Technologies of the musical selfie

Sumanth Gopinath, Jason Stanyek

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The photographic selfie that bulks so large in popular digital culture has given rise to a musical equivalent, in which a facial image is analysed into a set of features used to generate a sonic output - the musical selfie. Michel Foucault coined the phrase ‘technologies of the self’, and Tia DeNora applied it to music, but the musical selfie reveals a different conception of selfhood that relates to many other aspects of digital culture - a conception that is both performative and intimately linked to technology. This chapter explores the musical selfie from three perspectives, in each case a digital form that is linked to a key technological platform and a key practice. These are: the playlist, linked to Spotify and the practice of curation; headphone listening, linked to Beats by Dre and enclosure; and the self-produced video, linked to YouTube and broadcasting. Seen in this light, digital selfhood (or selfiehood) is generated in relation to other selves and through shared activities, and closely linked to such fundamental features of digital culture as self-quantification, algocracy and surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Music in Digital Culture
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781316676639
ISBN (Print)9781107161788
StatePublished - Aug 30 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2019.


  • Beats by dre
  • Curation
  • Facial analysis
  • Headphones
  • Playlist
  • Selfhood
  • Selfie
  • Spotify
  • Surveillance
  • Youtube


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