International conference organised by MSH Paris Nord, MSH des Alpes, MSH d'Aquitaine, MSH de Paris, MSH Nord-Pas de Calais
and Gricis Université du Québec à Montréal, within the ACI programme
« Les mutations des industries de la culture, de l’information et de la communication : bilan, cartographie, observation ».
  Workshop 3.1 - Workshop 3.2 - Workshop 3.3 - Workshop 3.4 - Workshop 3.5
Workshop 3.4 New tools, new practices
  Chairman :
- Françoise Paquienséguy, University Paris 8, CEMTI, MSH Paris Nord, France

Speakers :
Armelle Bergé, Delphine Saizonou, CARISM - TECH/SUSI, France / Fabienne Gire, Fabien Granjon, TECH/SUSI, France
«Talking, exchanging, doing together : relational networks and cultural practices»

Didier Bieuvelet, Vincent Bullich, Patrick Guillaud, GRESEC - Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3, France
«The uses of MP3 players»
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Evelyne Broudoux, Université de Versailles – Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines / Oriane Deseilligny, Paris 10, France
« Editing and publishing online :new meeting spaces between the authors, the publishers and the new actors »

Anders Edström Frejman, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Suède
«Consumers in the virtual world: what do they share, download and stream?»
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Viviane Le Fournier, Université Paris 8, LERASS Toulouse 3, France
« The construction of online purchase practices through cultural goods »

Christian Malaurie, Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux 3
« Unlikely uses of spectacle: from the screen to the stage »


«Talking, exchanging, doing together: relational networks and cultural practices»

Armelle Bergé, Delphine Saizonou

Fabienne Gire, Fabien Granjon

A number of recent works that deals with cultural practices and their evolution invite to (re)introduce in the analysis the question and the role of the sociability in which such activities are imbedded. Indeed, people’s cultural practices, in the way they are accomplished, grow on and are fed by interactions with others: talking about art works, borrowing or lending contents, sharing activities (watching television with family members, listening to radio with fellow workers, playing music in a band etc.) are all practices that are part of ordinary cultural sociability.

Beyond the representation of a space of practices – that often are simple acts of consumption – more or less fixed in an homology to a space of social positions, to take cultural sociabilities into account enables a better understanding of the dynamic of cultural practices and of their organization beyond the simple moment of consumption. The role of social networks can then be invoked to support the analysis of such phenomena as the rise of cultural eclectism (Di Maggio, 1987 ; Peterson, 1992 ; Bergé & Granjon, 2005), which as been identified as a deep trend in the evolution of people’s cultural tastes’range (Donnat, 1994) or conversely, certain forms of pressure to conformism, especially in the case of the young (Pasquier, 2005).

In this article, we propose to account for the way in which different relational circles (household members, family members, friends, but also fellow workers or class mates, neighbours or other acquaintances, or then people encountered via internet) get mobilized to take part in the activities around cultural contents in the various processes of talking, exchanging and doing together.

Data from a questionnaire study will be first drawn upon to account quantitatively for the place of the various cultural sociabilities evoked above in a range of cultural domains (music, video, reading). In this respect, we will show that, despite the growing use of ICTs in cultural consumption practices, the more traditional mediations and groupings show to remain central in the structuring of people’s cultural activities. Nonetheless, the most recent transformations undergone by the cultural industries, especially the broadening of content digitalisation, that facilitates, on the side of the consumers also, their duplication and sustains new forms of (putting into) circulation (P2P, mobile storage devices, etc.) and the attested growing computer-mediatedness of cultural practices invite to a more qualitative study of the part played by technological transformations and relational aspects in current cultural practices and their potential evolutions. In the second part of the paper, data from about thirty interviews will be used for a finer-grained study of how ICTs’use and social relations may play a role in the shaping of cultural practices. So as to help sorting out how things matter in different configurations, people for this part of the study have been chosen for their differential stage of ICTs’ equipment (non computer users, computer users with no internet access, and internet users at different stages) and interviews were conducted in the perspective of a diachronic uses and practices narrative which may better underline the eventual points of rupture.

«The uses of MP3 players»

Didier Bieuvelet, Vincent Bullich, Patrick Guillaud
GRESEC - Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3, France

>>> Download the communication (French)

In the advertising imagery and, more widely, media imagery, MP3 players are considered as prototyping the recent changes in recorded music that are not only digitalized but dematerialized. According to various media discourses, MP3 players symbolise the restructuring of the music industry in which new patterns and new actors are appearing as well as the emergence of a new listener, increasingly mobile and technophile.

It is precisely this second aspect that we analysed in our study by observing the ways in which these tools are used. Our approach was initially genealogical, related with the former studies on the uses of walkman. Then we focused on the new properties of the uses of the MP3 player. For this purpose, we carried out an ergonomic study in order to define the potentialities and constraints in the devices and in the handbooks. Secondly, we conducted a survey of three groups that constitute the main target of the marketing campaigns: secondary school pupils, students and young workers. Through fifteen semi-directed interviews (individual and group) we identified the effective uses of MP3 player.

The study revealed that the dematerialization of the musical formats resulted in a multiplication of tools needed to obtain and listen to music with MP3 player (a minima: the player, a personal computer and an Internet connexion). This device can thus be conceived as a whole of several distributed functions. These functions are split up into several tools that are interdependent and sine qua non with the activity. This multiplication implies increased competences (technical and cognitive) and material resources required for the activity. We consequently observed two ideal-typical attitudes. These attitudes were not always clearly distinguished but function as the two ends of a continuum on which the uses take place. The first one consists in buying all the elements of the device and in acquiring the technical and cognitive competences required by its various functions. The second one consists in distributing the resources and competences in close social circles, especially family and friends. Indeed, the dependence of people is stressed when listening to music with the MP3 player: the loss of autonomy was observed for most of the interviewee during our study.

This phenomenon may indicate a trend in the uses of digital technics of information and communication. The evolution of these uses reveals a growing individualisation of practices and at the same time a collectivisation of the conditions of their functioning. Indeed, the tool is personal and its use is idiosyncratic but it also becomes a part of a more complex device, the competences and resources required are likely to be distributed between several persons.

Generic term for the mobile devices designed for reading several types of audio files. As MP3 files appear to be the most widespread format, the term is used for describing all of audio file types.

«Editing and publishing online :new meeting spaces between the authors, the publishers and the new actors»

Evelyne Broudoux
Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines

Oriane Deseilligny
Paris 10, France

The presentation is based upon the results of a comparative study of two websites dedicated to the creation and promotion of literary work.
E-critures et Ecrits-vains are two online editing and publishing tools used by authors to discuss and promote works, to make themselves known to the online literary circle and to receive reader feedback.  The way authors adapt technical communication tools (writing workshops, forums, diffusion lists, literary journals, websites) to meet their needs is representative of the new forms of exchange and self-promotion used by authors to gain recognition in the electronic sphere. 
We confirm that editorial filtering is at the heart of E-critures and Ecrits-vains, because of the significant differences we found in the editorial and publishing processes. These processes in turn determine production processes (layout and circulation of the works and documents), as well as social processes related to community membership, commentaries and author placement. 

These sites renew the concept of “review” by allowing individuals to personalize the communication and publication tools. These sites are also instrumental in establishing the creation-production-diffusion phases of the texts.

The renegotiation of the editor and publisher functions is characteristic of the new editorial models found in redistributed publishing. The arrival of socio-technical actors contributes to the diversification of this publishing field.

«Consumers in the virtual world: what do they share, download and stream?»

Anders Edström Frejman
Institut Royal de Technologie, Suède

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Concentration of ownership and declining cultural diversity in broadcasted media has been observed in many countries. Comprehensive empirical studies of Swedish national broadcasters covering eleven years have proved both static and declining length of play-lists (68 and 84% respectively) and increasing similarity of play-lists between broadcasters (47%). In 2003 three major commercial networks controlled 70% of the available commercial radio licences in Sweden (1993 30%). One consequence is fewer gatekeepers (those who decide which songs to be played) making it increasingly difficult to be played. This is probable one factor contributing to the growing number of artist owned record companies and music publishing houses.

Diversity has been mentioned as one of the main success factors of Peer-to-peer networks (P2P). At virtually no cost users have been able to customize the use of their downloaded material on PCs, cell-phones or other portable players. In other words diversity, control and price. The early response from the music industry, apart from trying to kill these networks, was to launch their own services with limited diversity, limited level of control and a limiting price model. Even splitting albums and letting consumers freely choose among digitally downloadable titles was a major mental hurdle for the record companies but eventually it turned into a success – with the help of Apple. Since the introduction of iTunes Music Store in April 2003 over 1 billion tunes have been purchased, the first successful legal downloading service on a large scale. Distinguishing features: reasonable diversity, an acceptable level of control and a price considered reasonable by consumers.

Even though legal digital downloads are booming, the artists’ share of this new revenue stream does not seem to go the same way. In France legal downloads costs 99 eurocents, the artists get three on average, composers/publishers get seven and producers (read: record companies) get 65. The rest is royalties to DRM-companies, ISPs and credit card operators such as VISA.

Parallel with this the war against file-sharers continues as before. Nevertheless the interest for file-sharing is increasing. Figures from the P2P news site indicates a regularly increasing total number of file-sharers (2003-2006). Most surprisingly, these figures don’t include Direct Connect and the massively popular BitTorrent network. The ever-growing popularity of P2P-networks and the parallel success of legal downloads rises questions about the content in both worlds. Some studies have namely concluded that file-sharers are also frequent CD-buyers, on-line shoppers and concert lovers. But little has been written about what exactly is requested and downloaded from the networks, what is sold in legal digital services and what 3G-subscribers and web radio listeners prefer to listen to – the similarities and the differences.

The main objective of this paper is to analyse the types of musical works that are shared and downloaded among file-sharers. Newly released acts, old, odd or perhaps unknown music? Is the focus on a limited number of titles or rather an even spread over a large numbers of titles? A second objective is to compare file-sharing firstly to legal downloads, and secondly to 3G and web-radio in order to discover coinciding patterns. The comparisons can give valuable information about probable future success strategies.    

The main data for this paper has been derived from two empirical case studies of P2P-downloads. The first focused on files requested on numerous significant Direct Connect hubs during May 2005. The study was performed on a computer in Sweden with tailored “sniffing” software. The second involved similar sniffing data from a major Gnutella node in March 2003, involving considerable P2P-traffic from American university campuses. In both cases thousands of file-requests were randomly selected for classification and was manually entered into the search engine of iTunes music store. Matches to existing songs were filed – with title, artist/group, genre and earliest year of release – until at least 1,000 songs had been identified for each case. A third study focused on empirical data on legally downloaded material via the Swedish branch of iTunes and its Nordic competitors. As a complement empirical data of recent music video downloads from the Swedish branch of the 3G-operator “3” have been used to widen the perspective to mobile downloads. Songs requested on a web-radio channel in Sweden, founded as early as 1999, are also been used to broaden the picture even more. This data contains requests (title, artist, number of requests) from January to September 2005.  

Conclusions and Summary Recommendation
Many results confirmed previous assumptions regarding activities on P2P-networks. Some of the most important conclusions are that searches in these networks truly reflect a broad diversity in terms of searches rather than massive searches for certain works. Many involve obscure songs that are searched for and shared, songs that cannot be found on legal download services. A surprising observation was the high average age of songs requested on the investigated P2P-networks and the diversity of songs downloaded from legal Swedish services. The study concludes above all that despite early hesitations from the content industry, the long term profit making strategy seem to be diversity of offerings, combined with reasonable demands regarding control and price. However the present incompatibility of legal download services, i.e. iTunes vs. all others, is limiting true competition and is therefore hindering a real boost in on-line sales. A second major obstacle is problems regarding moving songs with DRM-protection to and from devices such as PCs, mp3-players and mobile phones. 

« The construction of online purchase practices through cultural goods »

Viviane Le Fournier
Université Paris 8, LERASS Toulouse 3, France

The continuous growth of the e-commerce figures seems to persuade the market makers that the online purchase is getting “banalised” (ACSEL, FEVAD) and the researchers that the brakes on the online dealings  have disappeared (Madrid, Monnoyer, 2005).

This certainty could lead to think that the purchase practices have quickly changed under the effect of both the increased spreading of ICT in the population and the improvement of the technical performances, especially the high-speed Internet. We however have to remember that only 40% of  the Internet users did purchase online in 2005 (CREDOC).

Internet seems admittedly to go with social changes (Proulx, 2005) and to enable other ways to consume, as it is the case for cultural goods (Licoppe et al. 2003). These seem indeed to enjoy a special place as one e-customer on two said to have bought some in 2005. Does this however allow us to conclude that the purchase practices are restructured under the mechanical effect of a substantial online commercial offer and an increased access to ICT.

Our paper pays particular attention to the way Internet users include cultural goods commercial websites in their practices of online and offline book purchases.

The data collected on a sample of about sixty Internet users contribute to enlighten two sides: the first one deals with the part the book is playing in the learning of the online purchase, which contributes to eliminate the brakes, whereas the second one focuses on the importance of the local relations maintaned between the book, its marketing place and the seller.

Several lessons can be drawn related at first to the materiality of the object, its size and price which strongly relativize the risks linked to the distance and contribute to make the book an opportunity to test this method of purchase in a rationalization logic. This leads us to outline the various perceptions linked to the kind of book, professional or leisure literature, which draw a divide among the purchase behaviours.

Beyond these specificities, the speeches of Internet users with regards to the particular status of the book in the purchase practices as well as in the ways of life show the combinations made between the habits of cultural consumption in the traditional distribution networks and the attention paid to the online cultural offer.

Although it is difficult to make arise in a sure way a well characteristic online book buyer profile, the online offer is appealing because of its advantages linked to the specificities of the Internet. In other respects, the affectivity characterizing the purchase in traditional bookshops or in specialized stores remains vivid, ending up in hybrid purchase behaviours the permanence of which is now difficult to anticipate.

«Unlikely uses of spectacle: from the screen to the stage»

Christian Malaurie
Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux 3

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