating readers on the convergence of cyberculture and musicology. Moreover, thanks to these contributors the door has now been opened where the study of these two disciplines has been greatly advanced.

Reviewer: Norm Goldman, Editor Bookpleasures
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Norm Goldman is the Editor of the book reviewing and author interviewing site, He is also the Editor of the travel site,, where his artist wife, Lily and Norm meld words with art focusing on romantic (more...)
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