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Kaitajärvi-Tiekso, Juho (UTA): Dynamics of Record Production in Finland in the Age of Internet

During the last few decades, the distribution capability of recorded music via the Internet and the availability of sound processing software have developed to the point where the structures of production have changed essentially in Western countries. This shift has many sides, which can be compressed into three perspectives. Firstly, acquiring physical recordings are to a great extent, being replaced in the mass market by on-demand services on the Internet, such as YouTube or Spotify. The demand for physical recordings is thus declining, yet sustained by special groups. Secondly, the recordings are produced less by specialized professionals and more by a larger group of amateur musicians and producers. Thirdly, records can be used by audiences more creatively in terms of sharing their collections and playlists; for example, by producing their own mixes and music videos of already existing audio-visual material. In relation to this, distribution of copyrighted artistic material is harder to control, and claims for copyright-free distribution of recorded music are popular.

The research project, "Dynamics of Record Production in Finland in the Internet Age", examines the transformations in the culture of recorded music in three themes: the new role of small-scale record producers, the convergence of professional and amateur production, and the dynamics of power in production of records in Finland in the 21st century.  The study concentrates on the neglected viewpoint of small record producers, such as independent micro labels. In general, micro labels produce limited editions aimed at small, but dedicated audience who have a special interest in defending certain artistic or ideological positions, one of which, for example, is preference for physical audio formats. These labels can be thought of as producers, who have traditionally supported cultural or ideological values alternative to the values of the market's hegemonic production. However, due to the shift in the possibilities for production and distribution of music, even amateur musicians are able to record and share their recordings easily: how does this influence the dynamics of the record industries? Micro labels are in the key position in mapping the tensions between art and commerce, or amateurism and professionalism. They balance in the grey area between these binaries – which themselves are supposed to melt in the light of new, creative economy and technological democratization.

More information:
Juho Kaitajärvi
http://www.kudoskollektiivi.fi/p/juho-kaitajarvi.html (in Finnish)