Popular Music and the State in the UK: Culture, Trade or Industry?, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Popular Music and the State in the UK

Culture, Trade or Industry?, 1st Edition

By Martin Cloonan


180 pages

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Paperback: 9781138246546
pub: 2016-09-09
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Hardback: 9780754653738
pub: 2007-05-28
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In an era of the rise of the free market and economic globalization, Martin Cloonan examines why politicians and policymakers in the UK have sought to intervene in popular music - a field that has often been held up as the epitome of the free market form. Cloonan traces the development of government attitudes and policies towards popular music from the 1950s to the present, discovering the prominence of two overlapping concerns: public order and the political economy of music. Since the music industry began to lobby politicians, particularly on the issue of copyright in relation to the internet, an inherent tension has become apparent with economic rationale on one side, and Romantic notions of 'the artist' on the other. Cloonan examines the development of policy under New Labour; numerous reports which have charted the economics of the industry; the New Deal for Musicians scheme and the impact of devolution on music policy in Scotland. He makes the case for the inherently political nature of popular music and asserts that the development of popular music policies can only be understood in the context of an increasingly close working relationship between government and the cultural industries. In addition he argues that a rather myopic view of the music industries has meant that policy initiatives have lacked cohesion and have generally served the interests of multinational corporations rather than struggling musicians.


'Popular Music and the State in the UK is a gem of a book. Digging through what might seem the dullest of material”policy statements, parliamentary enquiries, bureaucratic reports ” Martin Cloonan unearths the riveting story of how popular music moved from the margins of government thinking about youth problems and social disorder to a central place in economic strategy. Cloonan throws new light on the politics of culture and his book is a major contribution to our understanding of music as a ’creative industry’.' Simon Frith, University of Edinburgh, UK '…a major contribution to our understanding of the evolution of the industry in Britain over the last two decades.' Popular Music

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: pop politics and a personal journey; Popular music and politics from the 1950s - a brief guide; Cultural policy from 1945 to New Labour; New Labour - new pop?; Reporting the music industries; Policy on the ground: the new deal for musicians; A new lens? Popular music and devolution - the case of Scotland; Conclusion: from benign to promotional?; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Martin Cloonan is Senior Lecturer and Convener of Postgraduate Studies in the Department of Music, University of Glasgow, UK.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General