Kyle Devine

Associate Professor - Department of Musicology
Image of Kyle Devine
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22854060
Room 319
Visiting address Sem Sælands vei 2 ZEB-bygningen 0371 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1017 Blindern 0315 OSLO

Academic Interests

The questions that I tend to ask are how does culture work? and what work does culture do? I often ask these questions about media and technologies, especially in relation to music and sound reproduction since 1900.

I wrote a book called Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music (MIT Press 2019). It's about the history of what recordings are made of, and what happens to those recordings when they are disposed of. I focus on three materialities—shellac, plastic, data—which correspond to the main commercial recording formats since 1900: 78s, LPs, 45s, cassettes, CDs, audio files. Common sense suggests that the history of recorded music has been a progress of dematerialization—an evolution from physical discs to invisible digits. Decomposed shows that recorded music has always been a significant exploiter of both natural and human resources, and that its reliance on these resources is more problematic today than ever before. The book received a PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers as well as the IASPM Canada Book Prize.

I coedited a related book called Audible Infrastructures: Music, Sound, Media (Oxford University Press 2021). It looks at the social life and social death of various musical commodities in terms of three phases: resources and production, circulation and transmission, failure and waste. We ask how these phases influence and respond to musical conventions, environmental realities, and political-economic conditions in industrializing and industrialized parts of the world.

Most of my other publications are about histories, cultures, and theories of sound reproduction. I coedited Living Stereo: Histories and Cultures of Multichannel Sound (Bloomsbury 2015) and I coauthored work on gender and social inequalities in music technology for Twentieth-Century Music (2015) and the Contemporary Music Review (2016). 

Music sociology is my other main interest—especially the field's pasts and prospects—and here I coedited The Routledge Reader on the Sociology of Music (Routledge 2015).

Teaching and Supervision

I’m always happy to hear from prospective students working in my main fields of interest: music studies, sound studies, media studies, infrastructure studies, sociology of music, cultural sociology, material culture, science and technology studies. I encourage projects that are conceptually adventurous, politically engaged, and empirically grounded. Some of my teaching contributions include:


Before joining the University of Oslo in 2015, I taught at City University of London and Worcester College, University of Oxford. At Oxford, I also worked with the Music and Digitization Research Group.


Tags: Music and Media, Music Sociology, Sound Studies, Music and Society, Popular Music Studies, Musicology, Music History, Environmental Humanities


Devine, Kyle. 2019. Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Devine, Kyle, and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, eds. 2021. Audible Infrastructures: Music, Sound, Media. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Published June 1, 2015 12:34 PM - Last modified Jan. 23, 2021 7:51 AM