[UPDATE] SCMS 2015: Historicizing Music and Transmedia

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Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference 2015
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From the evolution of digital formats to apps that identify songs in public spaces to YouTube’s replacement of MTV as the prime carrier of mainstream music videos, the many sites of commercial music have perhaps never been so variegated and diffuse. Piracy, streaming services, and major industrial shifts in the production, promotion and selling of music have contributed to a new musical economy that seems at all turns to be defying norms and upending hallowed rules.

Yet our assessment of these recent changes runs the risk of assuming a relatively stable history in the formatting and economic design of commercial music that preceded them. This panel seeks papers that investigate the terms, stakes, and revelations of music’s overlooked transmedia histories, from music’s correspondences with cinema and television to its remediation for various formats to its travel through numerous sites both public and private. What histories and practices are essential to understanding music’s role in contributing to, determining, and shaping media sites, objects, and forms? How can prior developments in musical aesthetics and technology complicate and enrich our understanding of music’s diverse permutations within and through media? How has the transmedia travel of music revealed the liminal spaces between “discrete” media? To what degree are “music” and “media” even distinguishable?

This panel places music history within the central question of transmedia: how can the movement of musical texts, expressions, and ideas between media complicate the distinctions that supposedly divide media forms? I welcome proposals on topics that offer critical assessments and compelling case studies for developing our understanding and challenging our assumptions of medium specificity, hierarchies, and flows. Paper topics need not be isolated to commercial music, and papers that assess the operations of identity in transmedia music history (i.e., the shifting role of the musician, the subject positions of the consumer, reception practices) are encouraged.

Paper topics can include, but are certainly not limited to:

• Transmedia music stardom
• Music and portable media technologies
• Industrial developments in music commodities
• Music within globalized flows
• Early histories of music recording, reproduction, and commercial use
• The economies and aesthetics of music videos
• Issues of archiving, preservation and format transfer
• Music and video art, or collage music
• Noncommercial or anti-commercial music in the transmedia context
• Issues regarding licensing, copyright, creative commons, and/or the public domain
• Comparative assessments of analog and digital reproduction technologies
• Fan poaching, remix culture, or other reception practices

Please send an abstract (300 words maximum), a 2-3 sentence bio, and at least 3 citations for your research as an e-mail attachment (Word documents, please) to laapalm@indiana.edu by August 5th. Notifications about acceptance or rejection of proposals will be sent by August 8th.

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