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Popular Music

Robert Burnett

Subject Communication and Media Studies » Communication Studies
Culture » Popular Culture

Key-Topics music

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Music in various functions plays an increasingly important role both as an indicator of and as a medium for changes in society. Popular music is with us constantly; it is part of our everyday environment, and increasingly part of the aural or sonic soundscape that surrounds us. Not only do we listen to music in our homes and at concerts, but also as a background in cars, bars, airplanes, restaurants, and shopping malls. Our brains are constantly registering, monitoring, and decoding popular music. Popular music is one of the more powerful expressions of the → “ culture industry ” worldwide. Some would claim that popular music is the only truly universal “mass medium.” Certainly most people would agree that music speaks a universal language of →  emotions . Popular music is now the lingua franca for a large segment of the world's youth population. It is probably fair to say that music is the most universal means of communication we now have, instantly traversing language and other cultural barriers (→  Popular Communication ). Whereas consumption of other media products is often limited by geographic availability and consumer income, almost anyone anywhere can listen to popular music, often regardless of whether they want to or not. Most of us at one time or another have felt pursued by music itself. In this respect, popular music is certainly the most global aspect of our “global ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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