In the 21st century, music culture has become one of the basic fields of the functionality of digital media, while the latter have become its important element. By thoroughly transforming music culture in technical and psychosocial, or in quantitative and qualitative terms, at the levels of music production, distribution, and consumption, the digital media have at the same time re-shaped the relations between this culture and its recipients, and established news patterns of participation in it.
Seeking to answer the questions about the character of participation in music culture in the age of the digital media, the author examines, first, the impact of these media on participation in culture and on music culture itself. Second, in order to obtain as full a picture as possible of participation in music culture in the digital media age, he refers to the empirical data collected, analyzed and presented in two research reports devoted to participation in culture (including music culture) in the digital media age.
The conducted analyses show a fairly complex picture of participation in music culture because, shaped by technological innovations and affordances, the new type of activity of participants in music culture is not uniform. However, the author notices two distinct tendencies in it: a tendency to prefer old, institutionalized forms of participation albeit with the use of the digital media; and a tendency to favor new, de-institutionalized forms developed in the digital environment. They allow the researcher to outline a fundamental dichotomy (because it essentially reflects deeper cultural-technological discrepancies) between participation in music culture and the music culture of participation. The author culminates his discussion with the conclusion, in which he briefly considers the potential consequences of the emergence of digitally mediated participation in music culture.