Transcoding, according to Lev Manovich in his 2001 book The Language of New Media is an intrinsic quality to any new media object. It refers to the interpretation of the human “cultural layer” in computer ontology and the “computer layer” in human cultural terms. Manovich believes each layer influences the development of the other and are no longer separable. Manovich sees transcoding as the most substantial consequence of the computerization of media.
The process of digitizing an audio recording is a method of generating data from music, a means of human expression. Once the audio recording becomes a computer file, it is imprinted with characteristics that are distinct from those of the recording itself (sound materials, environments, temporal structure etc.). Rather, an audio computer file exists in the context of other computer files, with different headers, sizes, formats, types of compression etc. The result is partially that music becomes something you can extract from a database, alter the volume of, rename, order in a sequence with other mp3's on your digital music player.