Dr. Brian Hracs guest lecturer at seminar on music curation in cities

Music Talks, the Department of Arts and Culture Studies and Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture will be hosting a guest lecture by Dr. Brian Hracs (University of Southampton) on music and curation in cities.

‘Spotify is killing us!’: Examining the resilience of independent record shops in the digital age

As digital technologies democratise the tools of cultural production and create new channels of global promotion and distribution, cultural producers face intense competition to ‘stand out’ in the crowd. In the music industry, where iTunes offers over 30 millions songs, this pressure is particularly acute and geographers have examined the strategies that music producers at different scales use to generate distinction, value and loyalty. Yet it is equally important to consider how consumers find, evaluate, and select specific products from a sea of alternatives. To date, the people who help to make these choices, the interactions between curators and consumers and the physical and virtual spaces where advice is created and distributed remain poorly understood. This presentation will draw on findings from interviews and observation in independent record shops in Stockholm to explore these processes. As firms like Apple, Amazon and Spotify push the boundaries of e-commerce by using customer tracking data to make personalised recommendations and offering home delivery or instantaneous streaming to mobile devices, it will consider why consumers are still willing to patronise bricks-and-mortar shops. In so doing, it will identify different sources of value, including face-to-face curation, that make some local record shops attractive and resilient spaces in an age of digital distribution and on-demand consumption.

Short bio

Brian J. Hracs is a lecturer at the School of Geography and Environment at the University of Southampton, UK. He has also worked in Sweden at Uppsala University (2011-2014) and the University of Toronto (2009-2011) in Canada. Brian is interested in how digital technologies and global competition are reshaping the creative economy. He has published articles about creative cities, the linkages between music and fashion, the rise of ‘curation’ and the factors that motivate 'talent' to move within and between cities. Brian has given over 70 invited lectures and presentations and organised 9 international conferences including ‘Experience the Creative Economy’ held in Toronto and ‘The European Colloquium on Culture, Creativity and Economy’ held in cities including Amsterdam, Berlin and Florence. He is currently conducting research on curation in the music industry and co-editing a book entitled ‘The Production and Consumption of Music in the Digital Age’ for Routledge.

Practical information

Host: Music Talks, the Department of Arts and Culture Studies (ESHCC) and Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC) Venue: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Theil C2-2 (room subject to change)
Date: 10 November 2015 from 15:30 – 16:30 hours
Organizers: Dr. Mariangela Lavanga & Janna Michael MA Information: Lavanga@eshcc.eur.nl