The role of sound in the media landscape / How commerce + audio harmonize

One more note regarding site maintenance, to follow up yesterday’s announcement about the expansion of the Downstream department: The linkblog I maintain at will now be co-posted here at, under the Field Notes category. This has already been underway for a few days. The linkblog content relates to the subject of the course I teach at the Academy of Art here in San Francisco. Its subject is the role of sound in the media landscape. As it’s described at

Sounds of Brands: The role of sound in the media landscape

Brands of Sounds: How commerce + audio harmonize

Recent posts to have included whether water sounds different based on its temperature, an over-the-counter sleep aid that is expanding into the realm of white-noise machines, and the fading glory of Italian dance halls. One ongoing thread of obsession is devices whose microphones are always on, always listening. There’s also emphasis on shifts in what once was called the “record industry,” not so much out of an interest in business practices as an advance sense of how what was largely a business of fixed sonic artifacts is responding to the fluid nature of digital culture.

A little background: Since 2007 I’ve, on and off, mostly off, been maintaining separate activities at Tumblr launched in February 2007, and a few months later I found myself in Japan. I kept an online sound journal using Tumblr throughout that trip, and shortly thereafter compiled it into a single post here at (“Tokyo Sound Diary, May 2007”). Since 2012, that site has served — again, on and off, mostly off — as a place to deposit brief observations related to this course I teach. Last July I thought I’d finally wrapped my head around how to handle the Tumblr side project, but that didn’t last too long. Then, again, this past month I felt I’d gotten a sense of how to manage it. At the time, I wrote, “So, I’m now using Tumblr as a kind of linkblog, an ‘active’ as it were. It has a specific focus: entirely on my research on ‘the role of sound in the media landscape.'” It’s felt pretty good since then, hence its porting — via an IFTTT script — to IFTTT isn’t perfect. It can take more than an hour for an item in Tumblr to show up on Triggers from the app on my Android phone don’t work as effectively as the ones from the website. And don’t even get me started with the shortcomings of the Tumblr app.

In any case, I hope people find the linkblog material of interest. I certainly do, which is why I make note of it here. By and large, I’m not a fan of blind links, of links without any additional context; that said, there’s need to collect and collate material, and so I post these links with some framing information, and with tags for me to access the material at a later date.

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