Jonathan Sterne “MP3 and Mapping the Mind’s Interior”

Music, Sound and the Reconfiguration of Public and Private Space Conference continued:

Jonathan Sterne detailed the historical background of the development of the mp3 codec in his talk ” MP3 and Mapping the Mind’s Interior”. He is pointing out a lack of Humanities research in the area of psychoacoustics. He is tracing the development of the mp3 standard,  using books, technical documents, and – most interestingly – interviews with some key developers of the standard, both at AT&T and at Frauenhofer. Sterne shows how the psychoacoustivc models (e.g. of masking) behind the mp3, are determined by the history of telephony. Sterne argues that whereas mp3s are often regarded as public, they are in fact private in a double way: First, the psychoacoustic models behind mp3s are calibrated to the private experience, and second, the rights are held by public corporations.

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