Music Generations in the Digital Age
Music Generations in the Digital Age
Social Practices of Listening and Idols in Japan
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Table of Contents
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Introduction: Listening, music, generations
Chapter 1: Audiences and Musics
Chapter 2: Listening and Listeners
Chapter 3: The Lost and the Relaxed
Chapter 4: Participation and proximity
Chapter 5: Idols and Virtual idols
Conclusion: Music generations in the digital age
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Reviews and Features

“Music is so often the unthinking backdrop to our lives: ‘Music generations in the digital age’ spotlights our everyday music practices, elegantly uncovering the intertwined meanings, emotions and identities that music listening brings into being, and revealing the deeper implications for audience agency, digital media power, and generational change.”
Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics and Political Science

“Approaching the elusive and intimate sphere of music listening practices through the lens of an ethnographic study of different generations of music listeners in contemporary Japan, Zaborowski’s Music generations in the digital age provides an example of Cultural Studies at its very best. His engagement with what happens for and with listeners who share and hold close music or participate and perform karaoke is underpinned by a profound and insightful theorisation of generation, emotion and audience.”
Shakuntala Banaji, London School of Economics and Political Science

"Music Generations in the Digital Age combines audience studies with music studies to produce a fine-grained analysis of generations dubbed ‘the lost’ and ‘the relaxed’ in Japan. Highlighting intergenerational music consumption, yet showing that music and artists can have very different generational meanings, Zaborowski develops a new approach to music’s ‘circuit of culture’. Exploring parasocial relations and the fans of virtual idols, this book brilliantly documents how music generations produce pop’s sometimes surprising and always salient meanings. Listen to Rafal Zaborowski — you’ll think about music, culture and generational identities in a whole new way after reading this superb study."
Matt Hills, University of Huddersfield

"The difficulty of making sense of music’s powerful individual meanings within their social context has meant music audiences have been neglected, and Japanese music audiences doubly so. Rafal Zaborowski’s book represents a huge step forward in our understanding of contemporary Japan’s music cultures, with subtle reflections too on intergenerational relations and celebrity culture – a remarkable achievement."
Nick Couldry, author of 'Inside Culture and Why Voice Matters'

"Music Generations in the Digital Age constitutes a unique and valuable contribution to the fields of popular music studies, Japanese studies, media studies, and Japan-centered ethnomusicology."
Chris Tonelli, University of Groningen

Rafal Zaborowski

Music Generations in the Digital Age

Social Practices of Listening and Idols in Japan

What do we do when we listen? The act of engagement with music in everyday life may seem simple on the surface but participation, interpretation, circulation and cultural production in the digital age are more complex and entangled than ever before. It is especially so in Japan, with its vast multimedia idol and vocaloid industries. This unique ethnographic work at the intersection of cultural, media and music studies covers a wide spectrum of music-related activities embedded in the daily lives of two Japanese cohorts. The varied case studies, including teen idol groups and virtual idols, aid the detailed examination of the relation between music, generation, and society.

Rafal Zaborowski

Rafal Zaborowski is Lecturer in Digital Culture at King’s College London. In his research, Rafal investigates the intersections of media audiences, texts and producers, focusing on the role played by media in people's everyday lives. Rafal has also published on issues of voice and media framing of crises as well as new forms of televised manipulation. Rafal has served as an expert on mediation of migration for numerous European bodies and frequently discussed issues of media representation, democracy and participation in international media. Rafal holds a PhD in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science, an MA in Media and Cultural Studies from Tohoku University, and a BA in Sociology from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan.