1st Edition

Music Commodities, Markets, and Values Music as Merchandise

By Jayson Beaster-Jones Copyright 2016
    222 Pages
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines music stores as sites of cultural production in contemporary India. Analyzing social practices of selling music in a variety of retail contexts, it focuses upon the economic and social values that are produced and circulated by music retailers in the marketplace. Based upon research conducted over a volatile ten-year period of the Indian music industry, Beaster-Jones discusses the cultural histories of the recording industry, the social changes that have accompanied India’s economic liberalization reforms, and the economic realities of selling music in India as digital circulation of music recordings gradually displaced physical distribution. The volume considers the mobilization of musical, economic, and social values as a component of branding discourses in neoliberal India, as a justification for new regimes of legitimate use and intellectual property, as a scene for the performance of cosmopolitanism by shopping, and as a site of anxiety about transformations in the marketplace. It relies upon ethnographic observation and interviews from a variety of sources within the Indian music industry, including perspectives of executives at music labels, family-run and corporate music stores, and hawkers in street markets selling counterfeit recordings. This ethnography of the practices, spaces, and anxieties of selling music in urban India will be an important resource for scholars in a wide range of fields, including ethnomusicology, anthropology, popular music studies, and South Asian studies.

    1. Music Commodities and Value Discourses in India 2. Prestige and Innovation in the Indian Music Industry 3. "Is Se Kuch Sasta Hai?": Music Commodities, Circulation, and Value in Indian Markets 4. Experiencing the Brand, Branding the Experience 5. Putting Music in its Place: Merchandising in Space and Time 6. Music, Passion, Knowledge: Music Retail and Affective Labor 7. Conclusion: Music Stores in the Age of Mobile Phones


    Jayson Beaster-Jones is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Merced, USA.

    Nominated for the 2017 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research

    "Music Commodities, Markets, and Values: Music as Merchandise is a timely and most welcome addition to the growing body of research on music in contemporary, neoliberal India. (...) Written amidst the international collapse in record sales and just as the commodity form of recorded music was evaporating into the digital ether, it captures a fascinating moment of economic, technological, and cultural transformation, the importance of which stretches well beyond South Asia." - Peter Kvetko, The World of Music (New Series)