How Would You Like Your Alternative Music? New Media and Cultural Capital in Transition

Güven U. Z.

Global Media Journal, vol.6, pp.496-512, 2016 (International Refereed University Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Title of Journal : Global Media Journal
  • Page Numbers: pp.496-512


The main objective of this paper is to question the changing aspects of musical preferences under the influence of new media and communication technologies with a particular focus on the complex subgenre of alternative music, drawing upon a small-scale audience analysis study in Istanbul. During the past few decades, from the standpoint of audience analyses within the sociology of music, interest in rock music, especially among younger generations, has been largely deemed as a component of identity construction and a means of displaying an anti-main stream taste in music marked by a countercultural attitude. Given the fact that one’s taste in music has been an indicator of social status with its relationship to one’s level of cultural capital, interest in alternative music as part of the rock music sphere in Turkey, as elsewhere in the world, has been considered as a symptom of an interest in the off-the-beaten- path culture fragments. However, in our contemporary era, with the advent of new media, cultural preferences including musical choices have been predominantly affected by what is presented as alternative by the interactive mechanisms of diverse new media. This paper thus addresses the function of new media tools in the reconfiguration of alternative music among young adult listeners in Istanbul. Employing a qualitative research method, this study draws upon information from 17 in-depth interviews with listeners in Istanbul who reported alternative music as their favorite genre. From an interdisciplinary point of view, this paper aims to reevaluate the meaning and representation of alternative music under the transformative impact of new media in Turkey and to redefine the musical experiences and practices of young adult alternative music listeners in Istanbul.