Putting a premium on music
Exploring the vinyl revival in the Philippines
Keywords:Philippines, popular music, revival, technostalgia, vinyl
The twenty-first century has seen a revival of the vinyl record in many parts of the world. Based on ethnographic research, I investigate its so-far unexplored resurgence in Metro Manila, the capital region of the Philippines, contending that vinyl is charged with social meanings and that revivals reimagine the past for the present. I examine vinyl's manifold social meanings and the reasons for its newfound popularity through a multidimensional enquiry into vinyl's status as a 'premium product' in the Philippine context. First, I consider developments in the music industry and socio-economic factors playing into the value and status of vinyl. Second, I probe vinyl's symbolic potential as a marker of social class, cosmopolitanism and urban lifestyle. Third, drawing on notions of technostalgia and vinyl's multisensory affordances, I examine how vinyl's status as a premium product is established and reinforced by the lifestyle stores Satchmi and Heima, which market records and their associated appliances. Lastly, I show how vinyl's status is actively employed to promote local independent music and to counter its marginalization in the Philippine mediascape.
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