This book explores the fundamental contradiction at the heart of the digital environment: technology offers all manner of promises, yet habitually fails to deliver. This failure often arises from numerous problems: the proficiency of the technology or end-user, policy failure at various levels, or a combination of these. Solutions such as better technology and more effective end-user education are often put into place to solve these failures.
Mike Healy argues that such approaches are inherently faulty drawing upon qualitative research informed by Marx’s theory of alienation. Using Marx’s theory, he considers participants in three distinct settings: the workplace of information and communications technology (ICT) professionals; university scholars researching the ethical and societal implications of our digital environment; and a group of pensioners living in South London, UK, undertaking ICT training. By delving beneath the surface of how digital technologies are created, researched and experienced, this study illustrates the contradictory nature of our digital lives, as they directly arise from the needs of capitalism.
The book also places Marx’s theory in contrast to the mainstream approaches derived from Seaman and Blauner. In researching and comprehending ICT, this book reaffirms the superior explanatory power of Marx’s theory of alienation.Book Details
Grant Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit): ‘This book should be mandatory reading for every label, booking agent, manager and tour manager in the business of music and touring so we can all better understand what’s really involved in living the life of a professional musician and the role we all have in making that life as liveable as possible’
Tim Shiel (Double J/Triple J Radio, Australia): ‘The most important book I’ve ever read about music’
‘An eye-opening must read’ ****
Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays): ‘Holding on to your mental health in this pressured environment is so important and at times so very difficult, I know that all too well. This book lays bare what it is like to live for your music and how it can feel to be a musician today’
The Wire magazine: ‘Poses uncomfortable questions…[and] sheds light on complex issues with compelling thoroughness’
‘Musicians often pay a high price for sharing their art with us. Underneath the glow of success can often lie loneliness and exhaustion, not to mention the basic struggles of paying the rent or buying food. Sally-Anne Gross and George Musgrave raise important questions – and we need to listen to what the musicians have to tell us about their working conditions and their mental health’
Crispin Hunt (Multi-Platinum Songwriter/Record Producer & Chair of the Ivor’s Academy): ‘In this important book, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave investigate the relationship between the well-being music brings to society and the well-being of those who create. It's a much needed reality-check, deglamorising the romantic image of the tortured artist’
Adam Ficek (Psychotherapist [Music and Mind]/BabyShambles): ‘A critical and timely book’
Joe Muggs (DJ, Promoter, Journalist [Guardian, Telegraph, FACT, Mixmag, The Wire]): ‘The best guide to what being a musician, and what "the music industry" actually are that I can remember reading’
Andreea Magdalina (Founder of shesaid.so): ‘This book is extremely important....The pandemic is forcing our industry to reinvent itself, once again, and this book is a call to ensure these new systems are fairer for everyone and that they foster a healthier lifestyle’
It is often assumed that creative people are prone to psychological instability, and that this explains apparent associations between cultural production and mental health problems. In their detailed study of recording and performing artists in the British music industry, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave turn this view on its head.
By listening to how musicians understand and experience their working lives, this book proposes that whilst making music is therapeutic, making a career from music can be traumatic. The authors show how careers based on an all-consuming passion have become more insecure and devalued. Artistic merit and intimate, often painful, self-disclosures are the subject of unremitting scrutiny and data metrics. Personal relationships and social support networks are increasingly bound up with calculative transactions.
Drawing on original empirical research and a wide-ranging survey of scholarship from across the social sciences, their findings will be provocative for future research on mental health, wellbeing and working conditions in the music industries and across the creative economy. Going beyond self-help strategies, they challenge the industry to make transformative structural change. Until then, the book provides an invaluable guide for anyone currently making their career in music, as well as those tasked with training and educating the next generation.Book Details
This new book analyses the strategies, usages and wider implications of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platforms in the culture and communication industries that are reshaping economic, organizational and social logics. Platforms are the object of considerable hype with a growing global presence. Relying on individual contributions coordinated by social media to finance cultural production (and carry out promotional tasks) is a significant shift, especially when supported by morphing public policies, supposedly enhancing cultural diversity and accessibility.
The aim of this book is to propose a critical analysis of these phenomena by questioning what follows from decisions to outsource modes of creation and funding to consumers. Drawing on research carried out within the ‘Collab’ programme backed by the French National Research Agency, the book considers how platforms are used to organize cultural labour and/or to control usages, following a logic of suggestion rather than overt injunction. Four key areas are considered: the history of crowdfunding as a system; whose interests crowdfunding may serve; the implications for digital labour and lastly crowdfunding’s interface with globalization and contemporary capitalism. The book concludes with an assessment of claims that crowdfunding can democratize culture.Book Details
A response is needed to the numerous issues spurred by the expansion of the gig economy, where flexible patterns of employment prevail in contrast to permanent jobs. In this context of the exponential growth of the digital economy and underlying business models the largest nationwide study of its kind into the impact of the working conditions in the UK music industry ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’ has been conducted by MusicTank/University of Westminster.
This research suggests the need to consider the future of work not only from an economic or employment law perspective but from a mental health one too. What are the psychological implications of precarious work and how are factors such as financial instability, the feedback economy and personal relationships reflected in mental health outcomes or connected to the business relationships most musicians and other gig economy participants work under?
Authors Sally-Anne Gross, George Musgrave and Laima Janciute consider which policy measures may help or harm gig economy workers including the taxation of self-employed workers, a universal basic income, education around mental health issues and access to mental health support.Book Details