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The purpose of this paper is to produce a critical history of MP3 technology in an effort to show how its stature as the digital music format of choice had nothing to do…
The purpose of this paper is to produce a critical history of MP3 technology in an effort to show how its stature as the digital music format of choice had nothing to do with music or associated industries and that its configuration as a product to be bought and sold was unintended.
The approach is reminiscent of Michel Foucault's critical histories, which sought to problematise our current understanding of existing cultural arrangements by unearthing the conditions that made the production of knowledge and their accompanying artefacts possible.
The paper documents how MP3s emerged by outlining the conditions that made its production viable, showing how before MP3s were profiled as commodities to be bought and sold online, the composite of technologies making up the standard MPEG1‐Layer III were objects of knowledge within the fields of electrical engineering and psychoacoustics, and later a process of compression used mainly by audio broadcasting professionals. The paper concludes by examining MPEG1‐Layer III's reconstitution as MP3: its formal configuration and valuation, first as a license for the broadcasting industry to compress sound and then as a “free‐ware” application distributed online.
The paper problematises the taken for granted status of commodities, in this case, MP3s, as digital music to be bought and sold, by revealing how they emerged. At a more parochial level, it produces a competing history of MP3 technology which until now has not been told.
To help shape a more cohesive research program in marketing and consumer research, this paper presents a systematic effort to integrate current research on consumer…
To help shape a more cohesive research program in marketing and consumer research, this paper presents a systematic effort to integrate current research on consumer empowerment with highly influential theories of power. A conceptual overview of power consisting of three dominant theoretical models is developed onto which is mapped existing consumer empowerment research.
A synthetic review focuses on three perspectives of consumer power: consumer sovereignty, cultural power and discursive power, drawing from sociological, philosophical and economic literature. These models are then applied to consumer research to illuminate research applications and insights.
Research of consumer empowerment has grown significantly over the last decade. Yet, researchers drawing from a variety of intellectual and methodological traditions have generated a multitude of heuristic simplifications and mid‐level theories of power to inform their empirical and conceptual explorations. This review helps clarify consumer empowerment, and offers a useful map for future research.
Researchers in consumer empowerment need to understand the historical development of power, and to contextualize research within conflicting perspectives on empowerment.
The paper makes several contributions: organizes a currently cluttered field of consumer empowerment research, connects consumer and marketing research to high‐level theorizations of power, and outlines specific avenues for future research.
In this paper two online activities are discussed that are becoming increasingly interesting to organisations because they suggest a potential change in the balance of…
In this paper two online activities are discussed that are becoming increasingly interesting to organisations because they suggest a potential change in the balance of power between producers and consumers. The activities are peer‐to‐peer (P2P) file‐sharing and online groups. An analysis is provided of 848 messages from approximately 150 users of a forum on Audiogalaxy's Web site immediately after the suspension of its P2P service following an RIAA lawsuit. Much of the interaction on the forums is “informational” in nature, and significant in terms of directing users to alternative P2P services. Other exchanges appear more “transformational”, attempting to energise the group into physical protest, although protests appear to be contained online. Also highlighted is the role of “recreational” exchanges in developing “relational” and “informational” exchanges and it is suggested that more research is needed in this area. The implications for file‐sharers and for organisations that might deal with online consumers are discussed. It is concluded that the RIAA's actions were largely counter‐productive as they were unable to prevent users moving to another P2P service and encouraged discourses which support file sharing. However the risk of “real‐life” protests as a result of the online groups’ reaction also seems low.