I am an ethnographer who analyzes popular music, digital cultures, and listening norms.

My current work analyzes how people stage themselves as popular music consumers, by turning listening into a performance practice. My recent publications include topics such as remix in rock music, the history of air guitar as a gestural listening practice, and the enduring appeal of reaction videos on YouTube (forthcoming). As a Visiting Assistant Professor at Northeastern University, I teach in the College of Arts, Media, and Design, where my courses cover popular culture, new media, and world music.

I hold a PhD in ethnomusicology (Brown University) and master’s degrees in American studies (University of Alabama) and ethnomusicology (Brown University). My projects have been generously funded by the American Folklife Center and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, and my recent work can be found in Ethnomusicology, American Quarterly, and Disability Studies Quarterly.

In this life, I’m a guitarist and karaoke enthusiast. In my next life, I’ll be a GIF artist.


byrd.mcdaniel [at] gmail.com