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Reappropriating the Means of Production and Distribution: DIY, Copyleft and 'Alternative' Music
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Centre for HumanIT. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication. (HumanIT)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8225-3447
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In order to reduce effects of various crises and economic breakdowns, maximize profits and to effectively control transformative processes taking place especially in developing countries, global capitalism implements more widespread and deepened versions of copyright legislatures, patent laws and acts related with trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS). According to Jan Nederveen Pieterse such attempts map out the true frontier of global change, a true borderline where we can detect "major corporations, governments in the global north and international institutions on one side, and most developing countries on the other" (Pieterse 2010: 180).

Even if the notion of 'copyleft', a creative attempt to juxtapose copyright and thus disrupt power structures built around it, has been around for few decades now, applications of the idea in music industry is a relatively new phenomenon, and much newer one within the socio-economical context of developing countries. Within this vein this presentation focuses on issues related with 'copyleft' music production in Turkey through a case study on Bandista, radical music collective with strong political and oppositional stance formed in 2006 in Istanbul. Describing its musical performances as "situationist experiment of rage and rapture" Bandista became immensely popular in Turkish political music scenery after releasing its debut album De Te Fabula Narratur in 2009 under the 'copyleft' scheme with the additional motto "It is a present. Copy. Distribute" and in no time formed itself as the leading oppositional music band in Turkey which has a long and vivid history of politicized bands and musicians.

The main sources of information for the article are the interview conducted with Bandista members, as well as reportages about the band appearing in various media. Article tries to look at the issue of 'copyleft' from theoretical perspective outlined by Philip Auslander, with the notion of 'music as performance' in mind, following the classical Marxist differentiation of use-value and exchange-value of commodities, musical products in this case, and argues that 'copyleft' politics emerge as an essential and in many ways revolutionary innovation tool for new music bands, which seek to form themselves as independent actors within the music scene. Even if the structure devised by Bandista is not an employment of classical 'copyleft' scheme, where free and open-source software is put on the Internet, left to be (re)used, (re)programmed and (re)developed by 'others out there', it is an important empowerment strategy, since what Bandista's experience offer is a two-fold liberation tactic, where the first step is the re-appropriation of means of production, that is by engaging in DIY processes, by learning the sound technologies and their engineering, recording and producing the music of one's own; and later on re-appropriation of means of distribution, that is the creative usage of internet websites and portals to distribute produced music for free under the 'copyleft' scheme; where implementation of this tactic culminates in formation of truly organic community of engaged concert participators instead of alienated audiences - thus the full retransformation of the existing musical communication order.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Bandista, 'copyleft' music, Turkey, performance, punk
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-28507OAI: diva2:636957
IAMCR 2013: "Crises, ‘Creative Destruction’ and the Global Power and Communication Orders", IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research), Dublin, IRELAND, 25-29 June 2013.
Available from: 2013-07-15 Created: 2013-07-15 Last updated: 2014-01-31Bibliographically approved

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Mehrabov, Ilkin
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