Anthropology of Music Lecture Series 2018
Prof. Timothy Taylor, UCLA
This lecture is an attempt to move beyond the common metaphor of “flows” to describe how music moves in an era commonly thought of as globalized. “Circulation” seems to be a term in frequent usage these days, referring to people as well as goods, an idea has a long history going back to Marxist ideas about the movement of money and is still useful with respect to cultural goods such as music. Drawing on Marx and anthropologists who have studied value and exchange, the lecture argues that things circulate because they have value, and circulation therefore manifests as constant exchanges—of time, money, goods, and more—that constantly (re)make social life and relations. Radio serves as a case study in this paper, especially as it plays an important role in the indie rock scene in southern California. Returning to classic theories of the audience as commodity from Dallas Smythe, which are still useful if released from a strict Marxian framework into broader conceptualizations of value, Timothy Taylor argues that Smythe’s conception is predicated in the idea of exchange, and that Smythe’s insights can be extended and updated from radio and other broadcast media to the circulation of digital media today.
Timothy Taylors third lecture, held at the Anthropology of Music Lecture Series 2018, on June 29