Citizen archiving and virtual sites of musical memory in online communities

Authored by: Jez Collins

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138237636
eBook ISBN: 9781315299310
Adobe ISBN:


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In the last decade the modes of production and consumption of popular music and its heritage have shifted considerably from analogue to digital. Websites relating to cultural heritage, community archives and everyday histories have proliferated online, democratising our understanding, approach and access to traditional history and archive collections across a wide range of subjects and topics. This chapter explores the role of citizen archivists in creating, populating and sustaining the hundreds, perhaps thousands of sites and communities dedicated to popular music heritage and to salvaging the material objects (Leonard 2007) and culture of popular music’s past. These practices have been called ‘DIY preservation’, but I suggest in the online environment these practices belong to a ‘doing-it-together’ approach to popular music heritage. In this chapter I highlight the practices, opportunities and challenges faced by a number of online platforms and social media sites created by citizen archivists who employ crowd-sourcing methodologies in order to capture prodigious amounts of materials and user-generated musical memories that document and reveal alternate histories of popular music and the role music plays in the everyday lives of individuals and communities.

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