I've long been interested in the ecology of music. (MusicalEcology)
On interesting example is electronic dance music. Here I wan't to consider the idea of the network in the evolution of these genres.
A new network was created by the invention of the mixing desk, turntable culture and sampling. This network was based on connecting fragments of recorded music in various ways. A link could be made by mixing the two fragments on top of each other. A link could be made by sampling the fragments and juxtaposing them beside each other in a new track.
This led to a kind of "food-web" between pieces of music. Pieces as consumers of other pieces. Pieces as the "mating" or recombination of other pieces.
The simplicity of forming this network. And the size, and speed of connections, has made this a fast evolving ecology.
Speed formed the import standard.
- crucially, early on before time-stretching became available, the standard was the groove. The initial disco groove, then afterwards House music's 120 bpm, 4 on the floor rhythm. This standardization allowed most pieces of music in the genre to be linked (ie mixed, recombined)
- some latitude became available with varispeed turntables, allowing tracks to be speeded or slowed to allow recombination when they originally had different BPMs
- finally samplers added time-stretching, allowing almost any style of music to be drawn in, regardless of original speed.
Copying and reuse were the important freedoms
Copyright prevents the use of one recording in another. The network was built by disregarding this restriction. Musicians ignored copyright constraints. They also ignored traditional legal restraints on playing recordings in public (at raves, in clubs).