Cassette Culture

Cassette Culture

Product ID: 7607

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Author: Peter Manuel
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2001
Language: English
Pages: 302
ISBN/UPC (if available): 019 565 5362


This volume tells how a new mass medium – the portable cassette player-caused a major transformation in popular culture in India. This work is the first scholarly account of Indian popular music and the first case study of the cultural and social consequences of a technological revolution now occurring throughout the world.

The spread of cassette technology in the 1980s changed 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 have revitalized local subcultures and community values throughout the subcontinent, they also serve as vehicles for regional and political factionalism, new forms of commercialism, and, disturbingly, the most provocative sorts of religious chauvinism.

Manuel covers vast ground to explore the varied aspects of popular music in India; from ghazals to devotional music, from tune-borrowing across genres to the use of cassettes in social movement and elections.

With a new preface, this book will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in modern Indian and the tremendous changes in its cultures and subcultures, popular music, and contemporary global culture.


Preface to the 2001 Edition


Introduction: Theoretical Perspectives

The Impact of Cassettes on the International Recording Industry

The Music Industry and Film Culture up to 1975

The Advent of Cassettes: New Alternatives to His Master’s Voice

Cassettes and the Modern Ghazal

Devotional Music

The Politics of Parody: Tune-Borrowing in Popular and Folk Music

Regional Musics

Rasiya: A Case Study in Commercialization

Cassettes and Sociopolitical Movements

Conclusions: A Micro-Medium in Macro-Perspective


Glossary of Indian-language Terms


Some Recent Parodies in Film Music