Are we really in the midst of a paradigm shift in listening to recorded music?

Digital technologies and datafication of music are often represented as the reasons for huge changes. Streaming services such as YouTube and Spotify have made deep catalogues available on mobile devices. A touch or voice instruction triggers playlists for functions and moods – anytime and anywhere. Platforms monitor listening while algorithms shape our music tastes. Users circulate and comment upon their music listening in social media. 

This talk addresses anxieties about ubiquitous music, questions some of the pessimism and hype about new technologies, and emphasises long-term continuities in music listening as much as what’s new. 


Dr Nabeel Zuberi is an Associate Professor in Media and Communication and has researched and written widely on popular music. His publications include Sounds English: Transnational Popular Music (2001) and Black Popular Music in Britain since 1945 (2014). His next book is about music, race and media in the UK and US after 9/11. Nabeel co-hosts the Basement, a weekly music show on Base FM Auckland.

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Last updated: 24 March 2021