Cassette Culture: Popular Music and Technology in North India

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 1993 - Music - 302 pages
In Cassette Culture, Peter Manuel tells how a new mass medium—the portable cassette player—caused a major upheaval in popular culture in the world's second-largest country. The advent of cassette technology in the 1980s transformed India's popular music industry from the virtual monopoly of a single multinational LP manufacturer to a free-for-all among hundreds of local cassette producers. The result was a revolution in the quantity, quality, and variety of Indian popular music and its patterns of dissemination and consumption.

Manuel shows that the cassette revolution, however, has brought new contradictions and problems to Indian culture. While inexpensive cassettes revitalized local subcultures and community values throughout the subcontinent, they were also a vehicle for regional and political factionalism, new forms of commercial vulgarity, and, disturbingly, the most provocative sorts of hate-mongering and religious chauvinism.

Cassette Culture is the first scholarly account of Indian popular music and the first case study of a technological revolution now occurring throughout the world. It will be an essential resource for anyone interested in modern India, communications theory, world popular music, or contemporary global culture.


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Theoretical Perspectives
The Impact of Cassettes on the International Recording
The Music Industry and Film Culture up to 1975
New Alternatives
Financial and Technological Aspects of the Cassette Industry
MusicIndustry Organizations
Compact Discs
Devotional Music
TuneBorrowing in Popular
Regional Musics
A Case Study in Commercialization
Cassettes and Sociopolitical Movements
A MicroMedium in MacroPerspective
Glossary of IndianLanguage Terms
Some Recent Parodies in Film Music

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About the author (1993)

Peter Manuel is assistant professor in the Department of Art, Music, and Philosophy at John Jay College (City University of New York). His other publications include Popular Musics of the Non-Western World, Thumri in Historical and Stylistic Perspectives, and Essays on Cuban Music.

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