The Global Jukebox: The International Music Industry

By Robert Burnett | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

Introduction

Popular music is with us constantly, it is part of our everyday environment, and increasingly part of the aural or sonic soundscape that surrounds us. Not only do we listen to music in our homes and at concerts, but also as a background in cars, bars, aeroplanes, restaurants and shopping malls. Tagg (1982:37) has estimated that the ‘average Westerner’s brain probably spends around twenty five per cent of its lifetime registering, monitoring and decoding’ popular music. Chambers (1982:19) has noted that popular music is ‘one of the more powerful expressions of the “culture industry”’ worldwide. Robinson (1986:33), goes as far as to claim that popular music ‘is the only truly universal mass medium’. Certainly most people would agree with Bradley’s (1981:205) observation that ‘music speaks a universal language of emotions’. Popular music is now the lingua franca for a large segment of the world’s youth population. It’s probably fair to say that music is the most universal means of communication we now have, instantly traversing language and other cultural barriers in a way that academics rarely understand.

Indeed, whereas consumption of other media products is often limited by geographical availability and consumer income, almost anyone anywhere can listen to popular music, often regardless of whether they want to or not. Most of us at one time or another have felt pursued by music itself. In this respect popular music is certainly the most global aspect of our ‘global village’.

It was a Canadian, the late Marshall McLuhan, who called the world a ‘global village’ created by the homogenizing effects of the universal availability of new electronic technologies. Since he long ago coined the phrase our world has shrunk even further and our horizons have grown wider through new media technologies such as computers, digitalization, video cassettes, satellite broadcasting and cable television. The evolution of technology and the proliferation of global cultural products have had many effects, not the least of which is the fact that the ‘stars’ of the

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The Global Jukebox: The International Music Industry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Tables xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Music and the Entertainment Industry 8
  • Chapter 3 - Music as Popular Culture 29
  • Chapter 4 - The Music Industry in Transition 44
  • Chapter 5 - The Production of Popular Music 64
  • Chapter 6 - The Consumption of Popular Music 81
  • Chapter 7 - The American Example 99
  • Chapter 8 - The Swedish Example 120
  • Chapter 9 - Future Sounds: a Global Jukebox? 138
  • Postscript 149
  • Bibliography 153
  • Index 166
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