Performing Numbers: Musicians and their Metrics

Prey, R., 2020, The Performance Complex: Competition and Competitions in Social Life. Stark, D. (ed.). Oxford University Press, p. 241-258 17 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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This chapter explores the implications of performance metrics as a source of self-knowledge and self-presentation. It does so through the figure of the contemporary musician. As performers on-stage and online, musicians are constantly assessed and evaluated by industry actors, peers, music fans, and themselves. The impact of powerful modes of quantification on personal experiences, understandings, and practices of artistic creation provides insight into the wider role that metrics play in shaping how we see ourselves and others; and how we present ourselves to others. Through in-depth interviews with emerging musicians, this chapter thus uses the artist as a lens through which to understand everyday life within the “performance complex.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Performance Complex
Subtitle of host publicationCompetition and Competitions in Social Life
EditorsDavid Stark
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780198861669
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • musicians, metrics, self-knowledge, self-presentation, self-worth, commensuration

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