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Niche, Ethnic and Global Operations

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Models of Production and Circulation of East Asian Popular Music

image of European Journal of East Asian Studies

Recent writings on the new media emphasise how the gateless and equalising nature of digital platforms have enabled freer circulation of cultural products around the world and increased the global visibility and popularity of non-Western media content, including popular music products. These writings, however, fail to account for the intermediary role of market participants in patterning the specific consumption and circulation of products. This paper thus comparatively examines the rise and circulation of three East Asian popular musics, J-pop, C-pop and K-pop, and how their differential spread and success have been achieved on the basis of distinctly elaborated organisational strategies in the midst of rising digitisation. The article argues that industry participants of the three East Asian locations, embedded within their respective historical, social and market environments, strategised their courses of actions differently to elaborate distinct models of musical production and circulation. The author conceptualizes each operational model as ‘niche’, ‘ethnic’ and ‘global’, respectively.

Affiliations: 1: National University of Singapore


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