The relationship between popular music and consumer brands has never been so cosy. Product placement abounds in music videos, popular music provides the soundtrack to countless commercials, social media platforms offer musicians tools for perpetual promotion, and corporate-sponsored competitions lure aspiring musicians to vie for exposure. Activities that once attracted charges of 'selling out' are now considered savvy, or even ordinary, strategies for artists to be heard and make a living. What forces have encouraged musicians to become willing partners of consumer brands? At what cost? And how do changes in popular music culture reflect broader trends of commercialization?
Selling Out traces the evolution of 'selling out' debates in popular music culture and considers what might be lost when the boundary between culture and commerce is dismissed as a relic.
Bethany Klein is Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on the relationship of popular culture to promotional culture and media policy. She is the author of As Heard on TV: Popular Music in Advertising (Ashgate 2009) and co-author of Understanding Copyright: Intellectual Property in the Digital Age (SAGE 2015).
1. Popular music for art's sake
2. Popular music as big money
3. Alternative goes mainstream
4. A different kind of selling out
5. Popular music in advertising
6. Promotion in popular music
7. Popular music and beyond