The new book, Labels. Making Independent Music, by CCS Faculty Fellow & AJCS Associate Editor Ian Woodward , and Yale Sociology/CCS graduate and Faculty Fellow Dominik Bartmanski has been published by Bloomsbury Anthropology. The mainstream music industry is dominated by three large companies. Yet outside of it, thousands of small independent record labels have developed despite the fact that digitalization made record sales barely profitable. How can those outsiders not only survive but thrive under the new conditions? What makes them meaningful to their owners and audiences? Instead of a focus on the material object and its affordances as explored in their Vinyl book (Bloomsbury, 2015), in their new collaboration Labels they study the business of making music from a cultural vantage point. The book focuses on independent, musically innovative record labels in electronic, techno, ambient, drone, & experimental styles. As well as personal stories of music-making and sonic scenes, the book connects to consideration of cities, politics, art, lifestyle, entrepreneurship, and the business of cultural resistance.
CCS Faculty Fellow Eduardo de la Fuente and David Inglis have provided comments on advance proofs of the book:
“In Labels, a worthy successor to Vinyl, Bartmanski and Woodward demonstrate just how far discussions of creativity, markets and cities have come in just 20 years. The book moves nimbly between an account of ‘independent’ music labels and their differentiation from the ‘mainstream.’ For me, the most refreshing aspect of Bartmanski’s and Woodward’s argument is the invocation of Sennett’s The Craftsman. Like Sennett, the authors propose making is as important as consuming, perfectionism and functionality can be tempered with respect for constraint and contingency, and cities and their spaces may just be where we (re)discover post-fordist or post-industrial forms of ‘cooperation’.” – Eduardo de la Fuente, University of Wollongong, Australia
“Not only a detailed study of today’s independent music recording scenes, but also a compelling and accessible account of contemporary creativity, freedom and self-expression, Labels will appeal as much to music aficionados as to social scientists. It is as rich, diverse and fascinating as the cultural worlds it evokes.” – David Inglis, University of Helsinki, Finland