DIY ethic

DIY ethic is the ethic of self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of a paid expert. The "do it yourself" (DIY) ethic promotes the idea that anyone is capable of performing a variety of tasks rather than relying on paid specialists.


Commercial DIY music has its origins in the mid 1970s punk rock scene.[1] It developed as a way to circumnavigate the mainstream music industry.[2] By controlling the entire production and distribution chain, DIY music bands can develop a closer relationship between artists and fans. The DIY ethic gives total control over the final product without need to compromise with record labels.[2]

According to the punk aesthetic, one can express oneself and produce moving and serious works with limited means.[3] Arguably, the earliest example of this attitude was the punk music scene of the 1970s.[4]

Riot grrrl, associated with third-wave feminism, also adopted the core values of the DIY punk ethic by leveraging creative ways of communication through zines and other projects.[5]

Adherents of the DIY punk ethic also work collectively. For example, punk impresario David Ferguson's CD Presents was a DIY concert production, recording studio, and record label network.[6]

See also


  1. Mumford, Gwilym. "Eagulls, Hookworms, Joanna Gruesome: how UK music scenes are going DIY". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  2. Albini, Steve. "Steve Albini on the surprisingly sturdy state of the music industry – in full". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  3. David Byrne, Jeremy Deller (2010) Audio Games, in Modern Painters, March 1, 2010. "I think I embrace a bit of the punk aesthetic that one can express oneself with two chords if that’s all you know, and likewise one can make a great film with limited means or skills or clothes or furniture. It’s just as moving and serious as works that employ great skill and craft sometimes. Granted, when you learn that third chord, or more, you don’t have to continue making 'simple' things, unless you want to. Sometimes that’s a problem."
  4. "Oxford Journal of Design History Webpage". Retrieved 2007-09-24. Yet, it remains within the subculture of punk music where the homemade, A4, stapled and photocopied fanzines of the late 1970s fostered the ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY) production techniques of cut-n-paste letterforms, photocopied and collaged images, hand-scrawled and typewritten texts, to create a recognizable graphic design aesthetic.
  5. Bennet, Andy; Peterson, Richard A. (2004). "Music scenes: local, translocal and virtuas". pp. 116–117.
  6. Jarrell, Joe (26 September 2004). "Putting Punk in Place--Among the Classics". San Francisco Chronicle. pp. PK–45.

Further reading

  • Thomas Bey William Bailey, Unofficial Release: Self-Released And Handmade Audio In Post-Industrial Society, Belsona Books Ltd., 2012
  • Brass, Elaine; Sophie Poklewski Koziell (1997). Denise Searle (ed.). Gathering Force: DIY Culture – Radical Action for Those Tired of Waiting. London: Big Issue. ISBN 1-899419-01-2.
  • Kimmelman, Michael (April 14, 2010). "D.I.Y. Culture". The New York Times Abroad. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  • McKay, George (1996). Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties. London: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-028-0.
  • George McKay, ed. (1998). DiY Culture: Party & Protest in Nineties Britain. New York: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-260-7.
  • Graham St John (ed.). FreeNRG: Notes From the Edge of the Dancefloor. Altona: Commonground. ISBN 1-86335-084-5.
  • Smith, G. and Gillett, A. G., (2015). "Creativities, innovation, and networks in garage punk rock: A case study of the Eruptörs". Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, 9-24
  • Wall, Derek (1999). Earth First and the Anti-Roads Movement: Radical Environmentalism and Comparative Social Movements. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-19064-9.
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