"If we understand the invasion of Vietnam as the most ambitious adventure of American imperialism, itself the "highest stage" of capital- ism, and at the same time its most catastrophic reversal to date, and if we understand rock and roll as the summary late capitalist art form, which during the period of the war replaced Hollywood as the primary vehicle of cultural imperialism but also became the arena of many kinds of dissent - if we understand rock and the war in such extended ways, then the integration of an international cultural economy in a similarly globalized economy of the political was clearly inevitable." (James, 1989:123)
My argument here is that the beginning of a global cultural order could be seen to have begun at this point in time. What is interesting though is I do not believe that all culture from then has only been a homogenization and heteronization of an American one. All too often global cultural flow and trends are linked back to one parental source totally disregarding the very real processes of deterritorialization and indigenization.
Put simply the argument that the homogenization and heteronization of one culture over all others to to explain modern cultural phenonoma is not valid. The technological advances and political relations of the modern world have allowed for an increase in physical and theoretical culture flow. Therefore ideas, beliefs, trends and attitudes are not confined to one area. Nor are they transferred in exchange from one place to another. They are rather passed around frequently and randomly throughout people, nations and cultures without discrimination and without regulation. (Appadurai, 1990)
So how is this process relevant to music? Genres of music are introduced and exchanged through the media and through the movement or displacement of ethnic groups (deterritorialization). So while the media is undoubtedly U.S dominated especially when it comes to popular music, deterritorialization is a somewhat random global process. Combine these factors with the process of indiginization and we are left with a musical world that defies the logic of a cultural hegemony.
Hip Hop for example can be seen as emanating from America it could not be said that all subsequent genres operate within a strictly American form. Indonesian Hip Hop by and large does not feature swearing while the content primarily is socio/political. Australian Hip Hop generally does not aspire to the Bling aesthetic of American Hip Hop and carries on more of a yarn or storytelling sensibility that has been a part of Australian culture for many years before (pre Hip Hop). J-pop in Japan is Beatles inspired Japanese Popular Music infusing both Western and traditional forms and practices. Group Sounds an offshoot of J-pop inspired by Western rock adopts the major second a interval common to western rock music while still being influenced by the Japanese pentatonic scale and the distortional tetrachord. (Matsuoka: 2003)
Therefore even in this small sample of examples it is clear that popular music is created through an international cultural exchange. Its identity is fluid and subject to the processes of appropriation and localization on a global scale.
*Appadurai, A (1990) "Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy," Theory, Culture and Society 7 (2 and 3, July): 295-310
*James, D (1989) The Vietnam War and American Music, Social Text No. 23 Autumn pp. 122-143, Duke University Press, http://www.jstor.org/stable/466424, Accessed 01/05/2010
*Matsuoka, S (2000) J-Pop, http://www.isis.ne.jp/mnn/senya/senya0201.html Accessed 2/5/2010.