Music and Youth Audiences in the Era of Musimorphosis

Musimorphoses 2

Introduced in the early 2000s, the concept of “digital natives” (Prensky, 2001, 2009, 2011)emphasized the generational rupture entailed by the dissemination of digital technologybeginning in the 1980s. Digital technology is thought to contribute to the socialization ofyouth audiences and direct their cultural practices in very specific ways, marked at onceby the contents’ dematerialization and Internet networking. Although the concept hasbecome popular, it has also been the subject of much critique: it designates only a segmentof the youth population – students – rather than the whole; it is only partly or poorlyperiodized; it does not consider the effects of gender or social position; it unifies the“youth” into a group in which individual competencies in appropriating digital technologyhave gone unchallenged; and the category of “digital natives” seems too flexible to havethe slightest operational and heuristic value for sociological analysis.While limited by its unquestionable metaphorical reach, the concept nevertheless hasbrought our attention to a number of issues regarding the articulation between youngaudiences and digital technology. Enriching the theoretical frame notably put forth inBourdieu’s Distinction, the predictive value of the influence of age and generation onmatters of taste is being raised in several studies (Octobre and Mercklé), particularly concerning music. As Olivier Donnat (2016) has shown, the opposition between “popular”and “classical” is less important than that between “young” and “old” music, which seemsto structure the space of music preferences. We might also question whether the musicalexperience – whether it be in the context of a concert or listening at home – is similar toor different than that experienced by the older generations prior to the digital revolution,both with regards to practices as well as to the various ways of conceiving music. Whetherin a concert hall or at home, do we experience music in the same way as our elders, givenhow genres have become minutely segmented, free access has become predominant asphysical media (vinyl records, cassette tapes, and CDs) give way to streaming, algorithmshave become the principal means of getting recommendations, and cultural practices areby and large mediated by screens?

Organizing committee:

  • Michel Duchesneau (Université de Montréal)
  • Irina Kirchberg (Université de Montréal)
  • Philippe Le Guern (Université de Nantes, EHESS)
  • Caroline Traube (Université de Montréal)


  • Alexis Langevin-Tétrault (Université de Montréal)

Program committee:

  • Guy Bellavance (INRS)
  • Guillaume Boutard (Université de Buffalo)
  • Robert Davies (Université de Leeds)
  • Kyle Devine (Université d’Oslo)
  • Nicolas Donin (IRCAM)
  • Olivier Donnat (DEPS-Ministère de la Culture)
  • Flavia Gervasi (Université de Montréal)
  • Hervé Glevarec (CNRS)
  • Sylvie Octobre (DEPS-Ministère de la Culture)
  • Dominique Pasquier (CNRS)
  • Cecile Prévost-Thomas (Université Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle)
  • Nick Prior (Université d’Edinburgh)
  • Jonathan Roberge (INRS)
  • Hyacinthe Ravet (Université Paris-Sorbonne)
  • Heloísa de Araújo Duarte Valente (Université de Sao Paulo)
  • Nancy Weiss Hanrahan (George Mason University)
  • Jean-Samuel Beuscart (Orange Lab)
  • Jean-Claude Yon (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines)