From the earliest days of networked computing, music fans were there, shaping the technologies and cultures that emerged online. By the time musicians and industry figures realized they could use the internet to reach audiences directly, those audiences had already established their presences and social norms online, putting them in unprecedented positions of power. Even widely-hailed innovators like David Bowie, Prince, and Trent Reznor were late to the game. This talk traces the intertwined histories of music fandom and online culture, unpacking the fundamental disruption and its broader implications for interacting with audiences.
Nancy Baym is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a Research Affiliate in CMS/W at MIT. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Illinois in 1994 and joined Microsoft in 2012 after 18 years as a Communication professor. She is the author of Personal Connections in the Digital Age (Polity Press), now in its second edition, Tune In, Log On: Soaps, Fandom and Online Community (Sage Press), and co-editor of Internet Inquiry: Conversations About Method (Sage Press) with Annette Markham. Her bookPlaying to the Crowd: Musicians, Audiences, and the Intimate Work of Connection will be published in July by NYU Press. More information, most of her articles, and some of her talks are available at nancybaym.com.