Reissuing alternative music heritages

the materiality of the niche reissued record and challenging what music matters

Sophia Maalsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Increasing value is being placed on popular music as cultural heritage. This article addresses this interest through the overlooked practice of reissue, which acts to curate and preserve musical heritage, presenting it in a way that emphasizes music’s materiality. I will first look at the rise of popular music as heritage before looking at specific reissue labels—Sing Sing Records and Smithsonian Folkways—that demonstrate the multiplicities of music considered worth salvaging and the motivations for doing so. The reissue process is addressed, including its role in packaging music in ways that signify and inform the listener of its cultural significance. It is argued that reissue labels rescue underground music that is not encompassed by the two major label reissues of rock classics or the music recognized by official heritage bodies, and therefore creates an alternative discourse to mainstream music heritage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-531
Number of pages16
JournalPopular Music and Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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