From punk to platforms
The future echoes of user-generated content found in Fast Forward cassette magazine and Melbourne’s DIY ‘cassette culture’
In this article I examine Melbourne’s Fast Forward cassette magazine (1980–1982), in order to develop a new theoretical analysis on the significance of cassette tape technology with regard to ‘do-it-yourself’ (‘DIY’) music cultures and neoliberal consumption. Fast Forward was a magazine in the form of a cassette tape, the brainchild of Melbourne music enthusiasts Bruce Milne, Andrew Maine and Michael Trudgeon. It featured new music, audio interviews as well as discussion somewhat like a recorded radio programme. The magazine was a significant proponent of the decentralized, international ‘cassette culture’ that developed in independent music during the 1980s. Recent literature regarding the digital economy considers how rather than mass producing and selling cultural content such as records, major entertainment companies today increasingly sell access to platforms through which content is shared, via subscription or through advertising. I argue that cassette culture offered an early pre-digital instance of this new paradigm shift of consumption, with Melbourne’s Fast Forward cassette magazine being a globally influential proponent of this new attitude towards music media’s participatory potential.
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