Music as Embodied and Social Data

Workshop: 13th ACM Web Science Conference

Call for Papers (deadline 16 April 2021)

Convenors: Thomas Irvine (University of Southampton/Alan Turing Institute), Brona Martin (University of Southampton/University of Kent), Christopher J. Smith (Texas Tech University)

We live in the age of music as commodified data. Any future global history of music will have to come to terms with the profound shifts in the way people create, perform, share and consume music occasioned by the creation of the World Wide Web and the data revolution that accompanied it. The Web has created a platform upon which countless musical “social machines” can flourish. The discipline of Web Science has grown up around this data revolution and seeks to better understand the Web by approaching it from diverse perspectives including (but not limited to) computer science, legal studies, sociology, political science and digital humanities.

Music studies, a diverse collection of disciplines that brings together historians, theorists, ethnographers, sociologists and of course creative practitioners, have been mostly missing in a formal sense from the Web Science project, with some notable exceptions in areas such as the sociology of streaming, Music Information Retrieval and human-computer interaction. This Workshop aims to put the encounter of Web Science and music studies on a firmer footing, by examining what has already been done and exploring new ways forward.

We invite short interventions (15 minutes) from scholars and practitioners of diverse backgrounds with an interest in what datafication means for music and its practices in the broadest sense. Inspired by researchers and artists such as George Lewis, Georgina Born and Kyle Devine, we aim for a broad disciplinary remit that includes scholars who use approaches including (but not limited to) Science and Technology Studies, digital humanities, computer science, information science, music history, music sociology, ethnomusicology, ecocriticism and media archaeology. We warmly welcome proposals for reflections by practicing music creators and technologists, and from early-career researchers of all disciplines.

Indicative topics (not to be seen as limiting!) might include

  • online music-making in the age of Covid-19
  • music, social machines and inclusion
  • music, data and disability studies
  • media archaeologies of music data
  • coloniality, decolonisation and music as data
  • structures of risk and reward in the online streaming economy
  • “distant listening” (music, data and the future of the digital humanities)
  • Music Information Retrieval (MIR) and music data mining in critical, social, legal, ethical and historical perspectives
  • artistic/creative approaches to AI music generation, in particular human/machine co-creation (presentation of creative work welcome!)
  • quantum computing, data and musics of the future
  • deepfake music
  • political ecologies of datafied music (ec0critical approaches to music and data)

The workshop—part of the wholly online WebSci 2021 conference hosted by the University of Southampton—will run in two sessions. The first will include six presentations chosen by the convenors from submissions to this call. The second will be a roundtable involving these speakers and the convenors. The workshop will end with the online premiere performance of Brona Martin’s multimedia composition “Breaking the Chains,” which was developed as part of the Alan Turing Institute Pilot Fellowship project “Jazz as Social Machine” led by Thomas Irvine.

Please send an abstract (300 words) with “WebSci2021 Music” in the subject line to tairvine at soton dot ac dot uk by 16 April 2020. The workshop, held in English, will be scheduled to enable participation from as many time zones as possible. As was the case at WebSci 2020, the organisers intend that participation costs will be kept low. For more information see the conference website.

WebSci21 offers the possibility to include workshop papers as a companion collection of the ACM WebSci21 proceedings. If your paper is accepted to the workshop and you wish have your work published this way, you will need to adhere to the schedule for the publication of the overall proceedings, i.e., full papers will need to be submitted by 23 April 2021 and camera-ready papers by 17 May 2021. This is a strict deadline, and we will not be able to include any papers not received by this date. For information, including format requirements, see the conference website.