Skip to main content

Music in the World

Selected Essays

In music studies, Timothy D. Taylor is known for his insightful essays on music, globalization, and capitalism. Music in the World is a collection of some of Taylor’s most recent writings—essays concerned with questions about music in capitalist cultures, covering a historical span that begins in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and continues to the present. These essays look at shifts in the production, dissemination, advertising, and consumption of music from the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century to the globalized neoliberal capitalism of the past few decades.

In addition to chapters on music, capitalism, and globalization, Music in the World includes previously unpublished essays on the continuing utility of the concept of culture in the study of music, a historicization of treatments of affect, and an essay on value and music. Taken together, Taylor’s essays chart the changes in different kinds of music in twentieth- and twenty-first-century music and culture from a variety of theoretical perspectives.

240 pages | 13 halftones, 4 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2017

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Music: Ethnomusicology, General Music

Philosophy: Aesthetics

Sociology: Theory and Sociology of Knowledge


“Successfully demonstrates how we can build theory from the ground up by being attentive to context and observing music in action. . .Though largely featuring essays originally published in different venues, the book proves remarkably cohesive, with several argumentative threads reoccurring throughout.”

Journal of Radio and Audio Media

“Taylor’s work is mature, commanding, ambitious, and desperately needed. He is one of very few ethnomusicologists who have put capitalism at the center of their critical questions, historicizing different forms of free enterprise culture that have shaped music production, consumption, and dissemination over the last hundred years. By naming things that have previously been treated amorphously by music scholars, Taylor brings into sharp focus the core dynamics of global music industries. Music in the World offers a trenchant theoretical framework. For Taylor, theory never plays out on an abstract or ahistorical plane.”

Deborah Wong, University of California, Riverside

Music in the World is a critical reference for engaging dynamics of contemporary musical globalization. But it is considerably more: a deep exploration of the value of meaning and the meaning of value in music under capitalism.”

Steven Feld, School for Advanced Research

Table of Contents

List of Music Examples
Introduction: Culture, Capitalism, Globalization, Music
1 The Absence of Culture in the Study of Music
2 Music and Affect in the West: The First 2,000 Years
3 The Commodification of Music at the Dawn of the Era of “Mechanical Music”
4 The Role of Opera in the Rise of Radio in the US
5 Stravinsky and Others
6 World Music Festivals as Spectacles of Genrefication and Diversity
7 Fields, Genres, Brands
8 Neoliberal Capitalism, UNESCO, and the Reenchantment of Culture
9 Globalized Neoliberal Capitalism and the Commodification of Taste
10 Valuing Music

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press