Reissue programmes

Framing the past as project

Authored by: Elodie A. Roy

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138237636
eBook ISBN: 9781315299310
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter highlights three distinct waves of archival and reissue record labels: first, the pioneering labels, which often arose from institutionalised sound archives; secondly, the commercial reissuing labels and programmes initiated by majors and whose practice was triggered by changes in technological formats; and finally, the smaller, niche independent reissue record labels which developed and survived through the rise of the internet, and often emerged from mp3 blogs in the early 2000s. I illuminate aspects pertaining to these three waves, while drawing attention to their continued interdependence. The chapter opens with a quick panorama of past and current discourses concerning reissuing practices. It then moves on to theorising the two main poles in contemporary reissuing – that of documenting and that of monumentalising the past – through two case studies: the French archival record label Frémeaux & Associés (founded in 1991) and the British record label Finders Keepers (founded in 2005). It finally proposes to go beyond reifying discourses of nostalgic ‘retromania’ and to consider reissuing practices as a dynamic means of producing a rich and valuable musical present.

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