Editoriale

Enabling Culture in enabling development

di Stefano Monti

Enabling Culture in enabling development

This number of Tafter Journal reflects on “music”, and “music industry” as two distinct but, after all, clearly connected phenomena, by highlighting the mutual relationship between “contemporary cultural content” and “contemporary cultural industry”. Since human beings became citizens of a world bigger than them, they understood the need for production and distribution systems in order to reach any kind of goods and services. Culture makes no exception. In this sense, when we look at cultural production, both in the sense of professional production of contents and in the meaning of active consumption of culture, we should fix our attention to the fact that culture need industrial means to survive. This kind of relationship is even clearer in music production, where the organizational aspects are part of the of the production itself. This kind of relationship should be clear when we look at music market data. Focusing on a small-sized country such as Italy is, it is possible to understand it in an easier way: when we discover that, among the 20 Italian regions, two of them, and namely, Lombardy and Lazio, host the 40% of music distribution companies, the 40% of music management companies, the 37% of record labels, the 31% of music events and concert organization agencies, and, the 41% of audience expenditures, we’re not describing only the geographic distribution of music production, we’re defining where, and how, our cultural contents are developed and disseminated. We can detect the effects of this kind of geographical distribution, or, this sort of this “cultural mechanics” in both the article of this number. Clementina Casula, in her article, focuses on how artistic and cultural production are key aspects in processes of enhancement of a more inclusive and egalitarian social fabric, by discussing the results of an “empirical qualitative research on two Italian female brass bands, emerging in quite different territorial and organizational contexts, but both contributing to challenging those gender biases, prescriptions and practices still hampering women’s full participation both to music worlds and social life in general”. On the other hand, the article of Limongelli, that we’ve chosen to re-publish in this issue, reflects on the strong relationship between the rise of innovative start-ups in the music industry and the number of artists involved in the creation of cultural content addressed to niche audiences. Together, the articles could define a “connection” that should interest many territorial administrators: while most of the music consumption (not including concerts or events) is managed through online platforms, music production still remains an enabling “engine” for territorial development. This implies further several reflections in the strategic development of our cities: digital marketplaces can be today intended as one of the main distribution channels of music content, and, today, there are more and more young artists starting their careers by simply uploading their works on a social network. By promoting not only cultural active consumption, but also cultural production, territorial administrators could lead our city in reaching both, the social desired effects that culture produces, and the economic development of a “little music industry”, which could help territorial emerging artists in carrying on their passions without the need to “leave” for the “big city”. By interpreting our territories as “spots” of bigger networks, our cultural production (music production in this case, but also artistic production could be shaped in this way), could show interesting features also for the development of a production system better fitting also for the exportation of cultural goods and services. The web taught us the potentialities of networks. We just need to understand that networks work also in the “real world”.

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Reti creative

Music Industry: between indie productions and innovative startups

di Lara Limongelli

In these times we used to talk about every kind of art expression as performative acts: for visual arts and also for music. Like all performing art, also music introduces itself as a theatrical experience, an all encompassing and communal experience – the involvement of spectators for first, feelings, the emotional power from the rituals surrounding these shows, the experience. In this cultural landscape, in our times, two things seems in opposition, but they don’t: on the one hand, the introduction and the diffusion of new technologies creates open space to experimental form, sort of mash up between music, video and interactive systems ( it results from the tradition of the experimental music from 1970, with personality as Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, Robert Wilson, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and many more), even introducing AI (artificial intelligence[1]) or VR (virtual reality), the simple streaming vision of a live show, and also more relevant implications for music business. On the other hand, economic crisis put every musicians in the necessity of embracing new ways of sharing, creating and selling music. This necessity often is a translation of a new kind of diy (“do it yourself” practice) for musicians, producers, promoters, helped by digital technology: this is not valid only for live events (different places from the institutional ones, as record store, Blutopia [2] in Rome for example, or clubs, different tour management or self-promotion with the use of social media and video sharing) but also for single musicians, emerging bands or labels and associations. As an interesting article writes about music business – which we can extend also to music and musicians in general: “the music business has been through a number of changes in the last fifteen years, and has often found itself at odds with emerging technology (…) Decimated by piracy and services like Napster, record companies tried to adapt, first by selling mp3s and then finally agreeing to join forces with commercial streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Those services represent an ever-growing portion of revenue for labels and artists, but one big problem remains – they fail to make up for the loss of income due to declining CD sales. Fortunately, there are a number of new technologies that will bring major changes – and significant financial gains – to the music business.[3]”

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Boosting gender equality through music production. A case study on two Italian female brass bands

di Clementina Casula

The new centrality of the cultural and creative sectors in the socio-economic development of contemporary capitalist societies has brought to acknowledge arts and culture as a fundamental asset for territorial development. The debate has mostly focussed on the potential role of artistic and cultural production in boosting the attractiveness both of cities acting in a competitive global scenario as well as relatively remote locations neglected by standard tourist routes. Less attention, however, has been paid to its transformative action in the social fabric, requiring the analysis to include an ethical dimension within discourses on socio-economic development. In this article I will adopt the latter perspective, considering the potential contribution of artistic and cultural production to the process of enhancing democratic and inclusive morphologies in local territories (UCLG 2021). The discussion will be based on an empirical qualitative research on two Italian female brass bands, emerging in quite different territorial and organizational contexts, but both contributing to challenge those gender biases, prescriptions and practices still hampering women’s full participation both to music worlds and social life in general.

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