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“Streaming, Cheap Music, and Crises of Social Reproduction” reads the prominence given to mood, activity, and context-based playlists on streaming platforms through the lens of social reproduction theory. Streaming platforms cast such functional music as a tool by which users can perform certain tasks necessary to maintain themselves and others, which are also necessary to maintain themselves as labor power. Facilitating this change in music’s use value is the partial decommodification it undergoes on streaming platforms. As a form of cheap culture, digital music is conscripted to mitigate the rising costs of care, along with the increased offloading of these costs onto private individuals and households. Yet the more platforms frame music as a resource for living, the more the living of musicians is threatened. Inasmuch as cheap music depends on a cheapening of musical labor, streaming helps beget a crisis of reproduction specific to the world of music.

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