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Playing to the CrowdMusicians, Audiences, and the Intimate Work of Connection$
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Nancy K. Baym

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479896165

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479896165.001.0001

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Participatory Boundaries

Participatory Boundaries

(p.105) 4 Participatory Boundaries
Playing to the Crowd

Nancy K. Baym

NYU Press

How do musicians deal with audiences who are organized into gift cultures online? This chapter explores the tensions they experience between wanting and needing to control audiences and recognizing music’s value as a participatory experience. It identifies three strategies of control (territorializing through fan clubs and contests, invoking intellectual property law, and datafying with big data) and two strategies of participation (accepting autonomy and letting them help through fan labor practices like fan funding and promotion). It identifies the challenges with both control and participation, arguing that in a market context, musicians cannot give themselves over fully to participation.

Keywords:   gift culture, control, participation, fan clubs, intellectual property, big data, fan funding, fan labor

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