- Ph.D., 2007 — University of Chicago
- M.A., 2000 — University of Chicago
- B.A., 1995 — Whitman College
Jayson Beaster-Jones is an ethnomusicologist whose work focuses upon the music industry of India. His first book entitled Bollywood Sounds: The Cosmopolitan Mediations of Hindi Film Song (2014, Oxford University Press) explores 70 years of Bollywood film songs and their musical and social meanings. Bollywood Sounds illustrates how the producers of Indian film songs have long mediated a variety of musical styles, instruments, and performance practices to create a uniquely cosmopolitan music genre that has been the dominant popular music genre of India. His current research project, Music as Merchandise: Music Commodities, Markets, and Values in India examines music retail stores as sites of cultural production in contemporary India, focusing in particular upon the kinds of economic and social values that are produced as music is sold, as well as the meanings that accompany music commodities in retail contexts. The project also addresses the cultural and media histories of the Indian music industry, the discourses of piracy and intellectual property, and the social changes that have accompanied India’s economic liberalization reforms.
He received his B.A. (1996) in Music and Anthropology at Whitman College and his M.A. (2000) and Ph.D. (2007) in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. He has previously taught courses at Augustana College (SD) and Texas A&M University. Beaster-Jones has conducted several years of ethnographic research in North India and has been the recipient of grants from the Fulbright-Hays DDRA, the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies at the University of Chicago, the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, and the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University. He has presented his research at a number of professional conferences and was the 2008 recipient of the Lise Waxer Prize of the Popular Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology for the paper entitled “Indexing the Past, Selling the Future.” He has published in the journals Ethnomusicology, Popular Music, and South Asian Popular Culture in addition to book chapters in several edited volumes.
- Music, semiotics, anthropological linguistics
- Commodification of music, music industries, intellectual property
- Indian musics and Bollywood film songs
- Jazz and improvisatory musics
- Music and multimedia