About this minor
Do you want to gain cutting-edge knowledge on the economy and sociology of popular music?
What makes a hit? This has puzzled musicians and researchers for decades. In this minor, students will gain cutting-edge knowledge on the economy and sociology of popular music, while simultaneously – in a unique cooperation with Codarts University of the Arts – put their theoretical knowledge to the test by co-creating and marketing a ‘hit’ song. Popular music plays a fundamental role in everyday life. It can act as a source of identification and rebellion, but also just to aid in selling a product. There is music for babies, for funerals, for going out, for elevators, for having sex to – and much, much more. In other words, popular music has become ubiquitous in our lives. In this minor, students explore both classic and cutting-edge research on the topic, while simultaneously gaining practical experience by taking part in the creation of their own ‘hit’ song.
The minor has a three-fold set-up:
First, students are invited to sociologically engage with the study of popular music’s role in societies from its beginnings in rag time and youth cultures to its contemporary position in 21st Century digital landscape. Key concepts such as genre, scene, identity formation, authentication processes, social and symbolic boundaries, counter- and subcultures, and social inequality based on musical preferences, will be fundamental in this approach.
Second, an economic approach will familiarize students with the functioning of the music industry – both at the level of musicians and global media companies. Students will discuss popular music marketing, law, regulation and technology – particularly in a time of rampant illegal downloading/streaming and DIY music production.
Third, students directly put their knowledge to the test by taking part in the creation process of their own ‘hit’ song and strategy. This is not only a musical objective, but also a project that involves marketing, concept strategizing and creative entrepreneurship. Due to a unique partnership with Codarts University of arts, teams of students will be coached by well-known contemporary popular music professionals to gain hands-on knowledge within the field of popular music songwriting, production, marketing and distribution.
- After following this minor, students have an in-depth understanding of the role that popular music plays in society.
- After following this minor, students are able to reproduce the key concepts in the sociology of popular music and apply these in their own work and research.
- After following this minor, students have an in-depth understanding of the history and contemporary workings of the international popular music industries from a business, legal, organizational, technological and societal perspective.
- After following this minor, students have a thorough understanding of the workings of contemporary music business practices and its ties to the IT-sector.
- After following this minor, students can evaluate issues in music industries and can creatively produce analyses and potential solutions to these issues in their own work and research.
- After following this minor, students can creatively apply their knowledge on the sociology and economy of music in musical entrepreneurship.
- After following this course, students are able to work together in production practices and actively reflect on divisions of labour.
- After following this minor, students have an in-depth understanding of the creation (process) and distribution of contemporary ‘hit’ songs and can apply this in practice.
Teaching method and examination
- Popular Music: Industry and Society (5 EC)
- Popular Music: Greatest Hits and Critics’ Picks (5 EC)
- The Popular Music Hit Song Project (5 EC)
Module 1 – Popular Music: Industry and Society
Written exam (60%)
Individual paper (10%)
Group assignment (30%)
Module 2 – Popular Music: Greatest Hits and Critic’s Picks
Session introduction (30%)
Individual paper (70%)
Module 3 – The Popular Music Hit Song Project
Briefing, portfolio and presentation (40%)
Individual reflection (50%)
Good to know
- Due to high demand and limited capacity (20 students), this minor has a selection procedure. Students are required to provide a letter of motivation (max. 500 words) to [email@example.com](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" style="color:#0563c1; text-decoration:underline), after indicating this minor as their first preference. You will hear whether you are accepted or not before the end of April 2023.
- Affinity with popular music is essential to successfully follow this minor programme, but it is not necessary to possess musical knowledge or skills (e.g. playing an instrument).
- Parts of this minor will take place at the pop music department of Codarts University of the arts (location WMDC/Grounds, Pieter de Hoochweg 125 Rotterdam), so students should be willing to travel there.
- Attendance is mandatory for modules 2 and 3.
- Musicians’ lives can be unpredictable. Seeing that part of the programme entails students co-creating and promoting a potential hit song, flexibility is expected during the period that the minor programme covers.
- ThemeLanguage and culture
- CreditsECTS 15
- Selection minorYes