Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

A long way to the top: The production and reception of music in a globalized world

Posted: March 28th, 2014 | Filed under: Calls for Papers, IASPM Conferences | No Comments »

Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 6-7 November 2014
Keynotes by John Street and Fabian Holt


Once upon a time, a famous rock ‘n’ roll group sang about what it means to play in a music band. In their lyrics they touch upon the role of the music industry (‘getting sold’), the difficulties of a musical career  (‘under-paid’ and ‘getting grey’) and music consumption (‘if you wanna be a star’), while celebrating music for music’s sake. As such, this song addresses many issues in the production and reception of popular music in the contemporary globalized world. Yet, recent developments in the field of music have changed the ‘way to the top’, such as governmental policy on music, the rise of new media, and the growing number of music festivals. Focusing on a select number of interrelated themes, this conference aims to bring together scholars from various countries each with their own perspective to engage in an international exchange of ideas and current research insights about music production and reception.


Regarding the production of music, we aim for papers on – but not strictly limited to – these themes:

  • Music industries and scenes: for example, what challenges are music industries facing in the 21st century? How have their business models changed over the last decade? To what extent is music increasingly produced within translocal and virtual scenes outside of traditional music industries?
  • Careers in pop music: for example, to what extent have artist labor markets changed over the last decades? Have music careers become longer and more flexible? What factors determine success?
  • Pop music policy: for example, to what extent and why do government organizations (national and local) fund what types of music? How are pop musicians promoted abroad and for what reasons? What role does music play in urban development and city branding?
  • New media and pop music: for example, how have streaming services changed music industries?   Did social media affect the marketing of pop music? How do (online) consumer critics affect sales?

Regarding the reception of music, we aim for papers on – but not strictly limited to – these themes:

  • Pop music consumption and identity construction: for example, how important is pop music in processes of bounding and bridging social groups and group identities? How do music fans use the Internet in processes of meaning-making and sacralization?
  • Music performance, festivals and rituals: for example, how can music performances achieve intended transformative effects? How are they clustered in a particular period of time at a particular place? How can we explain the growing popularity of music festivals among international audiences?
  • Pop music, political activism and social movements: for example, what role does pop music play in social change? How politically engaged are pop musicians and what topics do they address?
  • Popular music heritage and tourism: for example, how and which pop music is being canonized? How does this relate to generational conflict, feelings of nostalgia and authenticity?


Please send your abstract of 400 words in English (including a research question, theory and methodology) together with a short biography (100 words), including name, institutional affiliation and position, phone number, postal and e-mail addresses, to: [email protected]

Abstract deadline: 1 June, 2014. Participants will receive notifications of acceptance by 1 August, 2014.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us:

E-mail:  [email protected]

www: www.eshcc.eur.nl/iaspmconference

Also: www.facebook.com/alongwaytothetop


Are you a PhD student? Then definitely consider joining one day earlier to take part in the very first Music Matters Master Class. This master class is hosted in Tilburg as a prelude to the conference in Rotterdam (just 45 min. by train). Also if you can’t make the conference, but would like to discuss your work in an inspiring setting: continue reading! We aim to get together a group of PhD students who conduct research on music and meaning making in the broadest sense. Think of topics such as music in relation to identity formation, rituals, tourism, festivals, and urban and social development: but the scope of the master class is certainly not limited to these topics. We invite proposals that deal with both popular and classical music. We will be asking at least two conference speakers to host the master class.

Please e-mail your proposal to Lieke Wijnia (TiU): [email protected]


In addition, there will be an evening symposium on race/ethnicity and music at Erasmus University Rotterdam which is open to all conference and master class participants. We also welcome abstracts on this topic. This event is linked to the research project Elvis has finally left the building? Boundary work, whiteness and the reception of rock music in comparative perspective (www.elvishasfinallyleft.com). More details will be announced on the conference website and Facebook page as well as in the conference program.

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