Wednesday, May 24, 2023
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm | Music 2406 (Music Library)

“Making Musicians Productive Laborers” continues my interest in the problem of how capitalists venture into spaces “outside” of capitalism, and how things “outside” of capitalism are brought into it. This chapter employs Anna Tsing’s work on scalability to examine music managers, who act as chiefs of staff for musicians, helping them build their team of lawyers, publicists, agents, and more, attempting to make what is nonscalable—a musician (who can only write so many songs, give so many concerts, make so many recordings)—as un-nonscalable as possible. Music managers attempt to transform their clients into productive laborers whose work can be scaled through attempts to build and maintain an audience and loyal fanbase.

Timothy D. Taylor, a professor in the Departments of Ethnomusicology, Anthropology, and Musicology at UCLA, is an interdisciplinary social scientist who studies capitalism and other economic issues, globalization, consumer culture, and technology as they relate to music. He is the author of over 50 articles and chapters, and many books, including: Global Pop: World Music, World Markets (Routledge, 1997), Strange Sounds: Music, Technology and Culture (Routledge, 2001), Beyond Exoticism: Western Music and the World (Duke, 2007), The Sounds of Capitalism: Advertising, Music, and the Conquest of Culture (Chicago, 2012), Music and Capitalism: A History of the Present (Chicago, 2016), Music in the World: Selected Essays (Chicago, 2017), and editor, with Mark Katz and Tony Grajeda, of Music, Sound, and Technology in America: A Documentary History of Early Phonograph, Cinema, and Radio (Duke, 2012). An ethnographic study of film and television musicians in Los Angeles, Working Musicians: Labor and Creativity in Film and Television Production, will be published in 2023 by Duke University Press.

Organized by the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music and cosponsored by Ethnomusicology Forum.

Event Details

  • Laura Langan

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