The professional groups of sound, lighting and event technology are not the focus of music research – and even less so are the women who work in these professions. This results in a narrative of marginality and headlines like “There Are So Few Women In Music Production, No One Bothers To Count” (Huffington Post, 2016). Such statements and media portrayals lead to the fact that everyday experiences, professional aspirations, as well as successes and defeats of women in these professions, remain invisible and the hegemonic myth of a male profession continues to exist. Due to the naturalisation of women and their bodies, there is a social discrepancy between the perception and reality of female skills in technical professions.
A bachelor thesis on this topic is now available in the ‘Research’ section:
Nicht im Spotlight, Nicht auf der Bühne – Die Konstruktion des Habitus von Frauen in den technischen Berufen der Musikindustrie (2019)
by Annika Hachmeister
Annika Hachmeister takes on this topic and can give an insight into the self-conception and self-awareness of women from this professional group through interviews with experts. With recourse to the habitus concept according to Bourdieu, an important goal of the work is to examine and understand the everyday life of the women interviewed in terms of economic factors, social interactions and also the experience of power.
Other current bachelor and master theses are represented with the following focal points and in the ‘Research’ section, current scientific work are available for viewing and downloading: Postcolonial perspectives on music trends, streaming and curated playlists, the effects of the restructuring of music on the net and sound design in the e-automotive industry.
Who or what curates the playlists for streaming services such as Spotify and what criteria play a role? In his master thesis, Matthias Lund (2019) examines the mechanisms, intentions and effects for the composition of playlists in Spotify. “Since the music offering within the streaming services is not manageable for the individual, filtering mechanisms become necessary. The conditions of their design, however, remain almost hidden from the listeners: whether an algorithm or human curators are responsible for the music selection, whether economic or cultural decisions are behind the selected (and thus excluded) music is hardly recognizable in everyday use and takes a back seat to the graphic title lists of the playlists. … Consequently, a field is opened up around playlists between the necessity of curating in the sense of usability and the cryptic black box of those factors that shape this very offer.
Link to the work:Die ganze Welt der Musik? Kuratierte Playlists als Zugang zu Musik bei Streamingdiensten (2019)
Frieder Behrens (2019) is concerned with the hype surrounding the album ‘Obaa Sima’ by Ghanaian-born Yaw Atta-Owusu aka Ata Kak. His album was initially to go unnoticed after its release (1994) until the American Brian Shimkovitz digitized a copy of the cassette-released album and made it available to the online community on his blog ‘Awesome Tapes From Africa‘ in 2006. “From the author’s subjective perspective, Brian Shimkovitz’s project fits into a trend that is expressed in a growing interest in music from formerly colonized countries. Under names like ‘Analog Africa’, ‘Sahel Sounds’, ‘Mr. Bongo’ or ‘Habibi Funk’, to name but a few, Europeans or Americans are publishing early music by predominantly African artists. It is obvious that this raises postcolonial questions. It is in this sense that the relevance of this work should be understood by critically discussing the phenomenon using Ata Kak and Awesome Tapes From Africa as examples.
Link to the work: Awesome Tapes From Afrika. Eine postkoloniale TRX-Analyse des Reissues von Ata Kaks "Obaa Sima" (2019)
Lukas Iden (2018) discusses whether the arrangement of musical genres in the genre map Every Noise At Once reproduces existing topophilic patterns or, on the contrary, breaks them up and, under the sign of a new, location-independent logic for the organization and structure of popular music. “In comparison to the ethnomusicological order, it should become clear to what extent music in digital networks is structured differently and, above all, how these potential new and different orders affect the topophilia of the agents of popular music and the associated postcolonial structures and cultural essentialisms in music. Do these restructurings even have the potential to decolonize music, or is it the reproduction of a frozen Eurocentric view of music?
Link to the work: (Un-)Mapping Music. Die Kartierung populärer Musik zwischen EthnoLogik und Algorithmik (2018)
Fully electric vehicles are no longer niche products. Many well-known manufacturers from the automotive industry are currently presenting the first models and series of electric cars as an alternative to vehicles with conventional combustion engines. However, electric motors have the characteristic of being almost silent. This is a problem because “in many situations they can be overheard and thus pose a risk of accidents. […] An EU regulation, which came into force in July 2019, solves the problem of silence in electric cars with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). This system generates an artificial engine sound so that the vehicle is acoustically perceptible to other road users. The development and design of this exterior sound in accordance with EU regulations is a task and challenge for the industry. Alex Krause (2019) examines “what strategy manufacturers are using to implement the task of designing a synthetic sound for a car” and to what extent the sonic properties of the combustion engine still play a role in this process. It also predicts what the soundscape might sound like in a future city where mainly electric cars will be on the streets.
Link to the work: Funktionale Klänge im Straßenverkehr – die synthetische Klangerzeugung beim Elektroauto (2019)