Hip-hop producer-hosts, beat battles, and online music production communities on Twitch





Cultural production, livestreaming, internet platforms, music production, participation, education


This article introduces a new creative industry actor, the ‘producer-host’, whose novel cultural practices combine several roles: that of performing artist, music production educator, event manager, livestream broadcaster, and community manager. Producer-hosts use the livestreaming platform Twitch (alongside other digital technologies) to run online beatmaking events with communal and participatory dynamics that indicate expanding uses of streaming platforms. Drawing upon 18 months of ethnography, active community participation, and interviews with three producer-hosts, we provide a nuanced analysis of the political economy of Twitch and developments in the contemporary creative industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyse and discuss the outcomes of participation in music production communities on Twitch according to five themes: income and sustainability; personal and professional gratifications; online followings; community identity and belonging; and informal education.

Author Biographies

Jason Ng, University College Cork

CIPHER Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University College Cork, researching global hip hop with a focus on dance, media and cultural production in the Asia-Pacific region. His research explores the intersections between contemporary music cultures, media, creative industries, urban geographies and globalisation and has been published in the journal City Culture and Society. He continues to work in the field, drawing from his own critical practice as an artist in dance, film, music, and theatre.

Steven Gamble, University College Cork

Marie Curie Research Fellow in Music at University College Cork. He is the author of How music empowers: Listening to modern rap and metal (Routledge, 2021) and Digital flows: Internet-based hip hop music and culture (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Specialising in the study of popular music and Internet cultures, digital technology, and listening, he has published work in Popular Music & Society, Journal on the Art of Record Production, and Metal Music Studies.




How to Cite

Ng, J., & Gamble, S. (2022). Hip-hop producer-hosts, beat battles, and online music production communities on Twitch. First Monday, 27(6). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v27i6.12338