A transversal is  “a line that cuts across other lines, perhaps across entire fields – bringing the fields together in a new way, recreating fields as something else” (Murphie A, 2006). In the context of today’s music industry, transversals become evident through new media technologies which are challenging traditional forms of producer-consumer relationships.

According to Goffman, “frames are basic cognitive structures which guide the perception and representation of reality… frames structure which parts of reality become noticed”. Again putting this into context with the music industry, traditional forms of music framing for consumers existed through mediums such as C.Ds, where the listener knew that in order to listen to their favourite artists (with the exception of live events) a framework was in place. They would go to a store, purchase the C.D and return home to play it on their C.D player. Today however, we have been framed to digitally download, with technological structures such as iTunes telling us what music should be noticed.

Due to the rapidly changing environment of the online music industry today, we are seeing how new transversals are in fact developing into eventual frames themselves. Taking iTunes again as an example, it was first viewed as a process that trans versed away from what we believed to be the correct way to purchase and listen to music. Now, it is one of the world’s most significant music hubs connecting consumers with their favourite artists and bands, with even shows such as The Voice encouraging viewers to use the hub to purchase the contestant’s music. Likewise, torrents have become a transversal away from this process, with more online listeners using iTunes as a means to hear what music is on offer, then moving to a torrent site such as The Pirate Bay to get the music for free. Here we see how the concepts of framing and transversality interrelate, creating a dynamic way in how consumers connect with the producers and distributors of the music they listen to.

Successful artist Joss Stone states “I think it’s great…Yeah, I love it. I think it’s brilliant and I’ll tell you why. Music should be shared. I believe that this is how music turned into like, some crazy business. The only part about music that I dislike is the business that is attached to it. Now, if music is free, then there is no business, there is just music.” Although this may be much to the record companies’ dismay, there is no doubt that the music industry is in a constant flux of change.



Murphie, A. (2006, December). Editorial [On Transversality]. Retrieved April 12, 2011, from The Fibreculture Journal (Issue 9): http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/


Mashable. June 2008. ‘Joss Stone thinks Piracy is Great’.http://mashable.com/2008/06/26/piracy-joss-stone/


Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An easy on the organization of experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/methods/publications/frameanalysis/


The “extended mind thesis” (EMT) is an idea brought about by the seminal work of Andy Clark and David Chalmers in 1998. Today, this concept is more relevant than ever, with new technologies being developed constantly to encourage the externalism of our thoughts and ideas. While some may see these new technologies as positive environmental aids for our memory, it is an ever pressing fear that these new cognitive technologies (such as Facebook, GPS systems, photo sharing etc.), “to which we confide a greater and greater part of our memory, cause us to lose an ever-greater part of our knowledge” (Accueil).

Take the relatively new phenomenon of the smartphone application Instagram for example. In pre-smartphone days one required a considerable amount of effort to archive their photos, having to take a picture on a camera, have it developed, and then placed into a physical photo album which was stored away and brought out when necessary. Then came the popularity of social network sites such as MySpace, enabling quicker archiving of whole digital albums which could be stored online. Now with Intagram, one can take a picture anywhere, anytime and have it filtered, uploaded and archived within seconds of its capture on a smartphone device. Does this ease of ‘capturing moments’ in fact cause us to lose parts of our knowledge? With the simplicity of taking pictures on-the-go today, the issue of losing a true sense of experiencing events (which we would typically store in our thoughts) becomes evident. My personal Instagram account currently stores 480 public photos, to which only a few are embedded in my mind which are clear immediate memories that I experienced. Perhaps if I was less concerned in capturing moments as pictures for later memory reference I would be more inclines to truly experience these events.

It is hard, however to rely less on new technologies when society and the media tell us that this is the new way to being social. As our minds and technological environments today act as a “coupled system”, it is important to realise when these mnemotechnological apparatuses are causing us to lose knowledge, that is if knowledge is what the human kind lives for.



Accueil ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis’ – <http://arsindustrialis.org/anamnesis-and-hypomnesis>