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Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry: The Social Construction of Female Popular Music Stars

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Gender, Branding, and The Modern Music Industry combines interview data with music industry professionals with theoretical frameworks from sociology, mass communication, and marketing to explain and explore the gender differences female artists experience. This book provides a rare lens on the rigid packaging process that transforms female artists of various genres into fem Gender, Branding, and The Modern Music Industry combines interview data with music industry professionals with theoretical frameworks from sociology, mass communication, and marketing to explain and explore the gender differences female artists experience. This book provides a rare lens on the rigid packaging process that transforms female artists of various genres into female pop stars. Stars -- and the industry power brokers who make their fortunes -- have learned to prioritize sexual attractiveness over talent as they fight a crowded field for movie deals, magazine covers, and fashion lines, let alone record deals. This focus on the female pop star s body as her core asset has resigned many women to being "short term brands," positioned to earn as much money as possible before burning out or aging ungracefully. This book, which includes interview data from music industry insiders, explores the sociological forces that drive women into these tired representations, and the ramifications on the greater social world. This book is for Sociology of Media and Sociology of Popular Culture courses.


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Gender, Branding, and The Modern Music Industry combines interview data with music industry professionals with theoretical frameworks from sociology, mass communication, and marketing to explain and explore the gender differences female artists experience. This book provides a rare lens on the rigid packaging process that transforms female artists of various genres into fem Gender, Branding, and The Modern Music Industry combines interview data with music industry professionals with theoretical frameworks from sociology, mass communication, and marketing to explain and explore the gender differences female artists experience. This book provides a rare lens on the rigid packaging process that transforms female artists of various genres into female pop stars. Stars -- and the industry power brokers who make their fortunes -- have learned to prioritize sexual attractiveness over talent as they fight a crowded field for movie deals, magazine covers, and fashion lines, let alone record deals. This focus on the female pop star s body as her core asset has resigned many women to being "short term brands," positioned to earn as much money as possible before burning out or aging ungracefully. This book, which includes interview data from music industry insiders, explores the sociological forces that drive women into these tired representations, and the ramifications on the greater social world. This book is for Sociology of Media and Sociology of Popular Culture courses.

30 review for Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry: The Social Construction of Female Popular Music Stars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Stacy

    From the book's Preface, pg xx: "[W]e do not typically see platinum-selling female rock stars, and in the rare cases where we do (Melissa Etheridge), they are often made over as pop stars once they achieve 'crossover' levels of sales. Feminist music scholar Norma Coates explains why, even if women sound like rock artists, they are ultimately positioned as pop artists: 'In this schema, rock is metonymic with "authenticity" while "pop" is metonymic with artifice. Sliding even further down the metony From the book's Preface, pg xx: "[W]e do not typically see platinum-selling female rock stars, and in the rare cases where we do (Melissa Etheridge), they are often made over as pop stars once they achieve 'crossover' levels of sales. Feminist music scholar Norma Coates explains why, even if women sound like rock artists, they are ultimately positioned as pop artists: 'In this schema, rock is metonymic with "authenticity" while "pop" is metonymic with artifice. Sliding even further down the metonymic slope, authentic becomes masculine, while artificial becomes feminine. Rock, therefore, is "masculine," pop is "feminine," and the two are set up in a binary relation to each other, with the masculine, of course, on top. The common-sense meaning of rock becomes "male," while "pop" is naturalised as "female." Real men aren't pop, and women, real or otherwise, don't rock.' Gender still constrains the types of musical roles available to contemporary female artists, further compromising their meanings. The gender constraints imposed upon female pop stars by society, industry handlers, audiences, and even female pop stars themselves will be considered in depth throughout the body of the book." ***** Kristin Lieb's insightful study of the modern music industry's social construction of female pop stars is absolutely delightful! First published in 2013, "Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry: The Social Construction of Female Popular Music Stars," is a fascinating look at how the gender binary (and essentialized gender) are used by modern music executives to position female artists as short-term commodities, "person brands" with a limited shelf life. Female artists are constructed and sold to the public in very limited -- and highly gendered -- market categories: good girls, temptresses, whores, divas, hot messes, and a scant few other identities (all of them sexualized), whereas male artists have a much larger range of market positions/brand narratives open to them, and are rarely ever sexualized. For women artists, to be objectified as a sex object, either in a virginal Good Girl state or some form of transgressive Whore, are the two central narratives open to female musicians. Industry executives and artist handlers talk this way freely, and since these are the music industry's own terms for their products (the women they're selling), Lieb's book does not alter their interview language or frameworks at all. She set out to look at the impact of gendered marketing on female artists as well as their fans, and the book is a pretty horrific examination of acculturated misogyny and sexism within the music industry. Lieb's most noteworthy feminist influence is the work of Jean Kilbourne, especially the "Killing Us Softly" documentaries. Kilbourne's seminal work examining the sexism and misogyny in advertising helped create the field of media literacy. While the influx of pornography into the modern music industry is definitely addressed in Lieb's book, it is handled lightly. One essay by Gail Dines is cited concerning the "everyday pornography" in popular culture, and the effects this has on gender performativity and heteronormative messaging in the music industry. The prose in this book is concise and accessible; Lieb's book is NOT written in academic jargon. It was written in the hope that industry insiders and students -- especially those interested in pursuing careers in marketing and publicity -- might pick it up and consider the damaging impacts of gender in the music industry, and possibly be more creative in their own construction of female artist sales narratives after reading this book. I discovered Lieb's work after listening to her 2015 TEDx talk: "Pop culture is teaching the wrong 'lessons' about gender & sexuality," which I will link here, for those interested -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUN01... ***** The description for Lieb's TEDx talk reads as follows: "Popular culture is a cunning, persuasive - and pervasive - 'educator' that influences students' ideas about gender and sexuality 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yet Dr. Kristin Lieb believes that while teachers may only have students for a few hours a week, they can interrupt the institutionalized misogyny being spread by popular culture and teach more accurate lessons about girls and women. And the best tool to do this, Dr. Lieb says: Pop Culture itself. Dr. Kristin J. Lieb is an Associate Professor of Marketing Communication at Emerson College. Before arriving at Emerson, Lieb held numerous marketing and business development positions in the music industry, including posts with Atomic Pop and Newbury Comics Interactive. She also worked as a researcher for Harvard Business School and as a freelance writer for Billboard and Rolling Stone. Lieb published her first book, 'Gender, Branding, and The Modern Music Industry: The Social Construction of Female Popular Music Stars,' with Routledge in 2013." ***** It's a *great* TEDx talk, but I must say, her book is even better! Five stars! Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matt Chisling (MattyandtheBooks)

    This is author Kristin Lieb's first full-length work. In it, Lieb seeks to analyze the importance of the female pop musician as a brand, namely, a short-term one. Lieb's work is analytical, thorough, and innovative in its findings - the book stands strongest in chapter five, as she walks her reader through her framework for the life-cycle of any popular music celebrity. This work is refreshing, as it takes advantage of the countless examples in today's industry - as Lieb shifts from analyzing th This is author Kristin Lieb's first full-length work. In it, Lieb seeks to analyze the importance of the female pop musician as a brand, namely, a short-term one. Lieb's work is analytical, thorough, and innovative in its findings - the book stands strongest in chapter five, as she walks her reader through her framework for the life-cycle of any popular music celebrity. This work is refreshing, as it takes advantage of the countless examples in today's industry - as Lieb shifts from analyzing the biggest like Beyonce, to the boldest, like Lady Gaga, she is always able to bring her argument back to its core, which makes it a compelling argument. This is the first of hopefully more works by this author, or other authors, that looks first and foremost as the importance of branding the self in the music industry - a concept that gets more and more important as the industry gets more fragmented and less secure.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    This is very important research on the position of women in the American music industry. Lieb adequately captures how much the bottom line matters for industry execs . In addition, her lifecycle model is very useful in understanding how pop star brands are created and sustained which can be applied to other genres. I would recommend this book to anyone doing research on women in any genre of popular music.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    Great read and overall analysis of female pop stars. The whole concept of the lifecycle model is unsurprising but profound - most people probably have a general sense of how pop stars are marketed to audiences, but seeing an in-depth layout brings it into an entirely new context.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Opal Km

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    Abby

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    Adrian CheŇ£an

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    Ashley

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