Minor MU$IC: The Economy, Sociology and Practice of Popular Music

Categorie
Verdiepende minor
Code
MINESHCC-7
Tijdsduur
10 weken

Content

Popular music plays a fundamental role in everyday life. It can act as a source of identification and rebellion, but also just to aid in selling a product. There is music for babies, for funerals, for going out, for elevators, for having sex to – and much, much more. In other words, popular music has become ubiquitous in our lives. In this minor, students explore both classic and cutting-edge research on the topic, while simultaneously gaining practical experience by attempting to fabricate a hit song themselves.


The set-up is threefold:
First, students are invited to sociologically engage with the study of popular music’s role in societies from its beginnings in rag time and youth cultures to its contemporary position in 21st Century digital landscape. Key concepts such as genre, scene, identity formation, authentication processes, social and symbolic boundaries, counter- and subcultures, and social inequality based on musical preferences, will be fundamental in this approach.


Second, an economic approach will familiarize students with the functioning of the music industry – both at the level of musicians and global media companies. Students will discuss popular music marketing, law, regulation and technology – particularly in a time of rampant illegal downloading/streaming and DIY music production.


Third, students directly put their knowledge to the test by trying to fabricate a hit song. This is not only a musical objective, but also a project that involves marketing, concept strategizing and creative entrepreneurship. Due to a unique partnership with Codarts University of arts, teams of students will be coached by well-known contemporary popular music producers to gain hands-on knowledge within the field of popular music production.

Learning objectives

After following this minor, students:

  • have an in-depth understanding of the role that popular music plays in society.
  • are able to reproduce the key concepts in the sociology of popular music and apply these in their own work and research.
  • have an in-depth understanding of the history and contemporary workings of the international popular music industries from a business, legal, organizational, technological and societal perspective.
  • have a thorough understanding of the workings of contemporary music business practices and its ties to the IT-sector.
  • can evaluate issues in music industries and can creatively produce analyses and potential solutions to these issues in their own work and research.
  • can creatively apply their knowledge on the sociology and economy of music in musical entrepreneurship.
  • have an in-depth understanding of the production and distribution of contemporary ‘hit’ songs and can apply this in practice.

Special aspects

  • Affinity with popular music is essential to successfully follow this minor programme, but it is not necessary to possess musical knowledge or skills (e.g. playing an instrument).
  • Seeing the small scale of this minor, a maximum of 20 students is allowed to participate.
  • Parts of this minor will take place at the pop music department of Codarts University of the arts (location WMDC/Grounds, Pieter de Hoochweg 125 Rotterdam), so students should be willing to travel there.
  • Musicians’ lives can be unpredictable. Seeing that part of the programme entails students fabricating and promoting a potential hit song, a reasonable level of flexibility is expected during the period that the minor programme covers.

Overview modules

Module 1: Popular Music: Industry and Society (5 EC)

  • Code: CC2052
  • EC: 5
  • Content: In this theoretical course, students will be made familiar with both the sociology (society) and the economy (industry) of music. On the one hand, students are invited to theoretically engage in the critical and systematic study of popular music’s role in societies from its beginnings in rag time and youth cultures to its contemporary position in 21st Century digital landscape. Key concepts such as genre, scene, identity formation, authentication processes, social and symbolic boundaries, counter- and subcultures and social inequality based on musical preferences will be fundamental in this approach. On the other hand, an industry approach will familiarize students with the functioning of the music industry – both at the level of musicians and global media companies. Students will discuss popular music law, regulation and technology – particularly in a time of rampant illegal downloading/streaming and DIY music production. These developments have brought to the fore advantages and disadvantages for both musicians and the music industry, which do not always serve both of these parties’ interests. Moreover, industry and organizational structures are discussed in combination with artistic career development. This perspective will also allow us to get a glimpse of the future of music: Web 2.0 and 3.0, algorithmic taste prediction, and the global hegemony of IT companies such as Google, Amazon and Spotify.
  • Teaching method(s): One lecture per week; three hours each
  • Teaching materials: Research articles; book chapters
  • Contact hours: 3 per week
  • Self study: 10 per week

https://courses.eur.nl/#/2019-2020/detail/cc2052

Module 2: Popular Music: Greatest Hits and Critics’ Picks

  • Code: n/a
  • EC: 5
  • Content: In this course, theoretical and practical knowledge on contemporary popular music production, distribution and consumption is combined to offer students cutting-edge insights into the popular music landscape. In a series of small-scale, interactive seminars, a number of invited speakers from popular music research and/or the popular music profession will share their knowledge on topics such as diverse as: music as a technology of the sexual self; streaming and recommendation systems/algorithms; and copyright legislation in the digital era; ‘making it’ as an underground, DIY-label.
  • Teaching method(s): One interactive seminar per week; three hours each
  • Teaching materials: Research articles; book chapters; other recommended sources
  • Contact hours: 3 per week
  • Self study: 10 per week

Module 3: The Popular Music Hit Song Project

  • Code: n/a
  • EC: 5
  • Content: In this project-course, students will work together with Codarts students to fabricate a hit song. This does not only involve the making of the music itself (including recording and production), but especially the social and industry practices discussed in module 1. This means that students will set a goal for their hit (e.g. mainstream or underground scene) and work on getting the song ‘out there’ through the right channels, (social) media and – hopefully – stages. These projects are presented in a final symposium at the end of the minor.
  • Teaching method(s): Weekly project meetings, supported by multiple coaches from the field of contemporary music production (e.g. writers for songs for the Eurovision song contest). Rehearsal spaces will be made available by Codarts.
  • Contact hours: 6 per week
  • Self study: 8 per week

Overview content per week

• Week 1
o Introduction: Sociology and economy of popular music
o Team formation
• Week 2
o Economy part 1: History of popular music industry (until 2000s)
o Team orientation (setting goal/objective)
o Pitch initial ideas (deadline)
• Week 3
o Economy part 2: History of popular music industry (2000s until now)
o Song writing camp: Team start song production and selection of musicians
• Week 4
o Economy part 3: Making money in contemporary poplar music
o Song production continued; initial set-up marketing strategies/business plan
o Business plan (deadline)
• Week 5
o Sociology part 1: Construction of place, authenticity and inequality
o Song production continued; start of marketing procedure/placement
• Week 6
o Sociology part 2: Conflict, subcultures and identity
o Song marketing continued
o Written assignment on authenticity (deadline)
• Week 7
o Sociology part 3: Nostalgia, criticism and the future of (popular?) music
o Song marketing continued; further strategy development
• Week 8
o Epilogue: Recap of knowledge gained
• Week 9
o Exam
o Symposium: presentation of ‘hit’ songs and production/marketing process

Examination

Method of examination

  • Written exam (module 1)
  • Group assignment (module 1)
  • Session introduction (module 2)
  • Individual paper (module 2)
  • Business plan (module 3)
  • Participation (module 3)
  • Project presentation (module 3)

Composition final grade

Module 1 – Popular Music: Industry and Society

Written exam (70%)
Group assignment (30%)

Module 2 – Popular Music: Greatest Hits and Critic’s Picks
Session introduction (30%)
Individual paper (70%)

Module 3 – The Popular Music Hit Song

Project Business plan (10%)
Individual participation (20%)
Final project and project presentation (70%)

Feedback

Module 1 – Popular Music: Industry and Society

Written exam (70%) – regular grading procedure with possibility to review corrections
Group assignment (30%) – extensive written and verbal feedback


Module 2 – Popular Music: Popular Music: Greatest Hits and Critic’s Picks
Session introduction (30%) - extensive written and verbal feedback
Individual paper (70%) – extensive written feedback


Module 3 – The Popular Music Hit Song Project
Business plan (10%) – extensive written feedback
Individual participation (20%) – decided by coach and discussed with student
Final project and project presentation (70%) - there will be a written evaluation of the presentation

Contact information

Julian Schaap (ESHCC) & Wessel Coppes (Codarts)

j.schaap@eshcc.eur.nl / whcoppes@codarts.nl

0031643126345

room: M7-05

Categorie
Verdiepende minor
Code
MINESHCC-7
Tijdsduur
10 weken
Organisatie
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication
Studiepunten (EC)
15
Voertaal
Engels
Locatie
Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam
Locatie

Codarts University of the Arts (WMDC/Grounds)