Back in the Mix: Exploring Intermediary Fandom and Popular Music Production

Matthew Hills

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Popular music is strongly personalized: fans don’t just have an imaginative, emotional connection to U2’s material, rather they seem to experience this as a connection to Bono himself, with the music acting as a conduit between self and other. Nick Stevenson’s sociological study of David Bowie fans demonstrates a similar phenomenon (2006, 159). Whether it is in relation to Bono, Bowie, or other popular musicians, fans reflexively “anchor a narrative of self” (Stevenson 2006, 183) by drawing on meanings linked to the musical celebrity as well as by articulating a sense of connection “beyond the category of rationality and . . . associated with . . . wonder and mystery” (ibid.). Specifically analyzing popular music celebrity, P. David Marshall argues:

The music industry, through its stars, has constructed two sometimes contradictory levels of the “real” and the authentic. The recording has

become the true representation of the music . . . [and] performer and audience were brought closer together . . . the private and personal activity of listening . . . privileged. (1997, 153-154)

For Marshall, recorded pop music offers one level of authenticity, meaning that live performance starts to have to approximate to a produced track. But at the same time, the technological mediation of pop music production (along with its typically individualized and privatized reception context) prioritizes listener-performer connections.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPopular Music Fandom
Subtitle of host publicationIdentities, Roles and Practices
EditorsMark Duffett
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780203795125
ISBN (Print)9780415506397, 9781138936973
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Popular Music


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