- Paul A. Aitken
The inter-connection of personal and institutional computers and computer networks known as “the Internet” forms the backbone of much contemporary digital communications. The World Wide Web (WWW)—the linked collection of various digital texts, images, audio, and video, accessible via a web browser—has become a primary means for the promotion, production, distribution, consumption of music. The WWW is also an important forum for discourse about music. Since the rise of Internet Communication Technologies (ICTs) novel practices have emerged, such as widespread sharing of amateur and user-created music-related content (and corollary attempts by incumbent and existing media companies to generate profit from such activity). Additionally, musical practices that predate the Internet have been magnified and intensified, such as sharing music without regard for profit, word-of-mouth promotion, and the commodification of ancillary merchandise.
Websites, essentially linked digital documents that often contain text, images, audio, and increasingly video, have become fundamental to the promotional strategies of most musicians. Websites are typically used in combination with traditional forms of broadcast and print media. In the early years of the WWW artist websites were largely text-based with few images. They contained biographical and discographical information, appearance schedules, and discussion forums through which fans and artists could communicate with and among each other. As of ...