This section presents thematically related explorations of how new media and music intersect. The artists The Flaming Lips, Residents, Sigur Rós, and Moby all model innovative musical techniques that are networked to multimedia production. Casting our net still wider, we make connections to the Japanese business practice of kaizen and to the well known notion of open culture. Part of our argument concerning how sound is a form of worlding hinges upon precisely the idea explored here: that digital production in new media inherits, repurposes, and develops unanticipated practices stemming directly from the musical tradition. Indeed, it is clear to us that the strong focus on image in new media studies has come at the cost of neglecting the powerful role of sound. We have books telling us how images think and what pictures want, but nothing about how sound thinks and what music wants. We are arguing that sound wants to be part of our very experience of the world, and it is, but we are seldom attuned to it; and further, we are arguing that our use of sound ushers in practices that suffuse every aspect of new media production.

As we expand our arguments in new directions, and make fresh and detailed links, we confront the differences between print and electronic media. The economy of print is built on scarcity. That is, it requires procurement. It costs money and takes resources to produce text, print copies, and ship and distribute artifacts. The economy of electracy is built on abundance. The web works on a proliferation model where it costs nothing to produce more, access more, and find additional resources. The costs manifest themselves instead as an issue of attention. Just as it costs little to gain access—at least, for much of the web—it costs little to click away. In creating this companion website, then, we have done our best to make available all the resources that are stripped away during the process of creating an authoritative print-based text. We hope that this is of interest, that it draws your attention. We not only create added value for our original print-based piece, we want to make it more attention grabbing. We want it to be sticky. Further, as web-based editors, we are interested in web publication as a site of transition between literacy and electracy, and see this publication as exploring and experimenting beyond the boundaries of print—and extending to our web-based version some of the insights sound and music have made available to us.

kaizenopen culturesigur rósthe residentsthe flaming lips