Soundfile. Kultur und Ästhetik einer Hörtechnologie
In the last years the practices of listening to popular music as well as its modes of production and distribution transformed in relation to apps, online services and gadgets. In the article I explore the concept »soundfile“ as an aesthetic and cultural form which correlates with specific practices and techniques of music listening. The dynamics which constitute soundfile listening I describe in four parts: I start with a conceptual description of the plenitude of recorded and produced music which the soundfile listener can access (I. The Standing Reserve of Music). Afterwards I present techniques of combining through which the soundfile listener can select particular pieces of music and connect them with each other (II. Playlists). Therefore I present modulations of the sound of music by the listener as well as by listening technologies (III. Compression and Tuning). Finally I explain selected aspects of the relationship between so-called »social media« and the soundfile listener (IV. Music as »Social« Event). I show in the article that soundfile listening can be defined as follows: Soundfile listening is rather accessing the standing reserve of music which becomes available through the internet than individual collections of music. Soundfile listening is organized rather by playlists than by extensive musical dramaturgies – like they are offered by »concept albums« or »musical masterworks«. Soundfile listening enhances and transforms the sound of music and constitutes technized music listening as a »social« event. In the article I use popular music – a form of music whose development is bound to media technologies – as a subject to make soundfile listening distinguishable at a theoretical and terminological level from other forms of technized listening like record listening or CD listening.