cfp: Popular Music and Society: Music, Digitalization, and Democracy

Call for Papers

Popular Music and Society
Special Issue on Music, Digitalization, and Democracy

Guest-edited by Johannes Brusila, Martin Cloonan, and Kim Ramstedt

Popular Music and Society invites article proposals for a special
issue that examines the connections between music, digitalization, and
democracy. The impact of digitalization on the production,
dissemination, and consumption of popular music has been immense since
the 1980s. Scholars, artists, and policymakers have depicted this
“digital turn” as being both a potential enhancement of, and a threat
to, cultural life. Business futurists have described increasing
financial possibilities created by the new lower cost structures, and
visionaries have predicted a greater cultural freedom for larger
population groups. On the other hand, others have questioned the
scope of the structural changes in the music industries, emphasizing
the reintermediating forces at play and criticizing unfounded hopes of
increasing creative activities. While many of these writings offer a
thorough description of industrial and economic developments, less has
been written about the cultural dimensions of the changes. Building
on an IASPM-Norden conference on this topic
(, the special issue aims at
bringing together a series of papers that will offer new insights on
the subject by focusing on cultural democracy. The concept democracy
is understood in a broad sense, referring to, for example, diversity,
equity, access, participation, inclusion, and fairness of music
cultures. Among other things, this includes asking whether
digitalization has offered new ways of democratizing culture for
audiences that have not previously had access to it, or increased
cultural democratization by offering new, independent means to create,
disseminate, and consume culture. In this connection, digitalization
and culture may not be separate entities linked by a deterministic
causal connection but may be seen as two sides of the same coin,
functioning in mutual interdependency. We are interested in the
experiences of a multitude of social, ethnic, and gender groups from
many different locations, and therefore encourage scholars with
diverse backgrounds in, for example, various minorities to submit

Questions and issues to be explored within this context may include,
but are not limited to:
– What kind of technological, institutional, and structural changes
have occurred during the last decades and how do these changes relate
to the creation, dissemination and consumption of culture?
– To what extent have processes related to digitalization supported or
counteracted an increasing diversity or homogenization of culture?
– How, and for whom, has what kind of music become available as a
result of recent technological and structural changes?
– Have new forms of creativity, cultural expressions, and ways of
creating and interpreting meanings occurred as a part of
digitalization processes?
– How do the processes related to digitalization support, coincide
with, or counteract identity processes and cultural belonging, agency,
and independence?
– What cultural values and norms related to musical practices have
persisted or changed as a part of digitalization processes?
– How can, or should, scholars study the current changes with respect
to methodology, research theories, social obligations, and ethics?

Send proposals of up to 500 words by 31 March 2019 to guest editor
Johannes Brusila at, with copies to and Indicate the name
under which you would wish to be published, your professional/academic
affiliations, a postal address, and preferred e-mail contact.
Proposals will be reviewed for potential inclusion in the journal,
with authors of selected papers being informed by 30 April 2019.
Authors to be included in the volume should expect to have their full
manuscripts prepared by 31 August 2019. These submissions should be
between 6,000 and 8,000 words (inclusive of everything) and should use
MLA style. All affiliations, e-mails, and snail-mail contact
information should be supplied in the first submission; however, for
purposes of blind peer-review, your name or the names of your
coauthors should not appear in the body of the manuscript. All
articles will be peer-reviewed by two reviewers. Please note that any
articles that do not conform to the guidelines will be returned to the
author for corrections prior to being sent out for review. We are
happy to receive inquiries about prospective submissions. Please send
all queries to, with copies to
and For more information and step-by-step
publishing guidance, visit the journal’s Author Services Support page.
For further information on the journal, please visit