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Book: Trajectories and Themes in World Popular Music

Chapter: Popular Music before Neoliberalism

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.34459


Chapter 1 considers world popular music before neoliberalism. It first discusses musical modernization under the influence of liberal capitalism and organized capitalism, exploring the early/subsequent trajectories and themes related to musical globalization from the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century and until the 1970s. Under the influence of liberal capitalism (nineteenth century – 1940s), musical modernization meant to balance advantages of west and east, old and new, including the adoption and integration of western sound recording and broadcasting technology and other products of western culture. New technologies and mass media have aided the wide dissemination of popular music and its commodification for profit. The phase of musical modernization has transformed indigenous and national cultural formations under the impact of the spread of western culture on musical practices since the nineteenth century. During the subsequent phase in the history of capitalist hegemony, the Golden Age of Capitalism (1945 until mid-1970s), the US was able to build a successful economy, including a dominating music recording industry, which became driven by the logic of organized capitalism and Fordism as an economic practice, and led toward a “democratic moment” in Western Europe and the US. Since the 1960s, nations in Western Europe and Asia adopted similar economic models and witnessed a huge economic rise. The electronic musical revolution, along with western pop-rock music, spread globally and has affected music cultures all over the world. The structure and workings of the US-based music recording industry became replicated in the local music industries of countries around the world, so that international music industries became similarly marked by the standardization of production patterns and the pop-rock aesthetic. In considering the economic and technological dimensions of globalization and their impact upon society and culture, chapter 1 is also concerned with the politics of othering in popular music under liberal and organized capitalism, as these have been born out of historical, economic, social, and cultural manifestations of modern globalization. The chapter illustrates the politics of othering through racialized and gendered representations in popular music since its beginnings in the late nineteenth century.

Chapter Contributors

  • Simone Krüger Bridge ( - skruger) 'Liverpool John Moores University'