Journal Article

Re-presencing, re-containing, re-materializing music



In certain ways, music is now immaterial(ized). A range of music streaming services distribute signals to us—across space and time—decoded as music by multi-functional devices, such as phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, and smart speakers. Music is no longer bound to certain inscriptions and formats. As such, the question of what these music streaming services actually do has interested several scholars.[1] The underpinning reason being that these services are not just sending pure music to our ears—as we listen to streaming music, there is a concurrent measurement, surveillance, manipulation, and commercialization of the data traffic that now constitutes the core of music mediation. A form of signal logistics—aimed not only at “the timely provision of the right information to the needing actors—human or machine”, but also at optimizing much wider systems of control.[2] At the same time, older music formats are experiencing a revival—a “re-presencing,” “re-containing” or “re-materialization” if you will—making use of physical formats, such as audio cassettes, and vinyl records

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Media Fields, Vol 1, Issue 16.
  • Published:
  • Language:

About the Author

Jörgen Rahm-Skågeby

Rahm-Skågeby is an associate professor (docent) in media studies at Stockholm university. He holds a PhD in informatics geared towards interaction design and Human-Computer Interaction; a BSSc in information and media science (including behavioura... Read more


Rahm-Skågeby, J. (2021). Re-presencing, re-containing, re-materializing music. Media Fields, 1(16). Available at: [Accessed 12 Aug. 2022].