In popular culture, the MP3 has acquired the status of object. Users buy, exchange, and collect them. Writers often even represent MP3s as inert objects that ‘impact’ an industry, a social environment, or a legal system 13. However, they are not objects – the MP3 simply refers to the format used to compress the data.

Cultural theorists like Sterne urge us to take a closer look at the passage of technological objects like MP3 in society in order to understand their importance and the real role they play. In addition, they question our linguistic use of the terms that designate these technologies.

In particular, Sterne 13 argues that MP3 has effectively become an artifact of culture, that is to say a product which has undergone a transformation by man, and which is thus distinguished from another caused by a natural phenomenon 15 . He points out that the word MP3, as used today, is the product of transformations undergone by several parties: the electronics industry, the audio recording industry, and consumers and their practices. hearing music. So in The MP3 as a cultural artefact 13the reader is in a hurry to reconsider the simplification that MP3 ‘impacts’ society. Rather, MP3 does what it was supposed to do – eliminate redundancies, and travel longer distances more often and with less effort.

Regarding the nature of possession of the MP3 as an object, Knott 14 states that to use an MP3 we need other intermediate objects. If these objects that store MP3s cease to exist, the MP3s are unusable, which is not the case with CD’s or Vinyls. CD’s and Vinyls exist independently of the objects that are used to listen to them – they are not stored in the intermediate objects themselves. Knott calls MP3 quasi-posessions – full possession of the MP3 is difficult. Legally, for example, users are prohibited from sharing MP3s for copyright reasons. For this reason, he points out that the users are rather stewardsas owners. Under this metaphor, Knott points out that consumption methods have changed – rather than focusing on the music itself, users are focused on creating playlists and accumulating music.

MP3 and virtual communities

To understand the MP3 format from a social point of view it must be placed in the context of the Internet phenomenon.

The fundamental idea of ​​interactivity and free exchange of ideas and files which is intrinsic to the Internet, has been extensively exploited in the case of MP3. In 1999, the Napster website was created. This site was a platform for the free exchange of music tracks in MP3 format. In such digital platforms, individuals could find a wide range of open access music resources. Indeed, this has created a virtual community of individuals who have come together due to their similar consumer interests 16.

This is the process that sociologists, notably Kozinets, call re-tribalization or e-tribalization 17 . Indeed, the technology of MP3 and its direct application in the field of music has had the subsequent effect of creating various virtual communities such as Napster or which focus on music. For this purpose, there are now an extensive number of websites which are dedicated to the free transfer of music where users can exchange their music files 16 .

The increasing influence of virtual communities has also had the effect of developing the so – called E ‒ Tribal Marketing 17 area of ​​thought . Reflections in this area qualify consumer behavior in the Internet Age and suggest additional considerations necessary to design more modern Marketing strategies 1