About Daniel Allington

Lecturer in Digital Media at the University of Leicester

Valuing Electronic Music workshop, 16 May 2014

Attendance at the workshop we organised in May was by invitation only, but the project team’s presentations were video recorded. In this edited version, we explain how and why we have been researching London’s electronic music scene and the valuing of electronic music.

Also available from the Open University podcast site.

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Valuing Electronic Music: a video introduction

Back in June, we held our first public event, with live music performances, talks, and free food. The talks and performances were recorded and soon they will all be available online. We’re starting with Anna’s, Byron’s, and my introduction to the Valuing Electronic Music project as a whole. In this talk, we explain how and why we have been studying the value of electronic music, and reveal a little of what we’ve found out so far.

Also available from the Open University podcast site.

Liquidarity: a talk by Luis-Manuel Garcia

Those who were able to attend our live event at the Lexington on 6 June 2014 were privileged to hear a typically engaging and thought-provoking presentation from leading ethnographer of electronic dance music, Luis-Manuel Garcia. In it, Luis explored what he called the ‘particular form of togetherness that happens at electronic music events’, which he related to the areas investigated by the Valuing Electronic Music project.

Like all the talks and performances of the night, Luis’s presentation was recorded – and now it’s available for view.

Also available from the Open University podcast site.

Networks of Value on SoundCloud: presentation to the Creative Data Club, 23 September 2014

On 23 September 2014, I gave an invited presentation to a meeting of the Creative Data Club, organised by Sound and Music, the national agency for new music. Also speaking were Chris Unitt from One Further, presenting a study on how arts organisations are using Facebook, Jay Short from inition, showcasing 3D-printed visualisations of social media data, Dan Simpson, talking about his crowdsourcing of poetic composition, and shardcore, telling the hilarious and poignant tale of Alex the twitterbot. Here are the slides, plus a few audience responses and livetweets at the end. The text is based on the same handwritten notes that I extemporised from on the day.

Creative_Data_Club_23_Sep_2014
(Photograph by Sound and Music)

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Online networks and the production of value in electronic music: executive summary

On Monday, we submitted a report of our preliminary findings to the AHRC’s Cultural Value Project. Research is still ongoing, and we’re planning an ambitious follow-up study. The report is not available to the public yet – and in any case, the whole thing ran to 69 pages, plus covers etc – but here’s a taster.

Hardcopy of report: Online Networks and the Production of Value in Electronic Music

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The geography of SoundCloud: who’s following whom?

Wanting to find out what was typical SoundCloud behaviour – as opposed to what our case study users were doing – we took a random sample of 150000 SoundCloud accounts earlier this year and downloaded their profile data, plus the profile data of everyone they were following (plus some other stuff, but that’s for another time). One of the things we did with this data was to construct a social network graph showing ‘follow’ relationships at city level: every time our computer program found that a sampled user self-identified with city A followed a user self-identified with city B, it created an ‘arc’ (represented with an arrow) from city A to city B. We then combined all the arcs so that instead of, say, 2000 arcs from city A to city B, there would now be a single arc with a ‘weight’ of 2000. We then imported this data into Gephi, sized the nodes representing cities to reflect the total weight of all the incoming arcs, positioned them with the Force Atlas algorithm, and used the Louvain community detection method to identify ‘clusters’, where a cluster is a group of nodes that are better connected to each other than they are to nodes from outside the group. And here’s the result, with five colours to represent the five clusters.

Cities on SoundCloud: who's listening to whom?

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Photographs from the public event

To remind you of what you experienced – or to taunt you with what you missed – here is a selection of photographs from the Valuing Electronic Music free public event, taken by Jake Davis of HungryVisuals. Wish you’d been there? We wish you’d been there too. Maybe next time!

Free food, free music, free everything!*

Fruit of the Lexington's kitchen

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Exploring genre on SoundCloud, part II

In my previous post on this topic, I introduced a problem – how to understand the work that explicit genre categorisations are made to do by people uploading tracks to the SoundCloud audio-sharing website – and a potential solution – identifying the three categories most frequently used by each individual in a sample and studying regularities in the ways in which pairs of categories tend to pop up within the same group of three. I also presented some partial and preliminary findings in the form of a matrix comparing co-occurrences of the five genre categories most frequently used by people within an initial sample. And I either glossed over or left unmentioned a slew of problems, some of which we’ve been more successful in addressing than others at present (because these are only blog posts, and we haven’t finished the research yet). The biggest problem is the sample itself: the analysis was done on the basis of a snowball sample, when a random sample would be more appropriate. Hence the provisionality of all this. The analysis will be redone soon on the basis of a sample that will enable us to make more robust claims, but in the meantime I wanted to share our thought processes and working methods with the world because – quite apart from anything else – I’m excited about the patterns that are emerging.

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