Mammon and the Greek Oriental Muse. Rebetika as a Marketing Construct
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This paper is a preliminary exploration of the role of the recording industry in the construction of rebetika as a genre of Greek song in response to evolving market opportunities and constraints. Preoccupied with less mundane issues, discussion of rebetika has hitherto neglected to consider the genre as commodity unless in order to demonise recording companies as corruptors of pristine tradition, or to wallow in minutiae of empirical discography. Today genre is a major organising principle of music business and, notwithstanding the danger of crediting the Greek industry with too much foresight and control, a detailed study of the political economy of rebetika is overdue. This skirmish with some of the main issues, using data from corporate archives, aims to advance such an undertaking.