The DIY Careers of Techno and Drum ā€˜nā€™ Bass DJs in Vienna

  • Rosa Reitsamer University of Applied Arts Vienna
Keywords: Do-It-Yourself careers, DJs, Techno, Drum & Bass, music scenes, Vienna, Bourdieu

Abstract

My empirical research on electronic dance music scenes in Vienna, Austria, explores an area of cultural production that unites the ideology of creativity with the aspirations of social networks and individual entrepreneurship. The model for a DJ's career is a hybrid of inspired musician, compelling performer, marketing genius and business strategist. An economically successful career depends not only on performing in clubs; DJs are also involved in music production, making records, marketing themselves through the media, organizing club nights and running labels. Social and cultural capital is invested in creative freedom, a do-it-yourself ethos, and collective enjoyment, yet these DJs tend to promote the neoliberal economic ideal of the "autonomous cultural entrepreneur" combining self-organisation and self-marketing with unregulated labour and gendered constructions of artist identity. Taking Bourdieu's work on the field of cultural production as a theoretical framework, my analysis of the DJs' modes of self-(re)presentation suggests that the opposition Bourdieu made between art and commerce tends to blur.

Published
2011-05-31
Section
Feature Articles