This research is part of Music PhD thesis looking at the intersection of folk music & folksonomy online.

What is a music folksonomy and how might it be important for folk music? This thesis investigates the emergence of music-related folksonomy on the web 2.0 as a facet of vernacular music culture. A music folksonomy, building upon Thomas Vander Wal’s term folksonomy, refers here to user-made metadata relating to music, such as that found on social media and blogging platforms. Folksonomy is a portmanteau of “folk” and “taxonomy”, a democratic tagging practice, which, gaining traction over the past decade now characterises user-generated components of Internet culture through peer-to-peer interactions. This thesis, conducted at the milestone of one decade for many music websites such as Soundcloud, Spotify, Bandcamp and movements such as #RecordStoreDay, investigates folksonomy as a practice renewing the musical vernacular. The body of this research also considers folksonomy as a contributing factor in the move towards experience-based economy in the music industry at current.

Systems of folksonomy emergent on the dynamic web have been likened to pre-literate vernacular or folk culture (see Thompson, 2011). The depth of such observations has largely been contained to metaphors or analogies, but what if it was considered seriously within online music spaces? I sustain that music folksonomy is a vernacular practice conducted in the current hybrid-vernacular (Howard, 2008), online landscape, where boundaries are blurred between the vernacular, institutional, and commercial. Through my fieldwork and use of big data analytics, I show that music user-creators make and practice folksonomy with a set of intuitive tools, allowing for “folk” music to be reinvented in digital environments. Throughout chapters I addresses ethics, aesthetics, user wayfinding, material culture, collecting, and cultural citizenship. Music folksonomy draws attention to concerns of information overload and connection in the digital era.

At roughly a decade into the dynamic-dominant web and towards an increasingly networked world (IoT): What does being part of a hybrid-vernacular music industry look like (or sound like)? How do music user/creators negotiate and wayfind in a cloud-based music world using folksonomy? Within the musical vernacular, how do humans interact with music data and organisational algorithms? How do music folksonomies contribute to a musical vernacular?



Music Fanatic & Researcher: Amelia Anna Besseny


Email: amelia.besseny@uon.edu.au


Supervision: Helen English, Richard Vella & Nathan Scott

(With supervision from Catherine Grant  during 2014-2015)

University of Newcastle, Australia

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