Contesting the digital economy and culture: digital technologies and the transformation of popular music in Korea
Abstract This paper examines the changes brought by digital technologies in the cultural economy of music in Korea. First, I look at how digital technologies forced the reorganization of the music industry. The dominant technological mediation of the 'idol star system' in the late 1990s gave way to industrial reorganization toward concentration and integration across the information and communications technologies (ICTs) industries and the media/entertainment industries. Second, I discuss how digital technologies impact on the way we experience music. I suggest that digital technologies accelerate personal and social uses of music and contribute to a diversified music culture. Finally, I discuss how the digital culture of music is framed by, and is linked with the industrial rearrangement. I suggest that the ongoing digitalization radically transforms how we conceive the music industry, and renders the nature of music redefined and contested.
Keywords: digital economy and culture; popular music; Korean music industry; intermediation; social networking services; media technology
Jung-yup Lee is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA. His research interests include the cultural economy of digital technologies, creative industries policy, and production/consumption of popular music. He is writing his dissertation focusing on the shifting relation between culture and economy with regard to transnationalism and digital technologies.