While more than 80 percent of the world’s commercial music is controlled by four multinational firms, most music is made and enjoyed in diverse situations divorced from such corporate behemoths. These fourteen original essays examine the fascinating world of “music scenes,” those largely inconspicuous sites where clusters of musicians, producers, and fans explore their common musical tastes and distinctive lifestyle choices.
Although most music scenes come and go with hardly a trace, they nevertheless give immense satisfaction to their participants, and a few—New York bop jazz, Merseybeat, Memphis rockabilly, London punk, Bronx hip-hop—achieve fame and spur musical innovations. To date, serious study of the scenes phenomenon has focused mainly on specific music scenes while paying less attention to recurrent dynamics of scene life, such as how individuals construct and negotiate scenes to the various activities. This volume remedies that neglect.
The editors distinguish between three types of scenes—local, translocal, and virtual—which provide the organizing framework for the essays. Aspects of local scenes, which are confined to specific areas, are explored through essays on Chicago blues, rave, karaoke, teen pop, and salsa. The section on translocal scenes, which involve the coming together of scattered local scenes around a particular type of music and lifestyle, includes articles on Riot Grrrls, goths, art music, and anarcho-punk. Aspects of virtual scenes, in which fans communicate via the internet, are illustrated using alternative country, the Canterbury sound, post-rock, and Kate Bush fans. Also included is an essay that shows how the social conditions in places where jazz was made influenced that music’s development.