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Popular Music as Promotion: Music and Branding in the Digital Age




Popular Music as Promotion: Music and Branding in the Digital Age

Leslie M. Meier

ISBN: 978-0-745-69221-0 November 2016 Polity 216 Pages


‘Business-as-usual’ has been transformed across the music industries in the post-CD age. Against widespread hype about the purported decline of the major music labels, this book provides a critique of the ways these companies have successfully adapted to digital challenges – and what is at stake for music makers and for culture.

Today, recording artists are positioned as ‘artist-brands’ and popular music as a product to be licensed by consumer and media brands. Leslie M. Meier examines key consequences of shifting business models, marketing strategies, and the new ‘common sense’ in the music industries: the gatekeeping and colonization of popular music by brands.

Popular Music as Promotion is important reading for students and scholars of media and communication studies, cultural studies and sociology, and will appeal to anyone interested in new intersections of popular music, digital media and promotional culture.


Introduction: Popular Music, Branding, and Promotional Culture

1 From Commodities to Commercials? The Rise of Promotion in the Music Industries

2 Capitalizing on Music: From Sound Recordings to 'Artist-Brands'

3 Brands: The New Gatekeepers

4 'Flexible' Capitalism and Popular Music: Branding Culture, Designing 'Difference'

5 Conclusions




"This is a truly excellent book. Based on a wealth of original research, including interviews with music and brand personnel, plus analysis of trade magazines and conventions, it makes a powerful argument about the way popular music has become subsumed under branding and advertising. Important."
Jason Toynbee, formerly of The Open University

"Leslie Meier asks hard questions about what music is for, at a time when corporate brands own, produce and distribute what we listen to. Her analysis of contemporary licensing, digital marketing and artist-brands brings new depth and subtlety to the ongoing tensions between art and commerce. Popular Music as Promotion makes a valuable contribution to critical scholarship on our thoroughly promotional culture."
Melissa Aronczyk, Rutgers University