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Music, value, and networks in the digital world

Allington, Daniel; Jordanous, Anna; Dueck, Byron

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Daniel Allington

Anna Jordanous

Byron Dueck



In music as in life, nothing is more important than people. Professional music-makers need audiences, and to reach those audiences, they need the support of many other people, from promoters and agents to fans who will rave about them to their friends. And artists of all kinds need contact with fellow artists: to inspire them, to collaborate with them, to compete with them, and simply to acknowledge them as peers. In isolation from people who value the music you value, it’s hard to know how good you are, or how to take your work to the next level.

As a recent report on the music industry put it, ‘talent... cannot exist unless it is recognised by others in a network.’ The Valuing Electronic Music project is an attempt to find out how this process of recognition happens in the digital age. We collected data on millions of user accounts on the SoundCloud website, focusing in particular on a random sample of 150 000. We also spoke to a range of people involved in London-based electronic music scenes (electronic music, followed by hip hop, being the kinds of music that are most represented on SoundCloud). Then we organised a public discussion between three electronic music-makers and an expert on electronic dance music, and interviewed writers, musicians, and promoters at the Convergence festival in London.

These discussions enabled us to focus on the value of different kinds of relationships between music-makers and promoters, DJs, and other people involved in electronic music: for example, we found that music-makers may treat responses from live audiences and from well-informed listeners (including other music-makers) as more valuable than anonymous ‘clicks’ on a website. As we will discuss below, they may have good reasons for this preference, because people who are involved in a scene may be able to add more value to their music than people who are not, and websites such as SoundCloud may be more effective for cementing relationships with local audiences than for growing an international fanbase. You can listen in on some of the conversations we had via our website (

(Allington, Jordanous, and Dueck, 2015: 1)


Allington, D., Jordanous, A., & Dueck, B. (2015). Music, value, and networks in the digital world

Report Type Project Report
Acceptance Date Dec 15, 2015
Publication Date Dec 15, 2015
Deposit Date Jan 19, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 26, 2016
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords cultural value, electronic dance music, ethnography, social network analysis
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