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Pop Brands

Branding, Popular Music, and Young People


Nicholas Carah and Nicholas Carah

Corporations engage young people and musicians in brand-building activities. These activities unfold in media-dense social spaces. Social networking sites, the user-generated content of web 2.0, live music events, digital cameras and cell phones are all used in constructing valuable brands. This book addresses the integration of popular music culture, corporate branding, and young people’s mediated cultural practices. These intersections provide a rich site for examining how young people build brands within spaces and practices that they perceive as meaningful. The book is based on extensive ethnographic empirical research, drawing on participant observation, textual analysis and interviews with young people, musicians, marketers and other participants in the cultural industries. Contemporary theories of marketing and branding are brought together with critical and cultural accounts of mediated social life. The book explores the distinctive concerns and debates of these different perspectives and the lively interface between them.


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Acknowledgments ix


Acknowledgments This book began life as a series of questions I had about popular cul- ture and marketing. As I’ve grappled with the ideas in this book, at- tempted to figure out the right questions to ask and tried to find the most rewarding pathways I’ve been very fortunate to be given advice from my advisors, colleagues and friends. In particular, I owe much to Eric Louw and Zala Volcic. As advisors on my PhD project, and then as colleagues, thank you both for the many conversations we’ve had, and advice you’ve shared, as I’ve developed this project. Mark Andrejevic has also been very generous reading and discussing argu- ments and ideas over the past few years. Our informal reading group, together with Lincoln Dahlberg and Giles Dodson, was a great space to think through key issues and ideas in communications and cultural fields. I am also grateful to Lynn Schofield-Clark for her extensive insight into my dissertation which helped to extend several of the ideas and arguments in this book. I am very thankful to Sharon Mazzarella who first invited me to develop a book for the Mediated Youth series. Sharon has provided me with advice and direction throughout the process of developing my research project into a book. Mary Savigar and Sophie Appel at Peter Lang have also been very helpful in editing and getting the manu- script ready for publication. Big thanks must also go to Eileen Glass and Ian Carah for reading the first drafts of...

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