Mark Thorley (Coventry University)


After a few hectic weeks, musicians, recording engineers and educators have found themselves doing the majority of their work remotely. Much of the technology to do this existed before, but the lockdown resulting from coronavirus has been the catalyst for seismic changes in their working practices.

This has brought many challenges and reasons for thought. For example, will clients still value work not done in a ‘professional’ environment? How can communication take place successfully? What kind of technology is really worth the cost and effort of using?

To shed some light on these issues, this presentation looks at the practice of remotivity – working on music at the end of some wire. As these practices are probably too new to be making sweeping conclusions, the presentation firstly draws upon ’The remote mix engineer, technology, expertise, star’ (Thorley 2019). It examines peer-production (Tapscott and Williams 2006), mixing (Huber and Runstein 2014, Lindeman 1998, Kealey 1979), knowledge working (Florida 2002) and celebrity (Rojek 2001). It then goes on to look at recent evidence of changing practices and how musicians, engineers and producers are working remotely. These up to date observations show how the principles demonstrated in the remote mixing paper are being evidenced further in the present crisis.


Florida, R. (2002). ‘Bohemia and economic geography’. Journal of Economic Geography, 2(1), 55–57.
Huber, D. M., and R. E. Runstein. (2014). Modern Recording Techniques. Abingdon: Focal Press.
Lindeman, S. (1998). ‘Fix It in the Mix.’ Popular Music and Society, 22(4), 91–100.
Kealey, E. (1979). ‘From Craft to Art: The Case of Sound Mixers and Popular Music.’ Sociology of Work and Occupations, 6(1): 3–29.
Rojek, C. (2001). Celebrity. London: Reaktion books.
Thorley, M. (2019). ‘The rise of the remote mix engineer: technology, expertise, star.’ Creative Industries Journal, 12(3), 301-313.
Tapcott, D., and A. D. Williams. (2006). Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. London: Penguin.