Popular Music History https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH <p><em>Popular Music History</em>&nbsp;publishes original historical and historiographical research that draws on the wide range of disciplines and intellectual trajectories that have contributed to the establishment of popular music studies as a recognized academic enterprise.</p> Equinox Publishing Ltd. en-US Popular Music History 1740-7133 <p>© Equinox Publishing Ltd.</p> <p>For information regarding our Open Access policy, <a title="Open access policy." href="Full%20details of our conditions related to copyright can be found by clicking here.">click here</a>.</p> Introduction https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19409 <p>Beginning with consideration of why the term ‘curation’ has come to be so ubiquitous in popular culture, this special issue looks at the ways in which curation work today happens across an array of popular music activity. More than simply selecting a range of interesting objects, the imperative to be community-oriented is embedded within contemporary curatorial practice. Hence, much modern curation work is narrative in nature: telling a compelling story not just through a static collection and presentation of artefacts to a single, monolithic audience but through dynamic and multiply iterated discourse with a range of audiences, communities and stakeholders. The articles in this collection all examine how the work of music curation illustrates a form of community and belonging, either through participation and engagement with some type of music activity or in acknowledgement of how others are either liminally or overtly excluded from it. Whilst cultural commentators and writers tend to treat the application of the word ‘curation’ in extra-museum environments with an element of disdain, the articles in this special issue demonstrate that the ultimate value of curation in both popular culture and popular music is its power to communicate stories that foster new forms of community, identity and collectivity in an increasingly disaggregated and isolating world.</p> Holly Tessler Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 5 17 10.1558/pomh.42196 Scene and heard https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19410 <p>Hocken Collections in Dunedin, New Zealand, has been collecting and curating music relating to the Dunedin Sound music scene since the 1980s, with recorded music, published texts, documents and photographs gathered to document the scene, and contextualize the narratives that exist within it. Through examination of three particular collections that highlight different aspects of the Dunedin Sound scene, distinct threads emerge, offering dynamic opportunities for curation, and for complete collections, or discrete parts of the collections, to be reinterpreted in new ways. Through these examples, we can see that collection and curation of a music scene is more than just acquiring officially recorded music: visual materials, correspondence, setlists, song lyrics and documents relating to the music industry or the scene allow for a broader narrative, while unofficial live recordings demonstrate development of musical styles across that scene.</p> Amanda Patricia Mills Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 18 37 10.1558/pomh.39400 Continuity and change in popular music curation https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19411 <p>How is popular music curated and how has this practice developed over time? What distinguishes it and what can focusing on curation reveal about popular music history? This article addresses these questions with the help of three exhibitions exploring aspects of the popular music past. Staged in Liverpool between 1991 and 2016, the exhibitions illustrate the work and effort of exhibiting and curating popular music, and developments and changes in this work across a 25-year period. Perspectives on popular music as a curatorial object have certainly changed. Moreover, beyond the traditional association of curation with the professional domain of museums and other institutions, a broader understanding has emerged of curation as a vernacular practice. What the exhibitions also show, however, is that these developments cannot be mapped chronologically. Rather, different perspectives and approaches regarding popular music curation continually circulate, clash and intersect. This, it is argued, creates certain fundamental tensions that make curation a productive lens through which to examine popular music history.</p> Sara Cohen Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 38 57 10.1558/pomh.40022 Negotiating the co-curation of an online community popular music archive https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19412 <p>Co-curation has become a popular term in recent years. This article is concerned with the process, politics, issues and benefits of co-curation in the context of popular music heritage. It draws on literature concerned with popular music heritage as well as museum practices and the empirical (co)curation of exhibitions. Co-curation is discussed in relation to the Lapsed Clubber Audio Map, a publicly available digital community archive. Using the map and its memories as a case study, issues that were encountered during the creation of the map, are highlighted and some of the key theoretical and practical implications are reflected upon. Those are grouped together in terms of ‘voicing heritage’ and ‘challenging narrative’. In order for heritage to be articulated, voices have to be identified, found and nurtured. The way in which co-curation then challenges a single chronological narrative is by facilitating different ways of remembering but also the invitation to contextualize these memories in different discourses.</p> Beate Peter Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 58 76 10.1558/pomh.39666 Supplementing a typology of curation https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19413 <p>The article explores the creation of a concert that explored George Harrison’s relationship with Indian classical music. It was a scripted concert that featured two surviving musicians from the ‘Within You Without You’ recording sessions along with material artefacts. The experience is used to consider supplements to the Baker, Istvandity and Nowak identification of structuring concepts of curation.</p> Michael Lewis Jones Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 77 94 10.1558/pomh.42219 Pick out the jams https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19414 <p>Characterizing independent record shops as ‘curated’ is a recent trend in scholarship on the topic of music consumption. The processes that contribute to this description, however, are often not interrogated and ‘curated’ is taken as given, though this adjective is in actuality a representation of a rich and varied skill set that is essential to the running of a shop. This article draws on in-depth interviews with independent record shop owners and staff members to examine the processes involved in selecting and displaying stock in shops that predominantly carry used LPs and CDs, and argues that these processes are complex and underpinned by particular areas of expertise and acquired experience.</p> Lee Ann Fullington Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 95 112 10.1558/pomh.39663 Right time, right place https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19415 <p>To mark the 40th anniversary of punk rock, the British Library ran a free exhibition and a series of associated live spoken-word events in the summer of 2016. Punk was always both outsider (rhetoric, sound, fashion) and insider (the big names of the first-generation UK bands mostly signed to major labels). Using Simon Frith’s framework of three overlapping discourses in popular music (folk, pop and art) I argue that the contradictory strands of ideology in and around punk made the British Library the perfect site for this show.</p> J. Mark Percival Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 113 125 10.1558/pomh.39677 Curating exhausted commodities https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19416 <p>While there has been growing interest in the curation and exhibition of popular music ephemera in recent years, such exhibitions have tended to focus on propagating canonical accounts, or on the telling of local or social histories. This article considers a different form of popular music curation, one driven not by a desire to preserve, but rather with the revaluing of so-called ‘exhausted commodities’—damaged, degraded and defaced artefacts which would otherwise be discarded. Focusing upon the case study of We Buy White Albums—an ongoing collection and exhibition by New York-based collector, curator and artist Rutherford Chang—this article explores the complexities associated with such notions of curation in the context of music-based commodities, and the potential for curatorial recontextualizations of damaged, defaced and degrading artefacts as a means of exploring hidden histories of popular music.</p> Iain A. Taylor Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 126 146 10.1558/pomh.39614 Ektoplazm.com https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19417 <p>This article looks at the website Ektoplazm.com, which acts as a free distribution service for psychedelic trance music. Ektoplazm is maintained by a single webmaster, DJ Basilisk, who describes the service as a ‘curated collection’ of music. Basilisk maintains strict aesthetic and technical standards for every item uploaded, helping to create an attractive musical commodity with valuable attributes—albeit one that is offered free of charge. With Ektoplazm as its focal point, this article examines the interaction between curator, community and commodity in the digital era. Here, curation is found to be part of a wider process of reintermediation which adds value to digital music. The stylistic, aesthetic, technical and legal components of Basilisk’s curatorial role are considered, and Ektoplazm is placed in the context of psytrance’s cultural history, the changing landscape of internet music websites and the free-culture movement.</p> Christopher David Charles Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 147 167 10.1558/pomh.39424 Billboard’s ‘Hot Country Songs’ chart and the curation of country music culture https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19418 <p>Billboard charts are curators of popular music culture. As Will Straw observes, Billboard charts bring order to otherwise chaotic consumption behaviors, by processing, archiving and transmitting a musical product’s commercial activity to radio programmers, streaming services and record labels, thus creating a cyclic relationship between Billboard and these actors. Through this process, charts document and shape a genre’s culture. Theories of social remembering offer a critical framework for considering the credibility of such record keeping within a culture that disadvantages and systematically ignores women. Influenced by the work of Catherine Strong, this article explores the role of Billboard charts in the process of ‘remembering’ and ‘forgetting’ in country music culture. In this context, Billboard charts function as curatorial instruments that systematically ‘remember’ some artists, while ‘casting away’ others. Drawing on the results of a data-driven analysis of the Hot Country Songs (HCS) chart, this article argues that Billboard’s new methodology has contributed to the radical extinction of variety and erasure of women’s narrative voices within country music culture.</p> Jada Watson Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 168 190 10.1558/pomh.39428 (Re-)valuing rock music https://journal.equinoxpub.com/PMH/article/view/19419 <p>This article concerns the production of reissue compilation albums, focusing on garage rock compilations as a case study into questions of value and curation in popular music. The reissue compilation is a distinct form of media that has been largely overlooked in popular music scholarship, despite the fact that it has long been a mainstay of rock music fandom. The notion of curation presents a useful lens through which to understand the key role these albums play in documenting and recovering popular music history. I argue that curation here involves more than simply selecting tracks, designing album covers and writing liner notes; rather, it is a form of archival work that entails tracking down ‘forgotten’ bands and their recordings, narrativizing popular music history, navigating copyright, and compiling this material in album form. Drawing on recent theories of value in the anthropological and ethnomusicological literature, I propose an approach to curation that emphasizes the work of archiving, documenting and recovering 1960s rock and roll as a form of fan engagement that is generative of new forms of value.</p> José Vicente Neglia Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2021-02-05 2021-02-05 13 1-2 191 208 10.1558/pomh.39631