Commodification of culture

Jeffrey Booth booth2 at
Wed Sep 27 10:28:09 MDT 1995

	Not "off point at all", old boy.  I started the band thing going
because the band I mentioned, as well as others posted since then, SING
ABOUT sell-outs and the general exploitation faced by inner-city youth.
	Listen to the music!  Not all theory and knowledge comes from academia.

					-- Jeff Booth

On Tue, 26 Sep 1995, Tom Condit wrote:

> Dear comrades:
> I've been looking at the various postings about leftwing bands,
> etc., with considerable interest. Rather than add a few more of my
> own, I thought I'd reproduce the original post which gave rise to
> these little notes.  The acute reader will note that most of the
> responses have been, as lawyers say, "off point".
> *****
> Date: Thu, 21 Sep 1995 13:05:21 -0700 (PDT)
> Subject: research topic
> Hi, I'm a student at Sonoma State university in California and I'm
> doing a research paper on class consciousness.  My topic is on the
> commodification of inner city class consciousness, vis a vis rap
> songs, movies, etc.  I'm interested in studying who profits from
> the selling of this "hip-hop" culture, and if these profits are
> invested back into the community i.e. schools, jobs, health care
> etc...  I'm searching for any literature that I can use for my
> research.  I'd appreciate any suggestions or resources I can get.
> Thanks!
> *****
> I must say that I am myself almost totally ignorant on this
> subject. I know the work of Simon Frith and Dave Marsh on
> capitalism and rock-and-roll, and I believe that quite a bit of
> stuff has been done on Motown.  Who does profit from hip-hop?  How?
> What are the channels?  I'm just as curious as "BOCOBO".
> One starting point with hip-hop, etc., is the role of lawyers in
> taming "house music" by asserting the "intellectual property
> rights" of the supposed originators of every "sampled" sound or
> phrase.  It now can cost up to $30,000 in lawyers' fees just to get
> copyright clearances before a record is even issued.  This has
> effectively destroyed the grassroots character of the music.
> (I say "supposed originators" because music is deeply rooted in
> centuries-old traditions and almost everything is a variation on a
> theme by someone else.  In the 1950s, the record industry began a
> campaign to get as much music as possible out of the public domain.
> If you will look at records of blues, country music, etc., up to
> about 1950, you'll see an enormous number of tunes marked as
> "traditional".  From the early 1950s on, "authors" begin to be
> assigned to these tunes, followed by royalty claims against anyone
> else recording them.)
> Anyway, the band lists are nice, but does anyone have any help for
> BOCOBO's research paper?
> Tom Condit
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