Join Josh MacPhee for a launch and presentation of his new book An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels, a collection of information about political music and radical cultural production. Focusing on vinyl records, and the labels that produced them, this groundbreaking book traces the parallel rise of social movements in the second half of the twentieth century and the vinyl record as the dominant form of music distribution.
In addition to its function as a record label reference guide, An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels operates as an historical exploration of the relationship between revolutionary politics and the vinyl record. Just as the Civil Rights Movement leaps onto mainstream headlines in the early 1960s, the 33rpm “Long Player” and 45rpm single invade people’s stereos. All the major Civil Rights organizations release vinyl records of speeches, movement songs, and field recordings—setting the pace for the intertwining of social movements and easily distributed sound recordings. This relationship continues through the end of the twentieth century, which marked both the end of apartheid in South Africa and the dominance of the vinyl format.
From A-Disc (the record label of the Swedish Labor Movement) to Zulu Records (the label of free jazz pioneer Phil Choran), An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels is a compelling panorama of political sound and action, including over 750 record labels that produced political music. Each entry features the logo of the label, a brief synopsis of its history, and additional interesting information. Truly international in scope, over two dozen countries and territories are represented, as well as a myriad of musical styles and forms.