28 April 2023 will be the twentieth anniversary of the iTunes Music Store – a monumental event in the history of digital audio that changed the world forever but now seems all but forgotten.
On this day, the Museum of Portable Sound will hold a day-long online symposium about the history and legacy of MP3 stores, and that of the MP3 itself.
We are particularly interested in proposals from thinkers, scholars and artists based in or hailing from nations in the Global South.
Some of the questions we hope the symposium will ask:
• Why did we all give up on MP3s so quickly? Was it simply because they sounded a bit crap? Had we all just become too lazy to organise our own data? Or was there something deeper, something more culturally significant involved?
• Were MP3s ever really better for the environment than CDs, records and cassettes?
• What was the worldwide experience of the MP3 era? Are there any parts of the world where MP3 stores still play a major role in the local audio industry?
• Has the iPod – and other portable MP3 players – died out for good? Could they ever experience a resurgence similar to the so-called ‘vinyl revival’?
• How did selling MP3 files change the way we thought about recorded sound?
• How has podcasting impacted upon the global use of radio?
• How has the science of psychoacoustics in relation to digital audio advanced since the MP3 era?
• What is the legacy of the MP3? Of the iPod? Of the MP3 store?
We are seeking proposals for presentations, academic papers, audio papers, and essay films which think through the above and related ideas.
Notes on Creative Proposals:
While creative proposals are most certainly encouraged, we are not interested in remixes, curated playlists, or exclusively musical projects.
We’d like to challenge artists to think beyond music, to create conceptual, interactive, or performance projects about MP3s and/or MP3 Stores that aren’t just music or musical.
Can you say something about MP3s or MP3 culture without making music? Can you make a creative work that thinks through the concept of MP3 files, MP3 compression, MP3 commerce, without expressing yourself through conventional or experimental music?
Think of this ‘no music’ rule as a challenge rather than a limitation. How can you push yourself and your work into an unexpected direction?
(Also, please do not write a proposal that sounds like it’s not music and then pull a switcheroo when it comes time to deliver the work.)
All Proposals should:
• be submitted no later than 30 September 2022
• be in the form of an abstract, maximum 250 words, and include a title.
• be accompanied by a brief (100 words or less) biography of the author.
• include links to relevant online materials
• be EMAILED to museumofportablesound[AT]gmail.com
If you have any questions, please email us at the address above or get in touch via our Contact Form.
Please feel free to distribute this call freely among your colleagues and networks.
We look forward to meeting you online next year on 28 April!