Popular Music

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This is not a research paper; you may not conduct outside research. Consult your own lecture notes and discussion notes, in addition to the class readings and Spotify playlists at <nickrubin>

Include in-text citations for facts and ideas you borrow from readings, lectures and discussions. Include author and page number for readings, instructor and date for lectures and discussions. (There is no need to provide a full bibliographical record, because you will only be using material from class.)

Your two responses should be 1100-1200 words each. Finals totaling an excess of 2500 words will be penalized. Please double-space, and use 12-point font with standard margins.

Your responses will be assessed according to the clarity of your argument, your use of supporting evidence, and your use of rich musical description where apt. The best answers will pull on all the course material to support a compelling and original argument. Please make sure your responses do not significantly overlap.

Choose and respond to TWO of the following three prompts.

1. INDUSTRY: Since its inception in the late 19th century, the popular music industry has undergone myriad changes in response to technological, demographic, legal, economic, and artistic trends. Choose two or three critical moments of change within the music business – assess the causes as well as the strategic responses and outcomes, and evaluate the effects on various corners of popular music culture.

2. TECHNOLOGY: Popular music – as an artistic endeavor, a business, and a form of entertainment – depends on technology for its production, distribution, and consumption. Choose two or three technological innovations that have changed the creative practices and cultural impact of popular music. Assess these changes in the historical context, and evaluate the effects of these changes on various corners of popular music culture.

3. AUTHENTICITY: During our historical examination of popular music culture this semester, we have witnessed many explicit and implicit claims to (or denials of) authenticity. Chose two or three examples of music we have encountered that have been deemed authentic or inauthentic. Assess the arguments for such claims; the meaning of such claims in the historical context; and the social, cultural, industrial, and/or artistic effects of such claims.

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