Beyond the Speed of Sound: Music in the Digital Age

OCT 29, 2013 | 6:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


9100: Skylight Room


October 29, 2013: 6:30 PM


Free, Reservations Required


Public Programs


212-817-8215 or


Over the past three decades, digital technologies have refashioned every link in the chain of the music industry, including the concept of “fandom,” which is often overlooked. Featuring Travis Morrison, digital entrepreneur, musician, and lead singer of The Dismemberment Plan; Jake Ottmann, senior vice president for A & R, Warner/Chappell Music; and Randal Doane (Graduate Center Ph.D. in Sociology, 2003), author of Stealing All Transmissions: A Secret History of The Clash. Moderated by Amanda Petrusich, author of It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music.

Travis Morrison is the lead singer and guitarist of The Dismemberment Plan, a Washington D.C.-based band that has been active since 1993. He is also the cofounder of Shoutabl, a social-networking site for artists. Well-versed in music genres from John Coltrane to German art rock, Morrison is a computer programmer as well as a guitarist. Jake Ottmann, who describes himself as “genre agnostic when it comes to amazing songs,” began his career as an assistant at Elektra Records, where he worked his way up to overseeing radio promotion for the alternative music roster. Today he is responsible for signing and developing new and established songwriters for the East Coast creative team of Warner/Chappell Music. Previously at EMI Publishing, he signed successful acts such as The Fray, Metro Station, and Boys Like Girls. Randal Doane is an assistant dean of studies at Oberlin College, who received his Ph.D. in sociology from the Graduate Center in 2003. Doane writes periodically about The Clash and other rock rebels, has published widely in the field of cultural studies. His scholarly publications include studies of Ralph Ellison’s adventures in Marxism, ex-punks taking up swing dancing, and the political economy and neurophysiology of illegal file-sharing. Amanda Petrusich is the author of It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music and Pink Moon. She is a contributing editor to the Oxford American, and her music and culture writing have appeared in the New York Times, Spin, the Atlantic, on Pitchfork, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. Petrusich teaches creative writing at New York University, and her new book about 78-rpm record collectors, Do Not Sell at Any Price, is forthcoming from Scribner in 2014.

This program is part of the yearlong initiative Cultural Capital: The Promise and Price of New York’s Creative Economy, produced by GC Public Programs in collaboration with the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC). For more information and the full schedule, CLICK HERE.