Funda Lena

Funda Lena (2017 BİLGİ Communication PhD graduate) graduated from Boğaziçi University with her BA (2004) and MA (2007) degrees in Economics. She graduated ranking second in her BA class and ranking first in the MA class. She is a winner of Alper Orhon Econometrics and Statistics Award (2004) and Murat Sertel Graduate Achievement Award (2005). After having a 5 years of professional experience in the music industry as a singer/songwriter and music producer, she started her PhD study in 2012 in at İstanbul Bilgi University Faculty of Communication and graduated in 2017.

Since the year 2012, Lena has worked as a project coordinator in YEKON Creative İstanbul Ateliers Project funded by İstanbul Development Agency and as a senior researcher in İstanbul Bilgi University Cultural Policy and Management Research Center. She is the coordinator and a founding member of the Cultural Diversity Coalition for Turkey (KEGeP), which is a member of International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD). She works as a part time instructor at İstanbul Bilgi University Department of Arts and Cultural Management. She also has her own research institution (KREKSA) in which she carries out research and consultancy facilities on cultural policy, cultural management and cultural economy.

Research interests: Cultural policy, cultural management, cultural economics, cultural diversity, popular culture, culture industries, music industry, creative city, culture-based development.

Ph.D thesis title: Cultural Diversity in the Music Industry of Turkey.

Abstract:  The principal aim of this dissertation is to investigate whether there exists a significant gap between the level of cultural diversity produced in Turkish music industry and the level of diversity consumed by the majority of the music listeners in Turkey, and to identify the determinants of this gap if it exists. The impact of mainstream music media on the musical preferences of the Turkish society, and hence on the consumed diversity, was specifically analyzed.

Before the research questions were set forth and the answers to these questions looked at, the theoretical and political significance of the cultural diversity issue was discussed. After doing so, consumed and produced levels of diversity in Turkey and in the world, and the impact of the ‘digital revolution’ on these levels were evaluated in light of relevant studies found in the literature. Then the historical progress of diversity in the music industry of Turkey was overviewed based on the popularity of different genres in different eras starting from 1923.

The cultural diversity in the music industry of Turkey of today – with a specific focus on pop music – was thoroughly analyzed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research techniques in Chapter 5. There were three research focuses: music consumption, mainstream music media and alternative music market. First of all, music consumption in Turkey was discussed based on the following question: “What are the musical preferences of people living in Turkey and what factors determine these preferences?” In order to look for an answer to this question and to test the related hypotheses, LCA and multivariate regression analyses were used. Basic findings were the following: the majority of the population likes and listens to the music promoted on the mainstream music media, only a small number of listeners are aware of the alternative artists but at the same time the majority of the listeners have a tendency to like the alternatives, and the factors that determine the musical preferences are: age, gender, education, personality traits such as openness to novelties in music, level of exposure to mainstream music media, taking part in amateur music activities and the familiarity gained through repeated exposure.

As the mainstream music media were found to be significantly influential on the musical preferences, its dynamics were analyzed specifically. This second part of the research was based on in-depth interviews with music media and music industry representatives. It was found that only the songs within certain musical standards that were released by major record labels and/or performed by popular artists were broadcasted on mainstream music media.

The third focus of the dissertation was the alternative music scene in Turkey, which can be accepted as the source of diversity. As for the methodology, in-depth interviews with alternative artists were used. The findings can be summarized as follows: alternative artists face several problems in each phase of music production and distribution, and even though the live music venues and the internet are important channels of promotion for alternative artists, these platforms are insufficient in helping them reach the majority of the population.

This dissertation, which regards the cultural diversity issue from the perspective of and to the benefit of the society, concluded that the way to improve the level of consumed diversity (among the majority of the population) is to diversify the mainstream music media and/or to generate an alternative mainstream. Policy recommendations were made accordingly at the end of the dissertation.

Key words: Cultural diversity, music industry, mainstream music media, pop music, alternative music market.

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