I have a longer post which I will put up later, but for now I thought I would leave you with this since it doesn’t fit in with my other post.
In Media Ecologies, Fuller writes: “The MP3 file format, which has achieved such mass usage as a means of circulating tracks via the Internet, is designed simply to match the included middle of the audio spectrum audible to the human ear. Thus, it obliterates the range of musics designed to be heard with the remainder of the body via bass. This is not simply a white technological cleansing of black music but the configuration of organs, a call to order for the gut, the arse, to stop vibrating and leave the serious work of signal processing to the head” (40-41).
This immediately made me think of Jay-Z’s song “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” which begins: “You’re now tuned into the m—-f—- greatest / Turn the music up in the headphones.” This is clearly not an instance of “white technological cleansing of black music,” but an acknowledgment by artists that the method of listening to their music has changed. The music hasn’t been cleansed, it’s evolved in order to become a part of the insular world created by MP3 players. Nevermind the fact that some DJ’s (and many a dorm room party) use their computers to play MP3s, which once again allows listeners to use senses other than hearing to experience the music played. The music itself signals a life outside the MP3 player – think of Fifty Cent’s “In Da Club,” which presents a double articulation: he describes his experience in the club while knowing that the song will also be played in clubs . . . perhaps in MP3 format.