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Ingo Bader: "Is the Music Industry a Prototype for the Postfordistic Economy?"

Shifts in urban cultural economy are widely conceived as prototype of Postfordistic restructuring both in the sphere of consumption and production: According to this view, differentiations of lifestyles rather lead to niche than homogeneous styles and markets. Key words in debates on urban cultural economies are flexible production and entrepreneurism, both pivotal elements of Postfordist economy.

A few large enterprises of the global music industry, however, still dominate the market in share and content. The music of the urban revolts emerged since the 1960ies that brought up countercultural music and new forms of industrial organization, the so-called independents, is already incorporated in the major’s networks to a great extend. Nowadays, the commodified form of this culture, the new urban middle class’ lifestyle and the creative city, celebrates not much more than mere mass culture under control of the transnational capital.

I will illustrate the nexus of changes in the urban form and the re-organisation of the music economy from Fordism to Postfordism and will conclude that it is crucial to contrast the assumption of the rise of Postfordism as a process of flexibilization and diversification by a more complex understanding of crisis and of the establishment of more stable and coherent forms.

About the Author

Ingo Bader is a geographer from Berlin and writing his dissertation on creative cities as a new urban regime and the urban cultural economy in Berlin and New York as DFG-fellow of the Transatlantic Research Program Berlin/New York, Center for Metropolitan Studies/ TU Berlin. His research interests are urban economy, urban restructuring, regime theory, and culture. He is co-editor of the book Der Sound der Stadt. Musikindustrie und Subkultur in Berlin (The sound of the city. Music industry and subculture in Berlin).

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