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Pop Brands

Branding, Popular Music, and Young People


Nicholas Carah

Edited By 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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Chapter One


‘Money and TV destroyed this thing!’: Mediated Youth, Popular Music and the Brandscape ‘Money and TV destroyed this thing!’ In 2006, Iggy & The Stooges took to the main stage of Australia’s Big Day Out summer music festival and unleashed an authentic blast of original garage rock. Iggy Pop, dubbed by the music press as the God- father of Punk, implored the audience to get up on stage. ‘Fuck securi- ty!’ he screamed, ‘Get up here!’ Security resisted. Iggy became agitated about the regulation of the event and the passivity of the crowd. ‘Money and TV destroyed this thing!’ he growled at the crowd. Iggy & The Stooges performing at the 2006 Big Day Out. Note the raised cameras in the audience capturing the action as Iggy leans over the front of stage into the crowd, while audience members he has invited on stage dance around him. Photo: Nicholas Carah. Iggy’s claim points to a paradox at the heart of popular culture. Mon- ey and TV arguably created popular music. Popular music, as we know it, has always been a commercial product. Yet, popular musi- cians and audiences retain a sense of authenticity and realness within their experiences of popular culture. Iggy Pop offers an example of a Pop Brands 2 pop music performer that audiences take to be original and authentic. In the 1970s he was legendary for incendiary and raw performances characterized by wild stage antics, self-mutilation and excessive vo- lume. Iggy Pop & The Stooges...

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