Browsing by Author "Ahonen, Laura"

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  • Ahonen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The subject of the thesis is the mediated construction of author images in popular music. In the study, the construction of images is treated as a process in which artists, the media and the members of the audience participate. The notions of presented, mediated and compiled author images are used in explaining the mediation process and the various authorial roles of the agents involved. In order to explore the issue more closely, I analyse the author images of a group of popular music artists representing the genres of rock, pop and electronic dance music. The analysed material consists mostly of written media texts through which the artists authorial roles and creative responsibilities are discussed. Theoretically speaking, the starting points for the examination lie in cultural studies and discourse analysis. Even though author images may be conceived as intertextual constructions, the artist is usually presented as a recognizable figure whose purpose is to give the music its public face. This study does not, then, deal with musical authors as such, but rather with their public images and mediated constructions. Because of the author-based functioning of popular music culture and the idea of the artist s individual creative power, the collective and social processes involved in the making of popular music are often superseded by the belief in a single, originating authorship. In addition to the collective practices of music making, the roles of the media and the marketing machinery complicate attempts to clarify the sharing of authorial contributions. As the case studies demonstrate, the differences between the examined author images are connected with a number of themes ranging from issues of auteurism and stardom to the use of masked imagery and the blending of authorial voices. Also the emergence of new music technologies has affected not only the ways in which music is made, but also how the artist s authorial status and artistic identity is understood. In the study at hand, the author images of auteurs, stars, DJs and sampling artists are discussed alongside such varied topics as collective authorship, evaluative hierarchies, visual promotion and generic conventions. Taken altogether, the examined case studies shed light on the functioning of popular music culture and the ways in which musical authorship is (re)defined.