Live from the margins : music performance in leisure venues and the migrant creative labor of overseas filipino musicians

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentationPresentation


This paper considers the link between peripheral economies and precarious labor in the creative and cultural industries through an account of overseas Filipino musicians (OFMs) performing in leisure venues in Asia. Current research on popular music performance by migrants in/from Asia and the global South has focused on the production of "original" or "authentic" music to develop creative economies, based on the distinctiveness of local and national cultural products (Connell and Gibson 2003; Brandellero and Pfeiffer 2011). Less attention has been given to the diverse cultural and labor geographies of popular music outside these basic assumptions of place-as-identity and authenticity-as-commodity. One such example is the regular live performance of "Western" music in hotels, theme parks, and cruise ships in Asia by OFMs. Drawing from qualitative data collected from 2012 to 2013 in the Philippines, Macao, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia, I argue that live music entertainment constitutes an overlooked but significant creative industry, notable for its complexity as a migrant labor economy unevenly segmented by race, gender, and other sociospatial categories of differentiation. The precarity inherent in this niche of creative work is intensified through transnational class processes of racialization (McDowell 2008; Kelly 2012), as the migrant creative labor of OFMs is rendered symbolically and economically subordinate to that of their "Western" and local counterparts. In investigating the intersection of peripheral products and precarious labor, I aim to reexamine the ways in which race, place, and migration shape popular music from the margins of "mainstream" creative economies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event2015 Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers - Chicago, Illinois, Chicago, United States
Duration: 21 Apr 201525 Apr 2015


Conference2015 Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers
Abbreviated titleAAG 2015 Chicago
Country/TerritoryUnited States
OtherJoin fellow geographers, GIS specialists, and environmental scientists for the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago, for the latest in research and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience. The AAG Annual Meeting is an interdisciplinary forum open to anyone with an interest in geography and related disciplines. Founded in 1904 as a scientific and educational society, AAG is a growing worldwide network of leading scholars, researchers, professionals, and students. AAG facilitates interdisciplinary networking and collaboration through annual meetings, international workshops, specialty conferences, publications, and research programs.
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