Music and digital technology have always played an important role in my life. Over the past decade I have seen the two drastically impact each other, providing motivation for my dissertation research and beyond. My book Digital Connectivity and Music Culture – Artists & Accomplices (Palgrave MacMillan) explores how the rise of widely available digital technology impacts the way music is produced, distributed, promoted, and consumed, with a specific focus on the changing relationship between artists and audiences. Through in-depth interviewing, focus group interviewing, and discourse analysis, this study demonstrates how digital technology has created a closer, more collaborative, fluid, and multidimensional relationship between artist and audience. Artists and audiences are simultaneously engaged with music through technology – and technology through music – while negotiating personal and social aspects of their musical lives. In light of consistent, active engagement, rising co-production, and collaborative community experience, this book argues we might better think of the audience as accomplices to
“Exemplary blend of theory and field research – This book expertly addresses the crucial issues facing the producers and consumers of music in the digital era. It re-considers important classic theoretical texts and assesses their relevance by looking at the artist’s work in the social media landscape and through the use of focus groups to consider how the “digital audience” is connecting to their favorite artists. It also considers the challenges both musicians and fans face in a digitized economy where information appears to flow freely and yet the piper must still be paid.”
“Insightful Look at the Cultural Context of Music Production in the Digital Era – Through the useful lens of “accomplice”, Ray examines interaction between artists and their collaborators and how that relationship shapes the consumption and production of music in the digital age. The author includes a very thorough case study of one musician’s effective audience engagement practices, and this chapter is a standout for its thorough and precise methodology that would be of particular interest to any qualitative researchers or students of media.”
My recent research explores gender representation in contemporary popular music journalism surrounding #MeToo. Using discourse analysis and in-depth interviewing, my work takes an intersectional approach to breaking down not only the duality of the gender binary but also the duality of technology as good or bad. I have presented pieces of this work at the Northeast Popular & American Culture Association, the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association, and the national Popular Culture Association.
The Adolescentia Project, my current focus, is a two-part digital and print project that explores musical identity, culture, and nostalgia by collecting and archiving reflections on albums that meant the world to people when they were fourteen years old. More on The Adolescentia Project can be found here and here.