Digital Culture between Distribution and Remix

Peter Krapp, Gustavo Fischer


In digital culture, we recognize new delivery options for media (audio, films, games, texts) – not only a new storage paradigm, but a transition to interactivity with proliferating screens of all sizes. These networks of transmission and circulation (including but not limited to UseNet or BitTorrent, iTunes or Tidal, Napster or Pandora, YouTube or Vimeo, SnapChat or Vine, Hulu or Netflix, Aereo or FilmOn, Steam or, Twitch or TikTok, to name but a few) challenge some fundamental precepts of the media industries, and produce new configurations of information and entertainment. Even a casual survey of digital distribution reveals that online content delivery means different things for audiovisual content in a variety of formats, and the consequences need to be discussed from the perspective of consumers, distributors, and creators. What we still call newspapers, television programs, books, films, music albums, games, etc. became increasingly available not only on physical data carriers but as streaming or downloadable data. This shift is not only overriding physical media (what used to come on paper/tape/floppy/cartridge/vinyl/CD/DVD/BluRay, etc.), it means we need to reformulate certain questions that used to be medium-specific: what will happen to retro-gaming? What are the rights of used-book owners? Digital distribution has multiple consequences for just what exactly becomes available how and to whom.


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