chapter  10
25 Pages

Late Capitalism on Vinyl

Neoliberalism, Biopolitics, and Music
WithJeffrey R. Di Leo

This chapter is a trenchant cultural investigation of not just the importance of music to life, but specifically correlative questions: “What is the capacity of music to “foster life” and to “disallow it to the point of death”? Beginning with continuities and contrasts between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Miles Davis in this key, it then goes on to map the vital theoretical coordinates of the political economy of music and music’s power over life. Since Foucault offers little directly in this regard, it tracks an alternative genealogy via Friedrich Nietzsche, Jacques Attali, and Brian Massumi that is to some extent symptomatic in Foucault’s critique of biopower and biopolitics. Attali, in particular, emerges as a key figure, not just in the theorization of music per se, but in his understanding of specific modes of commodification and circulation within late capitalism and neoliberalism. Thus, it provides both a biotheory of culture, and a prime example of the place of music in the logic of political economy.