4- Popular music in Iran 40 years after the 1979 revolution – Siavash Rokni, UQAM

9:00 AM, Sunday 26 May 2019 (2 hours)
Coffee break   11:00 AM to 11:30 AM (30 minutes)
This paper aims to explore the state of popular music in Iran at “the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Revolution in Iran, which effected a ban on popular music in that country” (CSTM, 2019). It poses the following two questions : What has happened since 40 years ago? What is the state of popular music in Iran today? The paper begins by contextualizing the reasons behind pop music's ban from religious (Khamenei, 2000) as well as ideological (Maghazei, 2014; Siamdoust, 2017) perspectives. It then traces the rise of official pop music in the post Iran-Iraq war era in 1990's from Rafsanjani's (1989-1997) technocratic approach (Maghazei, 2014) to Mohammad Khatami's (1997-2005) cultural approach and his discourse around dialogue between civilizations (Masroori, 2007). Here, I argue that post war pop music began as a response to the dominance of the diaspora pop music industry based in Los Angeles in Iran (Hemasi, 2015) and moved to invent its own identities and narratives (Siamdoust, 2017). It finally looks at the impact of the legacy of Khatami era policies as well as the expansion of new media technologies (satellite, cellular phones and the Internet) on the pop music genre and its industry in Iran since mid 2000's. The paper concludes by mapping out the trends in popular music industry including the popularization of live shows, the rise of music e-commerce and the advent of gossip in the country.
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