IN CONCERT WITH…: CONCERT AUDIO ENGINEERS AND ARENA SOUND SYSTEMS, 1965-2018 Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
Creator
  • Dahlie, Christopher
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
Abstract
  • The Beatles’ Shea Stadium concert of 1965 placed a small band and the sound system of a small club in the middle of a massive space. Therefore, there was no chance for the sound the band produced to overcome the legendary screaming of enthusiastic fans. The following year, Bill Hanley’s provision of a sound system to the Beatles’ next appearance at Shea is regarded as the origin point for concert sound as we know today. Concerts have been examined as texts, events, and experiences, but rarely as technological systems driven by expert technicians. Concert audio engineers manage powerful sound systems that provide sonic intimacy with performers to thousands of audience members at once. As cultural intermediaries, concert audio engineers listen as both part of the audience and as technical experts shaping sound though an evolving interface of control. Within the technological system of the arena concert in North America from 1965 on, this dissertation documents the relationship between concert audio engineers and the tools of their trade. This dissertation offers a model of documenting, contextualizing, and analyzing technical occupations within the cultural industries. Chapter one shows that, despite changing technologies and occupational practices, a definite structure of the workday has crystalized for concert audio engineers. Chapter two narrates how, over its sixty-year history, the arena concert sound system has undergone a process of industrialization and standardization. Chapter three contextualizes the emergence, professionalization, and standardization of this occupation within broader histories of technical listening and musical reproduction. The conclusion summarizes this dissertation’s contributions to the fields of political economy of communication, cultural industries, and production studies in assessing cultural labor and the technology used to perform it.
Date of publication
Keyword
DOI
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Hansen, Mark
  • Katz, Mark
  • Grossberg, Lawrence
  • Palm, Michael
  • Dempsey, Sarah
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018
Language
Parents:

This work has no parents.

Items