Accepted Paper:

Music production and entrepreneurship among urban black youth in South Africa  

Author:

Tuulikki Pietilä (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

The paper studies musical entrepreneurship among urban black youth in South Africa. It argues that these enterprises often draw from earlier, local modes of organizing creative labor in musical production and accommodate these with ideas of ownership drawn from the global music industry.

Paper long abstract:

During the post-apartheid era new, hugely popular music styles have emerged especially in the urban areas of South Africa. Much of this music is made and performed by black youth who come from townships. In addition to artistic creativity, they have shown entrepreneurial initiative by establishing firms that produce and market music and other youth culture products. This is an important development because historically the possibilities for legal enterprising have been very restricted for the urban blacks especially.

This presentation studies how the youth draw from earlier, local cultural modes of organizing creative labor in musical production and accommodate these with ideas and structures of ownership drawn from the global music industry. While innovative, creative and courageous, the new forms of entrepreneurship also tend to reproduce certain problems that are familiar from the earlier local and contemporary global forms of musical production. My material for this presentation comes from numerous conversations and interviews with artists, musicians, recording industry insiders, promoters and fashion label owners in Johannesburg and Cape Town since 2004.

Panel P165
Novel spaces for African youth: creativity, entrepreneurship and political action