Our day-to-day musical enjoyment seems so simple, so easy, so automatic. Songs instantly emanate from our computers and phones, at any time of day. The tools for playing and making music, such as records and guitars, wait for us in stores, ready for purchase and use. And when we no longer need them, we can leave them at the curb, where they disappear effortlessly and without a trace. These casual engagements often conceal the complex infrastructures that make our musical cultures possible.
Audible Infrastructures takes readers to the sawmills, mineshafts, power grids, telecoms networks, transport systems, and junk piles that seem peripheral to musical culture and shows that they are actually pivotal to what music is, how it works, and why it matters. Organized into three parts dedicated to the main phases in the social life and death of musical commodities - resources and production, circulation and transmission, failure and waste - this book provides a concerted archaeology of music's media infrastructures. As contributors reveal the material-environmental realities and political-economic conditions of music and listening, they open our eyes to the hidden dimensions of how music is made, delivered, and disposed of. In rethinking our responsibilities as musicians and listeners, this book calls for nothing less than a reconsideration of how music comes to sound.