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Read This Students Masters Thesis Called “Bass In Your Face,” Analyzing Dubstep and Digital Culture

Scholarly articles about EDM, history of electronica, and how they relate to our culture are few and far between. But luckily we have a new entry that's available to the masses.

A University of New York Masters student named Samantha Kretmar went digging for her Masters thesis last year, thoroughly examining the digital culture relating to dubstep, bass music, and the growing rave culture in the U.S. Bassnectar took notice, posting this (and the thesis paper) on Facebook:

Wow… this is literally a thesis on Bassnectar! Or at least it's examining networked culture using Bassnectar and our…

Posted by Bassnectar on Saturday, April 25, 2015

You can real the full thesis HERE (download available) and makes sure to read it all the way through… it will take you on a journey that Bassnectar fans can truly appreciate.

Kretmar nails the digital culture surrounding Bassnectar's concerts. After describing the scene after Bassnectar takes his “family photo” and the way fans interact during his shows, she paints a picture and interprets the result.

“As this scene illustrates, the use of technology by Bassnectar and audience members contributes to reshaping the concert into a non-traditional live music experience. With the broad reach of social networks, Bassnectar and audience members make the event interactive by instantaneously engaging with each other. This communication and connection with large social groups, uninhibited by geospatial and temporal boundaries, has come to define networked society.” (page 2)

Her analysis of the approach of Bassnectar's work is a scientific study, which is exciting to read. She also explains why his style is cost-effective for his fans.

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“Bassnectar’s concerts have grown in popularity in part because of the way he has employed mobile connectivity and social networks to distribute and encourage the consumption of his music in non-traditional styles. As social network sites like Facebook and Twitter have come to occupy an increasingly important place in 21st century American life they have emerged as more than social tools: becoming a primary means for aggregating and dispensing cultural content, like music. By distributing his music through these outlets, Bassnectar communicated directly with like-minded fans and prompted them to share his music within their respective networks, allowing his music to circulate widely without costly, traditional mass-media campaigns.” (page 3)

Her analysis of dubstep music and how it relates to creating musical networks is fascinating as well. She examines rave culture as well, explaining how underground culture and modern technology in the 21st century were responsible for it's birth.

Later, she discusses social impact.

As social networks and smartphones increased in prevalence, club culture-based, live dubstep music experiences, like Bassnectar concerts, became so popular that the DJs were reaching rock-star status and earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per show.
On November 9th, 2011, The New York Times published an article entitled “How Ryan Raddon Became the $200,000-a-Night DJ Known as Kaskade” (Schulman 2). The article discussed the growth in popularity of dubstep music and Joel Zimmerman, head of Endeavor, the electronic music division of the William Morris empire, explained that, “the thing that really flipped the script for dubstep was social media. You had kids getting connected in a different way” (3). (page 12)

She later breaks down a number of other ways social media has impacted music culture, even comparing Bassnectar to Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

To join the conversation and talk to Bassnectar fans about this on Bassnectar.net, go here.

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