This extensively revised and expanded fifth edition of Understanding Popular Music Culture provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the production, distribution, consumption and meaning of popular music, and the debates that surround popular culture and popular music.

Reflecting the continued proliferation of popular music studies, the new music industry in a digital age, and the emergence of new stars, this new edition has been reorganized and extensively updated throughout, making for a more coherent and sequenced coverage of the field. These updates include:

  • two new chapters entitled ‘The Real Thing’: Authenticity, covers and the canon and ‘Time Will Pass You By’: Histories and popular memory
  • new case studies on artists including The Rolling Stones, Lorde, One Direction and Taylor Swift
  • further examples of musical texts, genres, and performers throughout including additional coverage of Electronic Dance Music
  • expanded coverage on the importance of the back catalogue and the box set; reality television and the music biopic
  • greater attention to the role and impact of the internet and digital developments in relation to production, dissemination, mediation and consumption; including the role of social network sites and streaming services
  • each chapter now has its own set of expanded references to facilitate further investigation.

Additional resources for students and teachers can also be found on the companion website (www.routledge.com/cw/shuker), which includes additional case studies, links to relevant websites and a discography of popular music metagenres.

chapter |8 pages

‘What's Goin' On'

Introduction: popular music culture

chapter |16 pages

‘Every 1's a Winner'

The music industry and the record companies

chapter |14 pages

‘Pump Up the Volume'

Music and technology

chapter |20 pages

‘I'm Just a Singer'

Making music, the rock musician, and the success continuum

chapter |22 pages

‘So You Want To Be a Rock ‘N' Roll Star?'

Auteurs and stars

chapter |18 pages

‘Message Understood'

Musical texts

chapter |13 pages

‘The Real Thing'

Authenticity, covers, and the canon

chapter |15 pages

‘It's Still Rock and Roll To Me'


chapter |18 pages

‘Shop Around'

Marketing and mediation

chapter |16 pages

‘U Got the Look'

From film and television to YouTube

chapter |16 pages

‘The Cover of “Rolling Stone”'

The music press

chapter |19 pages

‘My Generation'

Identity, consumption, and fandom

chapter |15 pages

‘Sound of our Town'

Subcultures, sounds, and scenes

chapter |19 pages


Social change, conscience rock, and identity politics

chapter |14 pages

‘Pushin' Too Hard'

Moral panic, state regulation, and censorship

chapter |17 pages

‘We Are the World'

Globalization and state music policy

chapter |14 pages

‘Time Will Pass You By'

Histories and popular memory

chapter |4 pages

‘Wrap It Up'

Making music and making meaning