Discussing Globalization
Local conference

School of Economics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki, March 4, 2002



The literature in Greek lacks sociological analyses of the recording industry and mass musical culture, although they both have a long tradition in this country. The objectives of this paper are to contribute in filling this gap and to support the argument - based on a given example - that globalization is a complex social phenomenon. The case of the recording industry indicates that globalization goes far beyond the economic phenomena, contrasting the view that this is a purely or mainly economic phenomenon. The argument about globalization as a complex and multidimensional social phenomenon is supported by analysing fundamental social changes in which the origins of the globalization of the music industry can be traced. It is also supported by the analysis of its cultural consequences.

The background of globalization in the field of music includes its specific status and functions in modern societies. It also includes the structure of the global recording industry whose main features may be traced back at the beginning of the 20th century. However, beyond the inner logic of the musical culture itself, the development of the global recording industry - by the end of the 20th century - is related and interacts with broader social processes and phenomena. According to this approach, the paper concludes that globalization cannot be the result of subjective choices and decisions, contrasting some of the arguments found in the local and international literature. At the same time, the paper argues that the current form or type of globalization is not the only one possible, based on the assumption that there are several other choices and possibilities for alternative forms or types of globalization, open to the social actors.