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date: 23 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines virtual music culture from the viewpoint of an independent micro label, Ektro Records, based in Finland. Micro labels are small record producers who subscribe to uncompromising aesthetic and countercultural ideologies. These labels have a complex relationship with virtual music culture, which undermines their economic infrastructure and challenges their subversive position as cultural producers. Although the globalization and elimination of intermediaries by virtual media has advantaged micro labels, labels specializing in physical formats such as Ektro Records are affected by declining sales. Furthermore, micro labels have to compete with the free distribution promoted in the virtual music culture at providing alternatives to the music industry and defending artistic autonomy from commodification. However, it is argued that there is still a need for micro labels in the virtual music culture, and their continuing usefulness to micro labels such as Ektro.

Keywords: popular music, record production, micro labels, independent labels, digital music, digital distribution, disintermediation, virtual music culture, vinyl records, counterculture

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