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| | |-+  Globalisation and Commercialisation of Caribbean Music by Mike Alleyne
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Author Topic: Globalisation and Commercialisation of Caribbean Music by Mike Alleyne  (Read 8222 times)
Iniko Ujaama
Posts: 536

« on: April 24, 2010, 07:01:06 PM »

The following is an excerpt from the introduction to a useful analysis of the impact of commercialization and  "globalization" on Caribbean Music. I have my reservations about the use of certain choices of terminology and certain frames of the discussion which I think leaves certain aspects of the phenomenon in the clouds. With a different framing I think it could be connected with wider phenomena and  other pertinent issues which interweave the issue of music, marketing etc. However it provides useful information and perspectives.

The full paper can be accessed at http://www.helsinki.fi/collegium/e-series/volumes/volume_6/006_07_Alleyne.pdf
or one can do a search for the paper using the name of the article and that of the author. A comparable analysis of Hiphop and the effect of commodification and corporatization is "Hiphop is dead" by Kalyana Champlain which can be accessed as a free download at http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/srhonorsprog/109/

Globalisation and Commercialisation of Caribbean Music
by Mike Alleyne

In recent years globalisation has been identified, particularly by developing nations, as a source of major challenges, and in some cases a threat to their very survival. However, its musical manifestation precedes the widespread use of the term in
political contexts, and the representation of the Caribbean’s popular music provides key evidence of this. A central concern of most small cultures is the assimilation and utilisation of foreign influences without distorting the content and representation
of the local. Typically, the recording industry’s corporate motivations have been capitalist rather than cultural, rarely synthesising the two successfully. This raises concerns about the legitimate representation of the music and the communities from which it emerges, when commercialisation dilutes the art to the point where it may become only product.

The homogenising tendencies of globalisation are frequently recognized, when, for example, the expansion of large corporations, such as McDonalds, impinge themselves upon the daily consciousness of the average person from Jamaica to Japan. However,
where popular music is concerned, the encroachments of commerce are not always as readily evident, nor are their long-term consequences. This discussion attempts to shed some light on the historical and textual aspects of Anglophone Caribbean
music and ways in which they are relevant to the music’s “authenticity”. Primarily, I will examine how some early forms of international commercialisation continue to influence the marketing and representation of Caribbean music, with a particular focus
on the reggae era and the marketing of Bob Marley. This approach is important since most studies of Caribbean popular music forms describe them solely as products without acknowledging that they are also ”texts” with which audiences engage.1

1. See, for instance, Kozul-Wright and Stanbury (1998) for an example of a clinical dissection of
industry infrastructure with only occasional allusion to musical textual content.

Pg 2

This engagement drives processes of consumption without which the designation of
popular music as product has little meaning.
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