Piracy Cultures| The Network Studio Revisited: Becoming an Artist in the Age of "Piracy Cultures"

Hendrik Storstein Spilker


The article takes Theberge’s (2004) notion of “the Network Studio” and Latour’s (2005) notion of “reassembling/disassembling” as a point of departure to investigate the development of home recording and home distribution practices among semi-professional musicians. The central research questions concerns whether these new practices are used to sidestep the traditional career patterns of the music industry. In other words, do they add up to “piracy cultures” (Cardoso & Castells, 2010) that challenge and threaten established social orders? The study reveals how the rise of the networked home studio has altered the the initial phases of the processes of music making in important ways. However, the musicians did not perceive the new practices of the home studio as a substitute for professional studios and traditional ways of making a career, but rather as a preparation. The study suggests that the developing practices of the home studio should be understood as the formation of “pre-distribution networks”—not actually side stepping, but eventually leading into the professional network of the music industry. Thus, the suspected piracy is still looming at best.

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