The Music Professional in the Digital Environment
Local conference within the framework of the EU DMET project (invited speaker)

Institute for Research on Music and Acoustics (IEMA)
Department of Communication, Media and Culture of the Panteion University of Athens
Athens, December 19-20, 2008.



The impact of the internet and the new digital environment on the fields of the music creation, production, dissemination and reception, may be better understood taking into account the ambivalent features of the new medium, the complexities of the music industries as a system, the heterogeneity of the social groups involved (musicians, cultural intermediaries, audiences), as well as the dominant mode of production of symbolic goods in contemporary societies. This paper considers some of the new trends in the social space of music, as results of counterbalancing forces. It also accentuates the necessity for a dispassionate and unbiased analysis and evaluation of the changes observed in musical culture, to understand the transformation of the social roles of the musicians, of the structure, and the social functions of the music industries in general.

While bypassing prevalent stereotypes, avoiding flattening generalizations, and clarifying several social and cultural ramifications of the changes brought about by the digital environment, the paper argues that a better understanding of the current transitions may contribute to maximize the advantages of the new possibilities, extend the scope of the musicians and enhance the horizon for the audiences. It also argues that the needs emerging in the new environment, create another good opportunity - which should not be lost - to reconsider the laissez-faire policy in music, particular for the Greek case.