Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Research Colloquium: Days of Independents: Narratives of authenticity in the music industry


Days of Independents: Narratives of authenticity in the music industry, 1940-1990

Lecture Theatre 1, School of Music

The speaker is Simon Warner
(University of Leeds)

Chaired by Silviu Cobeanu

The half-century framed within the title of this presentation is a period in which the independent record label was arguably at its most influential. Such labels were not just seen as visionary, maverick and autonomous, but also associated with musical brands that possessed an ‘authentic’ character.

This colloquium will test some of those assumptions—notions of economic control and artistic authority—and ask to what extent this well-worn mythology has been plausibly founded. Drawing on Frith, Negus, Gillett, Peterson and others, the colloquium will address a series of binary oppositions that reveal a series of sliding signifiers in a quest to identify and pin down the tenets of an authentic ideology linked to the practices of independent music production.

Simon Warner is Visiting Research Fellow in Popular Music at the University of Leeds. He has taken a particular interest in socio-cultural and historical themes in the field, with a principal focus on the inter-relationship between rock music and the the Beat Generation authors of the 1950s. His most recent book is the co-edited collection Kerouac on Record: A Literary Soundtrack (Bloomsbury, 2018).

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