Pop as Process

The Digitalization of Groove, Form and Time


  • Anders Reuter University of Copenhagen


Pop music production is increasingly dominated by practices from hip-hop and EDM. The shift is hosted by a new generation of the digital audio workstation (DAW) that not only connects with but also reflects contemporary ubiquitous computing culture. This article examines the temporal consequences of this digitalization of pop production and how it challenges traditional interpretations of the relationship between groove, repetition and teleology. Using analysis of three current pop tracks, digital culture theory and process philosophy I approach contemporary pop temporality through a process paradigm. I argue that groove is rooted in signification of technology and genre-based practices rather than performance-based notions of difference, tension or timing discrepancy. Pop production is based on a hybridization of human and algorithmic agency which entails new kinds of temporal ambiguity, multiplicity, precision and infinitesimal detail. In conclusion, I discuss how these novel temporal traits manifest themselves prereflexively as tacit knowledge.

Author Biography

Anders Reuter, University of Copenhagen

PhD Fellow in musicology






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