Mp3s Are My Salesman
1. Please summarize your project and describe how it fits into the project area you’ve designated (300 words max):
Mp3s Are My Salesman is an investigation into music blogs written by people who make available to online users tracks from long out of print vinyl and cassettes, ranging from 1970s Thai and African pop, to new age soundscapes*. The investigation will be centered on the motivations that drive the authors of blogs to spend a great deal of time digitizing their analog music archives and making them publicly available.
Mp3s Are My Salesman will depart from the premise that these blogs create the conditions for the "original" record and cassette to become a collectors' item. According to such hypothesis these objects' digital incarnations, circulating freely online, become promoters, whose aim is to increase the originals' market value. Worthless mp3s become the salesmen of the "original" obsolete media of music distribution. The investigation will assess the validity of such statement and shade light on other motivations behind these online activities. The work will be conducted through attentively observation of blogs, interviews with its owners and users, and exploration of the meaning of the original in this particular context.
I believe that investigating this particular phenomena will not only bring an insight into it, but foster discussion on our positions towards the digital. Hopefully clarifying why while we wish to freely access mp3s, movie's mp4s, e-books, we still desire the physical object, the rare vinyl record or the beautiful hardcover book. What is it that makes a mass-produced object claim the status of original, while its digital counterpart is seen as an infinitely reproducible replica?
The project final form will be presented a podcast (sound essay) weaving together narrated parts of text with examples of music found on the blogs.