Loughborough University
Thesis-2012-Watson.pdf (4.67 MB)

Sound practice: a relational economic geography of music production in and beyond the recording studio

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posted on 2012-09-26, 09:17 authored by Allan Watson
This thesis develops a relational geography perspective on creative work and practice, with a specific focus on the recording studio sector. Drawing on an extensive social network analysis, a questionnaire survey, and nineteen semi-structured interviews with recording studio engineers and producers in London (UK), the thesis reveals how recording studios are constituted by a number of types of relations. Firstly, studios are spaces that involve a material and technological relationality between studio workers and varied means of production. Studios are material and technological spaces that influence and shape human actions and social inter-actions. Secondly, studios are sites of relationality between social actors, including engineers, musicians and artists. The thesis reveals how the ability to construct and maintain social relations, and perform emotional labour , is of particular importance to the management of the creative process of producing and recording music, and to building the individual social capital of studio workers. Finally, the thesis argues that studios are sites of changing employment relations between studio workers and studio as employer. In the recording studio sector, a complex and changing set of employment practices have re-defined the relationship between employee and employer and resulted in a set of employment relations characterised by constant employment uncertainty for freelance studio workers. It is argued that the three types of relations revealed in this thesis, manifest at a multiplicity of geographical scales, construct recording studios as distinctive social and economic creative spaces. In conclusion, it is argued that a relational perspective is central to progressing geographical accounts of creative work and of project-based industries in general.



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment


© Allan Watson

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en