Sunday, 16 August 2015

Provisional Conference Programme Launched

IASPM UK & Eire PG Conference 2015 Programme - Popular Music Futures - Cardiff University School of Music - 10th to the 11th of September 2015

All sessions held in Boyd Lecture Theatre (Thu) or Large Lecture Theatre (Fri), Cardiff University School of Music unless stated.

Thursday 10th of September

8.45-9.15 - Registration

9.15 - 9.30 - Introduction by Sam Murray (IASPM UK & Eire PG Rep)

9.30 - 11.00 - Panel 1

Alex Harden (University of Surrey) - Interpretation as Narrative Worldmaking

Julia Ehmann (Oxford Brookes University) - Radiohead and the Concept of   Stylistic Diversity

Samiran Culbert (University of Liverpool) - “I Remember When…”: Rock Music, Myth Construction and the Nostalgic Formation of Identity.

11.00 - 11.15 - Coffee & Tea Break (Held in the Octagon)

11.15 - 12.15 - Keynote Address - Dr Emma Webster (Live Music Exchange)
‘Live Music Research and the Live Music Exchange’

12.15 - 1.00 - Lunch (Held in the Octagon)

1.00 - 2.30 - Panel 2

Emily Baker (University of Liverpool) - Age in the age of Autotune: the (re)construction of Aretha Franklin.

Mat Flynn (LIPA) - Hiding in Plain Sight: Has YouTube Visualised the Future of the Record Industry?

Alicia Stark (Cardiff University) - ‘Stunning’ or ‘Creepy’?: Holograms in popular   performance practice

2.30 - 3.15 - Workshop: Raising Your Online Research Profile

3.15 - 3.30 - Coffee & Tea Break (Held in the Octagon)

3.30 - 5.00 - Panel 3

Camille Bera (Université de Rouen) - "The French Black Metal scene : History, influence and future"

Liz Pipe (London College of Music, University of West London) - The Use of Expressive Gesture and Non-Verbal Communication Skills in Popular Music Performance Pedagogy

Christel Bonin (University of Munich) - Comparing Sounds of the Singing Voice

5.00 - 5.30 - Chelsea Bruno (Royal Holloway, University of London) - “Collage, Collaboration, Improvisation: Modular Synthesis Performance” [Performance]

5.30 - Late - Conference Dinner/IASPM Presents: Pop the Question! Music Quiz (Urban Taphouse/Gwdihw)

Friday 11th of September

9.00 - 10.30 - Panel 4

Ian Townsend (University of Sheffield) - Entrepreneurial Pirate Curators: Did   transformational vinyl record piracy in the 1990s create a ready audience for a wave of on-line independent music labels in the 21st Century?

Riikka Hiltunen (University of Helsinki) [Pending] - Reactive, preactive, proactive and passive attitudes in pop songwriting process

Thomas Wilson (Royal Holloway, University of London) - I.D.: A case study in expanded pop composition

10.30 - 10.45 - Coffee & Tea Break

10.45 - 11.45 - The Andrew Goodwin Lecture: Ben Assiter (Goldsmiths, University of London) - Title TBC

11.45 - 1.15 - Panel 5: Popular Ethnography

Sam Murray (Cardiff University) - Bills, Bills, Bills – The Future of Music Policy-Making

Damon Minchella (University of Birmingham) - Autonomy In Vain: the Existential and Structural Contradictions of the Contemporary Popular Musician

Clare Duffin (University of the West of Scotland) - Exploring Netnography as an Approach to Understanding Work-Ethic, Micro-Politics and Collaboration

1.15 - 2.00 - Lunch

2.00 - 2.45 - Workshop: A Guide to Publishing - Dr Sarah Hill (Cardiff University/Editor of Popular Music)

2.45 - 4.15 - Panel 6: Retro/Studio

Carsten Kaiser (FernUniversität Hagen) - Analog Distinction –Music Production Processes and Social Inequality

Chanan Hanspal (Anglia Ruskin University) - Zappa and the Orchestra Question

Anthony Meynell (London College of Music, University of West London) - Re-creation of The Byrds “Eight Miles High”. Using re-enactment to  recapture historical recording practices

4.15 - 4.30 - Conference Plenary - Alicia Stark (Cardiff University)

5.00 - 7.00 - IASPM PG Conference Public Engagement Event - Artigianos Coffee Shop

Roundtable Session ‘The Future of Popular Music’ - Chaired by Dr Joe O’Connell (Cardiff University)

Panel Members TBC

Keynote Address Abstract Revealed

We at IASPM UK & Ireland are excited to reveal the abstract for Dr Emma Webster's Keynote address.

Live music research and the Live Music Exchange
Dr Emma Webster

Live music is an exciting field of research. Consumer spending on live music in the UK overtook that of recorded music in the late 2000s and is still ahead [1], and festivals such as Glastonbury and Reading dominate the headlines. However, although academic interest in live music is now growing, as Williamson and Cloonan point out, ‘most academic studies of the popular music industries have continued to privilege the recording industry as being the music industry’ [2]. With the theme of Popular Music Futures in mind, this talk will offer reflections on live music in the UK and look at current and future developments. Festivals, for example, are hugely important within the live music economy, but they also highlight on-going questions about society and culture, including issues of authenticity (should Kanye West headline Glastonbury?), gender (where are all the female headliners?), standardisation (are festival line-ups too similar?), and globalisation (can Live Nation continue to expand?). However, while the top end of the live music sector appears to be in rude health, the grassroots end appears to be suffering, and small live music venues across the UK are closing at an unprecedented rate. Many are under threat from noise abatement orders, often the result of complaints by tenants of new residential properties built next to existing venues. Questions therefore arise about the optimal material conditions for live music to thrive and the notion of the live music ‘ecology’. The talk will also introduce the Live Music Exchange [3], a hub for anyone interested in live music research, of which Emma Webster is one of the co-founders.

1 UK Music. Measuring Music. Accessed November 11, 2014.
2 Williamson, John and Martin Cloonan. “Rethinking the music industry.” Popular Music 26, no. 2 (2007): 312.

Emma Webster received her PhD from the University of Glasgow in November 2011. The title of her thesis was ‘Promoting live music: a behind-the-scenes ethnography’, the first account of what live music promoters do and the contexts within which they work. The research focused on the live music scenes of Glasgow, Bristol and Sheffield, and involved participant observation at venues such as arenas, clubs, festivals and pubs, and extensive interviews with live music workers and audiences. Prior to her return to academia, she received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Sheffield and then worked for eight years in music in a variety of roles and genres including opera, ‘world’ music, musical theatre, acid techno and digital distribution. Emma is currently an Honorary Research Associate at Oxford Brookes University and a Director of Live Music Exchange.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

IASPM PG 2015: Popular Music Futures - Call for Papers Announced

The 2015 IASPM UK and Ireland postgraduate conference, to be held at Cardiff University, invites papers exploring Popular Music futures. As technology and the music industries develop, academia is being drawn to examine and predict how Popular Music will develop as an art form and an economic resource. This conference seeks to be an open forum for new and innovative approaches to all aspects of Popular Music Studies as well as invite the opportunity for the next generation of academics to present to peers.

The conference committee welcomes and encourages proposals for papers and other research-led contributions from postgraduate researchers on the following (but not exclusive) themes:

  •         The future of the Music Industries
  •         The future of Music and Tourism
  •         The future of Music and Heritage
  •          The future of Music and Urban Planning
  •          The future of Music Scenes
  •          Music Technology Developments
  •          New Concepts in Popular Music Composition/Songwriting
  •          The development of Social Interaction/Networking
  •          Approaches to Popular Music Studies
  •          Developments in the social aspect of Popular music (Gender, Race, Sexuality, ect.)

In addition, the conference committee welcomes proposals not directly related to the conference theme.

We invite abstracts of no more than 300 words
Please send abstracts to by Friday the 27th of June 2015
Please specify the format of your proposed contribution:

– Research paper (20 minutes)
– Composition Performance (10 Minutes)
– Poster presentation

The programme will feature a keynote address by Dr Emma Webster (Live Music Exchange), workshops on publishing, online presence for researchers and songwriting as well as a panel session of local music professionals (including community music workers, performers and union members). The evening’s entertainment will include a music pub quiz as well as a performance by welsh pop musicians.

For further information please contact 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Post-Conference Post

It's over!

A big thank you to everyone who came, and particularly to those of you who presented papers, chaired panels, or helped in any other way - more or less everybody!

I think everybody was impressed with the high quality of the papers - and several people commented that the four paper sessions held together coherently, which is interesting given the breadth of the topics under discussion.  Throw in a lively roundtable discussion and a thought-provoking keynote lecture, and there's a lot to digest.

In addition, we coined the expression 'Knowledge Conflict' (copyright Matt Brennan 2013), and learned what happens when six popular music scholars walk into a pub quiz just as the music round starts.  We were almost beaten, thanks to the Barenaked Ladies and John Cougar Mellencamp... but not quite.

We'll be updating the blog soon with videos from the various sessions.  In the meantime, here are a few pictures.  Apologies that there aren't more - I was too interested in the papers!

Thanks again everyone.

Alison, Bob, Sam and Midori

Tom Attah (University of Salford) kicks things off.

Roundtable discussion: the panel are (L-R) John Williamson, Adam Behr and Ronnie Gurr.  Bob Anderson is in the chair (confusingly, he is the one standing up). 

Knowledge conflict in action.  Midori is on camera duty.

Andrea del Castello, an independent scholar, gets the prize for longest distance travelled, having come to the conference from Italy.

Dr Mike Jones delivers his keynote lecture.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Keynote lecture - Born Slippy: the antinomies of music industry renewal

(Friday 6th September, 14:15-15:45)

Dr Mike Jones, University of Liverpool

Forbes magazine’s most recent list of the 30 under 30 year olds in music who enjoy the greatest financial success is revelatory for a variety of reasons.  Firstly, because, after a period in which the ‘death of the music industry’ was, often almost gleefully reported, the attention to music of a magazine which calls itself ‘the capitalist tool’ is, in itself, evidence of the re-emergence of a financially ‘healthy’ music industry.  Secondly, when Forbes senses positive change for capitalists then interrogation of its list may help us realise that what is ‘healthy’ economically might be unhealthy, culturally.

My keynote address to the 2013 IASPM UK Post-graduate conference, will be concerned not with fluctuating fortunes of ‘The Music Industry’ but with the nature and changing condition of music industry.  Music industry can be argued to be the mode of production of music outcomes as symbolic goods in music.  Now that the former, rock album-based, industry is receding into history, analysing the Forbes list helps to uncover an embryonic form of music industry that has the capacity to make the old, rock-based industry seem like the good old days.  The call for papers for the 2014 IASPM UK conference is very upbeat about this receding, characterising it as an opening-up of opportunity for musicians and audiences around the world that may be far more liberating than at any time since the dawn of recorded music, but I would beg to differ.

What the Forbes list encapsulates is the explosive impact of Electronic Dance Music in the USA. EDM, as it is now habitually abbreviated, is a clumsy shorthand for an accumulated proliferation of dance genres that trace their roots to the introduction of electronic instruments from the late-1970s onwards.  Rather like the British Invasion of the 1960s, the Americans are buying into what in large part is their own musical heritage re-invented and re-packaged for them by Europeans (and Scandinavians).  Dance music has long been an entrepreneurial field but entrepreneurialism is a double-edged sword.  Dance grew by flouting regulations.  Lawlessness (in the form of illegal raves and undeclared samples as well as drug consumption) can intensify the fun, the sense of abandon that dance events thrive on.  The distaff is that entrepreneurialism is also the test-bed for capitalist innovation, and once a form makes money it is secured by laws designed to protect the enjoyment of private property and the generation of wealth.

The internet, especially now that it has migrated to hand-held devices, is becoming, insidiously and ever-more powerfully, corporatized.  EDM made its belated but impressive impact in the USA through enthusiastic embrace of social networking and streaming technology.  Because it did, it is in danger of being engulfed by the corporate forces that use social networking and streaming to lock consumers into patterns of consumption revealed to them by the new habits of deep disclosure embraced enthusiastically by so many internet users.  Far from being a soundtrack to hedonism, EDM is in danger of becoming the soundtrack for obedience to corporate rhythms of consumption.  In its turn, the newer form of music industry threatens to be more punitive for musicians and music users than previous versions.

Publishing articles - some views from the coal face

(Thursday 5th September, 16:45-17:30)

Professor Martin Cloonan, University of Glasgow

In this session Martin Cloonan will facilitate a discussion of the pros and cons of trying to get articles published in peer reviewed articles.  Martin is a member of the editorial boards of a number of journals including Popular Music, Popular Music and Society, Perfect BeatScottish Music Review and Beiträge zur Popularmusikforschung and will draw on his experience to offer some guidance on what and what not to do when considering submitting articles for publication.

The session will be interactive and draw upon participants' experience as well as that of the facilitator.

Roundtable discussion - Problematising Knowledge Exchange

(Thursday 5th September, 15:00-16:30)

Chair: Bob Anderson, University of Glasgow

There is an ever-increasing emphasis in the Higher Education sector on knowledge exchange.  Publishing research is no longer enough: researchers are expected to be able to engage in research processes which actively involve industry figures, policymakers and the general public. How can this be applied in Popular Music Studies? Is the 'exchange' of knowledge fair? And what does 'knowledge exchange' mean for postgraduates and early career researchers in the field?

Adam Behr is a Director and Research Associate of the Live Music Exchange project. As well as being a visiting lecturer at City University London, Adam teaches at the University of Stirling, where he is currently a dissertation supervisor. His PhD involved historical and ethnographic research into the evolution and social dynamics of the rock band as form of creative practice. Adam has also performed as a guitarist, bass player and DJ in a variety of contexts and has extensive front-line experience of event and venue management.

In a career spanning over 30 years, Ronnie Gurr has worked for labels such as Virgin, Columbia and V2, as well as being involved in journalism, artist management and television and radio production, and the co-ordination of showcases of Scottish acts at South By South West. He has been a member of the Scottish Arts Council’s Performing Arts Committee, The British Council’s Creative Industries Advisory Committee and Scottish Parliament`s Cross Party Group on Contemporary Music.

John Williamson has worked as a journalist, promoted festivals and other live music, and managed numerous bands, venues and events. He was a member of the judging panel for the Mercury Music Prize between 2004 and 2006 and chair of the judging panel for the first Scottish Album of the Year award in 2012. After completing his PhD on Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship and Rent-Seeking in the Music Industries, John joined the University as a research associate on the AHRC / ESRC funded Musicians' Union: A Social History project in April 2012.