Rock Brands: Selling Sound in a Media Saturated Culture, edited by Elizabeth Barfoot Christian, is an edited collection that explores how different genres of popular music are branded and marketed today.
The book's core objectives are addressed over three sections. In the first part of Rock Brands, the authors examine how established mainstream artists/bands are continuing to market themselves in an ever-changing technological world, and how bands can use integrated marketing communication to effectively "brand" themselves. This branding is intended as a protection so that technology and delivery changes don't stifle the bands' success. KISS, AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, Phish, and Miley Cyrus are all popular musical influences considered in this part of the analysis.
In the second section, the authors explore how some musicians effectively use attention-grabbing issues such as politics (for example, Kanye West and countless country musicians) and religion (such as with Christian heavy metal bands and Bon Jovi) in their lyrics, and also how imagery is utilized by artists such as Marilyn Manson to gain a fan base. Finally, the book will explore specific changes in the media available to market music today (see M.I.A. and her use of new media) and, similarly, how these resources can benefit music icons even after they are long gone, as with Elvis and Michael Jackson.
Rock Brands further examines gaming, reality television, and social networking sites as new outlets for marketing and otherwise experiencing popular music. What makes some bands stand out and succeed when so many fail? How does one find a niche that isn't just kitsch and can stand the test of time, allowing the musician to grow as an artist as well as grow a substantial fan base? Elizabeth Barfoot Christian and the book's contributors expertly navigate these questions and more in Rock Brands: Selling Sound in a Media Saturated Culture.
Elizabeth Barfoot Christian —
Elizabeth Barfoot Christian is assistant professor of journalism at Louisiana Tech University.
Rock brands: selling sound in a media saturated culture, ed. by Elizabeth Barfoot Christian. Lexington Books, 2011. 352p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780739146347; ISBN 9780739146354 pbk. Reviewed in 2011aug CHOICE.
Like Alan O'Connor's Punk Record Labels and the Struggle for Autonomy (2008), which looks at the DIY movement, and Sidney Eve Matrix's Cyberpop: Digital Lifestyles and Commodity Culture (2006), the present volume explores the connection between marketing and the longevity of pop/rock. The contributors, among whom Christian (journalism, Louisiana Tech Univ.) figures prominently, discuss, among other things, the manner in which marketing has sustained the career of Ozzy Osbourne (far beyond his expiration date); demolished and amplified the career of Marilyn Manson (whose inadvertent use by the Columbine killers thrust the singer into a long, protracted campaign to distance himself from disturbed fans); and revivified the corpse of Michael Jackson (and the flagging fortunes of his estate, from $250 million at his death to a cool $1 billion in 2011). Segmented into three sections--on branding, the confluence of image/religion/politics, and sustaining fame beyond life--the essays explore, as Christian writes in her introduction, how "older and new popular music acts ... function (and) ... thrive in this new fast-paced culture." This book provides clever, gritty analysis of the symbiosis between advertising and pop institutions such as MTV, Elvis, the Internet, and Xbox's Rock Band without tipping over into demeaning cynicism.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. -- S. Lenig, Columbia State Community College