CFP: Special Journal Issue – “Playing Together, Playing Alone: Music and Connection”

Following from the successful IASPM-ANZ conference held at the Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton, in December 2018, we are collating papers for a special journal issue that addresses the theme of Playing Together, Playing Alone: Music and Connection.

Music exists in and connects all aspects of our lives. When we listen to music, it provides us with company through our connection with the artists, performers, and personae (Moore 2012); we feel connected to others when music is part of a ritual or celebration; when we play music together, we are connected to those around us (Turino 2008); drawing on Frith (1996), we connect ourselves to music as a means of playing with and shaping our identities. Further to this, when music is connected with other media, such as film or video games, we open up the possibility of playing with meanings and intertextual references. In this sense, music connects to what Henry Jenkins et al (2005, 2013) refer to as participatory cultures and transmedia storytelling,
At the same time, music disconnects people. If music is a marker of who we are and what we represent, then playing music can disconnect us from those who do not share the same identities. There is also a certain ambivalence in the notion of musical “play” – who gets to play? Who does not? What enables some, and not others, to join the game? What are the rules? And even though it is axiomatic to state that we are more connected than ever through technological advancements, the same technology can distance us – we can now inhabit branded personal silos of musical taste through Spotify and other apps (Morris & Powers 2015); we can listen in our own headphone worlds or ‘privatised auditory bubbles’ (Bull 2005); we can create music without ever having to leave a room and engage others.

With these ideas in mind, we are seeking papers that speak to the following questions:


  • Ritual: how is music used in rituals to foster connections between people?
  • Affect: what do we feel connected to through music? What do we feel when we are connected to music?
  • Politics and identity: how does music connect large groups of people through shared identities and ideologies? How is/has music been used to separate and marginalize groups of people?
  • Connection and technology: how does technology facilitate new connections between listeners? How does technology facilitate new connections between performers and creators? How does technology preclude connections between people?
  • Music Making: how does playing and participating in music connect people? What are the boundaries and requirements for people to participate?
  • Time: how does music forge connections across historical eras for performers, in terms of tribute acts, homage, or pastiche? Or for listeners, in terms of memory and nostalgia?
  • Historiography: what are the historical dimensions and factors in considering notions of music, play, and connection? How are the ways that we create connections through music now different to those five years ago? Or fifty years ago? What might musical connections look like in the future?

If you’re interested in contributing, email an abstract of no more than 350 words in PDF format to the editors. Please include the article title and describe your research question, approach and argument. Please include a brief biography in the body of your email. Biographies can be up to 75 words and should include your institutional affiliation and research interests. Full articles should be 5000 words (plus bibliography). All articles will be double-blind refereed and must adhere to MLA style (6th edition)

Abstract deadline: 8 November 2019

Please send to:

Editors: Matthew Bannister, Nick Braae, Ben Green and Megan Rogerson-Berry.

IASPM-ANZ Press release on ARC grant interference by Minister

A Senate Estimates enquiry yesterday revealed that over $4 million in funding had been denied to ARC Discovery and DECRA grants in the humanities and social sciences after a veto of the projects by then Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham. The rejected grants included two music related projects, including one by IASPM-ANZ members.

‘The academic community should be united in its condemnation of the arbitrary rejection of these grants’, said IASPM-ANZ Chair Dr Catherine Strong. ‘The ARC has a very rigorous process of review for its grant funding, which is considered world-leading. That a Minister can override this process undermines the whole system.’

‘That music-related projects appear to be being targeted as part of this is not only alarming to our members, but makes little sense in light of the government’s own priorities. The music industries contribute billions of dollars to the Australian economy, and music heritage, the subject of one of the rejected grants, is a growth area bringing huge tourist dollars and community benefit around the world. The rejection of a project like this demonstrates how unsuitable it is for a non-expert like the Minister to be making these calls.’

‘We hope the government will revisit its approach to this funding, and call on them to reinstate funding for these particular grants.’

Media enquirers: Catherine Strong 0404604544

CFP: IASPM ANZ 2018 Annual Conference Hamilton NZ, Dec 3-5

“Playing Along”: Music, Participation, and Everyday Life

Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec)
Hamilton, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Information about conference registration, accommodation, and more for the IASPM-ANZ Conference is now available at:

Please note that the deals for accommodation kindly provided by the Novotel/Ibis Hotels and the Wintec Apartments are available until 1 November and 15 October, respectively.

Earlybird registration prices will also last until 1 November.

The preliminary programme will be posted shortly.

Just announced: Keynote speaker Richard O’Brien

Richard has enjoyed many successes as an actor, musician, writer, and composer, in a 50-year career, but is best known for composing and writing the acclaimed The Rocky Horror Show, which remains a favourite in theatres over 40 years after its release. Richard currently resides in New Zealand, and remains actively involved in the Waikato musical theatre scene, where he is patron of the Hamilton Operatic Society.

Music exists in all aspects of our lives. It provides us with company; it is a part of rituals and celebrations; it creates dialogues with visual images through films and games; indeed, other media turn to music to stimulate sensations, affects, even tastes and smells. People participate in music, they play along, they accompany, they are accompanied, and thereby they may gain skills, knowledge, pleasure, companionship and so on. Music provides the means for performing and creating identities, which could relate to gender, culture or other identifiers. And through playing along, when we respond to rhythms and sounds with gestures, we might say we are also creating the music itself.

“Playing along” also invokes a certain ambivalence, a suggestion of dissimulation with ideological implications—who gets to play? What enables some, and not others, to join the game? What are the rules? We might also consider the notion of performers “playing along”, and thus issues relating to sharing or “stealing” music, copyright, streaming, versioning, covering, plagiarizing, and arranging. Finally, we may ask whether to “play along” today is the same as five, ten, or 50 years ago? How have technology and the changing world shaped what it means to participate in musical activities? Perhaps what is most at stake here is music’s ambiguous ontological status—is the sweetest music that which is just beyond the horizon of audition? Can we gesture it into existence?

We are seeking papers and panel proposals that speak to the following areas:

  • “Sing as one”: vernacular performance and everyday “musicking”
  • “In the Mix”: music in dialogue with other media (film, TV, games, etc.)
  • “You’ve Got a Friend”: music as a resource for identity and belonging
  • “The sound of home or exile”: music, place, and time
  • “Music Box”: music and its material cultures
  • “Playing it Strange”: accompaniment, covers, and arrangement
  • “Great Pretenders”: music and dissimulation, masking, and power
  • “Let the music play”: music and audiences, dance music
  • “Are Friends Electric?”: music, technology, performance/reproduction, music online.
  • “Damn It, Janet!”: performing gendered identities in music.

Abstracts should be no more than 250 words, and should include 3-5 keywords. Please submit abstracts in doc, docx, rtf format, and send to

Deadline for abstract submission: June 1st 2018.

All participants must be members of IASPM. If you are not a member, details on how to join are available here:

We encourage all members of IASPM-International to consider attending.

Best regards from the organising committee,

Dr. Matthew Bannister, Dr. Jeremy Mayall, Dr. Nick Braae; Megan Rogerson-Berry (all Wintec).

CFP – IASPM Biennial conference 2019 Canberra

Turns and Revolutions in Popular Music Studies

XX Biennial IASPM Conference
School of Music, The Australian National University
Canberra, Australia, 24–28 June 2019

UPDATE: Full website for the conference available here:

Call for Presentations

As certain songsters and songstresses have noted, seasons turn, turn, turn, even if you are talking about a revolution. While global warming alters seasonal cycles with the aid of neoliberal and (pseudo)socialist forms of capitalism, and waves of societal turmoil follow each other with varying degrees of authoritarianism in different parts of the world, popular music studies remains committed to critical enquiry of music of the masses, the everyday, a variety of subcultures, the megastars, all with their revolutionary potential. Faced with the increasing worldwide austerity in the humanities and social sciences, caused by short-sighted research funding policies that purportedly aim at revolutionary technological and business innovations, popular music studies also struggles with its future directions. Whither popular music studies and where to turn?

Popular music studies in its institutional form is approaching the end of its youthful years, and IASPM will celebrate its twentieth biennial conference in Canberra. This provides also an opportunity to turn to the past and reconsider what may be learned from the twists and shouts of the previous decades. How have recent affective, neomaterialist, performative, post-humanist, spatial, transnational and visual turns, among others, affected popular music studies, and what might the emergent or future disciplinary turns be? Or to what extent do the turns and revolutions within popular music studies signal an excessive neoliberal belief in constant innovation that implies a lack of thorough investigation of the field’s intellectual history? How are the politics of higher education changing the field’s history of critical research and challenging its civic agenda?

To address these issues, as well as any other questions and topics related to the past, present and future turns and revolutions of popular music studies, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music invites proposals for the twentieth biennial conference, to be held at the School of Music at the Australian National University in Canberra 24–28 June 2019. The general theme of the conference is divided into six interrelated streams:

a) Temporal turns and revolutions. In recent years there has been a pronounced interest in popular music as cultural heritage. Alongside issues of heritagisation, this stream accommodates topics relating to nostalgia, history, historiography and futurology alike, and any other aspect involving temporal relations within popular music studies.

b) Spatial turns and revolutions. As popular music studies is a global field of enquiry, debates emerge concerning the key geographical loci of its knowledge production. This stream welcomes discussion on the centrality of Western conceptualisations of popular music and their challenges, including the variety of centre–periphery relations, “locals” versus “newcomers”, migration and displacement. Furthermore, how are issues of space and place dealt with in the field, including such liminal circumstances as festivals?

c) Technological turns and revolutions. Media studies approaches constitute a dominant strand of popular music studies, and in addition to issues of media, mediation, mediatisation, et cetera, this stream invites topics that address all dimensions of popular music and technology, whether conceived as practical technical solutions or more abstract logic behind the use of various tools and techniques. A particularly relevant theme in this stream is the presence of technological elements in all stages of the music industry, from production to consumption, and how they blur the lines between live, recorded and streamed music experiences. Additionally, how is technology inspiring aesthetic choices, also in terms of post-digital backlash?

d) Political turns and revolutions. Popular music studies, however defined, is intimately associated with questions of power relations and hence with politics. In an age of global migration, extremist populism, global warming and #metoo, the politics of popular music are implicated in issues of racism, ecological activism and gender and sexual discrimination in particular. Presentations focussing on identity, intersectionality, and more generally, inclusivity are especially welcome, as well as those that address the socio-historical shifts in protest music, however conceived.

e) Theoretical turns and revolutions. How has the inherent interdisciplinary nature of the field evolved during the last decades? How have “popular” and “music” been – and continue to be – understood in the field, and how is their “study” or “analysis” conceived? Furthermore, how are the theoretical and methodological choices that popular music scholars make today likely to affect the field’s “health and wellbeing” in the future? Of particular relevance here are topics that deal with conceptual curves and conflicts within popular music studies, whether stemming from feminism, Marxism, postcolonialism, semiotics, music analysis, or any strand of music theory in its broadest sense.

f) Affective turns and revolutions. Issues of feeling, emotion and pleasure have been central in the study of popular music, in part because of the importance granted to forms of stardom and fandom. Alongside such questions, this stream tackles additional aspects of affective attunements and alliances within popular music and its scholarly investigation.

Academic Committee

Pablo Alabarces, Emilia Barna, Sam de Boise, Giacomo Bottà, Diego García Peinazo, Elsa Grassy, Florian Heesch, Sarah Hill, Fabian Holt, Nadine Hubbs, Laura Jordán González, Pil Ho Kim, Serge Lacasse, Kristin McGee, Isabella Pek, Rosa Reitsamer (co-chair), Geoff Stahl (co-chair).

Local Organising Committee

Samantha Bennett (chair), Catherine Hoad, Di Hughes, Stephen Loy, Bonnie McConnell, Pat O’Grady, Georgia Pike, Julie Rickwood, Geoff Stahl, Catherine Strong, Aleisha Ward, Samuel Whiting, Kirsten Zemke.


There will be four options: panels (of 3 or 4 presenters), individual papers, film/video presentations, or poster sessions.


Proposals of organized panels are strongly recommended (two-hour long sessions with four papers, or three papers and a discussant). Each session should leave at least 30 minutes for discussion or for comments by a discussant immediately following the presentations. The panel organizer should submit the panel abstract and all individual abstracts (200 words each) in one document, with a full list of participant names and email addresses. Where an independently submitted abstract appears to fit a panel, the Academic Committee may suggest the addition of a panellist.


We invite abstracts of no longer than 200 words, including five keywords for programming purposes and an optional list of references (max 10). Individual paper presentations are 20 minutes long to be followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Film/video session

Recently completed films introduced by their author and discussed by conference participants may be proposed. Submit a 200-word abstract including titles, subjects, and formats, and indicate the duration of the proposed films/videos and introduction/discussion.

Poster session

A space where presenters can exhibit posters will be provided. A 200-word abstract by the poster’s author, including five keywords for programming purposes, must be submitted.


Please email your abstract no later than 31 July 2018, as a doc/odt/rtf attachment to <>. Please name the file with your surname (eg. Ciccone.docx). The following format should be used:

• Name, affiliation and contact email address
• Type of presentation (select one from: panel, individual paper, film/video, poster)
• Stream (select preferably one but not more than two from: Temporal/Spatial/Technological/Political/Theoretical/Affective Turns and Revolutions)
• Title of presentation
• Abstract (200 words maximum; in the case of panels, include a general abstract followed by individual abstracts, in total 1000 words maximum)
• Five keywords
• Bio (80 words maximum; in case of panels, bios of all participants)

Abstracts will be accepted in English, IASPM’s official language. Papers in all other languages are allowed, if accompanied by a visual presentation in English. Letters of acceptance will be sent by 30 September 2018.

Each participant must be a member of IASPM: Each participant may present only one paper at the Conference, but may also preside over a panel or serve as a discussant.

The conference organisers look forward to receiving your submissions!

Call for Papers 2017 IASPM-ANZ Conference: Mixing Pop and Politics

Mixing Pop and Politics: Subversion, Resistance and Reconciliation in Popular Music
IASPM-ANZ 2017 Conference
December 4-6, 2017
Massey University, Wellington, Aotearoa/New ZealandForty years ago, the story goes, punk broke. Not for the first time, and not the last. History provides us with ample examples of the power of popular music to speak to, through, and against various political moments. The contemporary situation also offers countless opportunities to explore how popular music revisits, reconstitutes, rewrites and reconciles itself to this past. At the same time, it also points to new directions informed by the complicated position popular music occupies in relation to the shifting paradigms of power in which we currently find ourselves. This IASPM-ANZ conference aims to explore the complex politics of resistance, subversion, containment and reconciliation from now and then, as well as points in-between.
We are seeking papers and panel proposals that touch on, but are not restricted to, the following areas:• (We’re) Stranded: Punk and Post-Punk in Australia, New Zealand and Beyond
• I Will Survive: The Politics of Pleasure and Popular Music
• You Don’t Own Me: Cultivating, Codifying and Commodifying Resistance
• You’ve Got the Power: Populism, Authoritarianism, Anarchy and Popular Music
• This Machine Kills Fascists: Technologies, Politics and Popular Music
• The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Popular Music on Screen(s)
• Here’s Where The Story Ends: Alternate Histories of Popular Music
• Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: Of DJs, Dancefloors and Discos
• We Are the Robots: Resistant, Reconciled, Reconstituted, Recombinant Bodies in Popular Music
• If You’re Feeling Sinister: Affect, Emotion and the Subversive Power of Popular Music
• Playing With a Different Sex: Otherness and Othering in Popular Music
• A Whisper to a Scream: Silence, Distortion, Amplification and the Politics of SoundAbstracts should be no more than 250 words, and should include 3-5 keywords. Please submit abstracts in doc, docx, rtf format, and send as “last” to
Deadline for abstract submission: June 1st 2017.
All participants must be members of IASPM. If you are not a member, details on how to join are available here:
We encourage all members of IASPM-International to consider attending.
Best regards from the organising committee,
Kim Cannady (Victoria University)
Olivia Lucas (Victoria University)
Norman Meehan (Massey University)
Geoff Stahl (Victoria University)
Oli Wilson (Massey University)

IASPM-ANZ 2016 federal election press release

INXS, Powderfinger, Jet, Courtney Barnett – will Australia support the next generation of music stars?

As a leading body for popular music in Australia, the Australia & New Zealand branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-ANZ) adds its concerns to those of other arts organisations over the lack of focus on the arts in the current Australian election.

Dr Catherine Strong, Chair of IASPM-ANZ, said today,

‘Music is and always has been a key part of Australia’s culture. The cuts to music and arts funding made by the current government in the last budget, and their continued failure make public its arts policies in the lead up to the election, now only days away, is deeply concerning for the sector and our culture’.

IASPM-ANZ members know that the production, consumption and circulation of popular music has many economic, social and cultural benefits. Popular music remains an important leisure/entertainment activity: a report from the Australia Council in 2014 showed that 99% of Australians listen to music and attend a music event in any one year; 32% of young people between 15 and 24 make music; and 14% of Australians play a music instrument.

According to APRA and Live Performance Australia, it is estimated that the Australian popular music industries contribute almost $6b to the national economy, generating revenue of $2b annually.

Recent cuts and changes made to funding related to popular music threaten the health of this sector and our culture.

Strong added ‘we support the policies of the Labor Party, Greens Party and Arts Party, where they have pledged to return funding to the Australia Council, and ensure transparency in the administration of arts funding; restore funding to Sounds Australia, and put in place or retain other initiatives that promote and nurture Australian musicians.”

Given that the benefits to the community and economy of popular music are greater than any of these investments, we call on the current government to also commit to supporting music in Australia.

Contact Catherine Strong (

Extended statement
(With thanks to Shane Homan)

The production, consumption and circulation of popular music has many economic, social and cultural benefits. Popular music remains an important leisure/entertainment activity: 99% of Australians listen to music and attend a music event in any one year; 32% of young people between 15 and 24 make music; and 14% of Australians play a music instrument (Australia Council 2014).

It is estimated that the Australian popular music industries contribute almost $6b to the national economy, generating revenue of $2b annually (APRA 2011; Live Performance Australia 2015; Music in Australia Knowledge Base 2015). This is as part of an arts sector that more broadly has higher employment growth rates than the rest of the economy.

Globally, the current powers of multinational music-media aggregators of music content to set the terms of music consumption and revenues have important implications for Australian artists, labels and consumers. The role of industries and the state in promoting the visibility of Australian music in international markets has also become increasingly important. Locally, the health of live performance circuits emphasises the need for continuing reform of our music venues.

IASPM ANZ seeks to emphasise this mix of issues in ensuring policy settings that reflect industrial and cultural priorities. In particular, as political parties increasingly emphasise the need for ‘smart’ cities and innovative industries, there is an urgent need to address the following policy areas:

Music cities
The strong music scenes of Australian cities have produced many important artists, and are recognised internationally as key sites of music making. This should be supported through:

Ensuring sustainability of funding for the Live Music Office to continue to investigate reform of council and state government regulations affecting live performance sectors

Nation-wide adoption of best practice in noise law reforms, including the ‘Agent of change’ principle and the ‘Good Music Neighbours’ programs established by Creative Victoria. Policy changes in this area have led to a reduction in live music revenue in NSW recently, highlighting the vulnerability of the sector to government decisions that do not sufficiently understand its needs.

Music education
There is a growing body of research that shows that not only does music education in schools and beyond help to create the next generation of musicians, but that it also has significant benefits for young people in terms of their learning and wellbeing more broadly. This should be supported through:

Ensuring funding for specialist music teachers in primary schools, in keeping with best international practice

Preventing deregulation of university fee structures that will prohibit the completion of tertiary music courses at reasonable HECS rates

Touring programs
The ability of acts to play in regional areas is decreasing as touring costs rise and the number of venues decrease. There is an urgent need to review and renew the assistance provided to Australian artists to support regional circuits that can address city-centric emphases in live performance.

Arts funding
Peer reviewed administration of public arts funding remains an important part of due process and is respected by the music sector (Australia Council 2012). To ensure faith and transparency:

The $28m cut from Australia Council block funding in 2014 should be restored; and

Rather than existing as a Ministerial prerogative, the $104.8 Catalyst program should be administered by the Australia Council

Music promotion
The federal export program, Sounds Australia, has grown from showcasing 49 acts per year in 2009 to over 200 acts per year in 2014 and 2015 (APRA-AMCOS 2016). To ensure the program continues its work in promoting an Australian presence in international markets, the following should be adopted:

Restore block funding of Sounds Australia within Australia Council funding, removing the need for yearly applications for funding in other funding programs;

Restore prior investments in music export promotion (e.g. Music Managers, International Pathways programs) administered by the Australia Council

Broadcast Media
The community radio sector remains an important part of the broadcast media ecosystem, particularly in airing emerging local artists seeking state and national profiles. To assist community music radio in remaining viable against mainstream commercial radio, the usual election-cycle plans by political parties to remove community radio funding should be replaced with stability for this sector:

IASPM ANZ calls on the federal government to restore the $1.4m proposed cuts to the Community Broadcasting Program

Popular music research
There is a lack of consistent social, cultural and industrial research mapping popular music activity in broad Australian contexts. This is particularly acute as the Australian Bureau of Statistics partially withdraws from cultural sector research as the result of funding cuts.

There is a need for the federal government to financially support and broker key research landscapes that can inform future social and industrial priorities. This research support should be administered in an impartial and transparent manner, to ensure freedom from industry and government agendas.

A coherent cultural policy
Above all, it is astonishing that beyond Ministerial attendance at an ArtsPeak policy debate, the sitting government does not possess a cultural policy as an alternative to the 2013 Labor government’s Creative Australia.

There is an urgent need for the successful government post-election to construct and implement a coherent national cultural policy that makes clear intersecting arts and cultural industry policies, schemes and activities; and how and where Australian artists are positioned in relation to current and future global shifts in cultural production and consumption.

APRA (2011) Economic contribution of the venue-based live music industry in Australia, Report by Ernst and Young

APRA-AMCOS (2016) APRA AMCOS 2014-2015 Year in Review, online report

Australia Council for the Arts (2012) The music recording sector in Australia: strategic initiatives, June

Australia Council for the Arts (2014) Arts in Daily Life: Australian Participation in the Arts – Report, May

Live Performance Australia (2015) 2014 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey

Music in Australia Knowledge Base (2015) Estimating the Value of the Music Sector (2005-2014)

Productivity Commission (2016) Intellectual Property Arrangements, April, Australian Government, Canberra

Call for Papers 2016 IASPM-ANZ Conference: Isolated Musics, Connected Musics

Call for Papers

2016 IASPM-ANZ Conference: Isolated Musics, Connected Musics

7-9 December 2016, CQUniversity Mackay 

Music exists within space as social practice. In the past, music traditions have been embedded within geographical place; however increasingly we regard distance and space differently than in the past. How do popular musics interact with space? What does the concept of distance or nearness mean in globally connected or disconnected music cultures? What does the advent of technology for ameliorating distance mean for the concept of distance, eg. urban/country, near/far, amateur/professional.

This conference invites papers on this theme. This may include (but is not limited to):

•  Geographical distance

•  Urban vs. rural space

•  Musical place vs. musical space

•  Personal space vs. communal space

•  Social and economic distance

  Regional versus metropolitan

•  Amateur space

•  Professional space

•  Islandness versus mainland

•  Performance spaces

•  Virtual distance and social media

•  Temporal distance

•  Aesthetic distance

•  Sonic distance and cultures

•  Spaces and distances of intimacy

•  Connection with audiences

•  Existential distances

We welcome papers of 20 minutes’ duration (plus 10 minutes for discussion). Members are also invited to submit proposals for panel presentations.

Abstracts may be submitted at

The organising committee may be contacted at

About the Conference

The conference will take place at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music at CQUniversity‘s Ooralea campus in Mackay. Mackay is in Central Queensland at the southern tip of the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef. Accommodation is offered on-campus, or is available nearby.

Call for papers due: 31 May 2016

Dr David Cashman, CQUniversity

Professor Phil Hayward, UTS/Southern Cross University

Dr Eve Klein, University of Queensland

Dr Natalie Lewandowski, Griffith University

Conference Organising Committee

IASPM-ANZ Statement on the Federal Government’s ‘Radicalisation Awareness Kit’

At the start of this week, the Federal Government released its ‘Radicalisation Awareness Kit’ into schools. The kit includes a fictitious case study about Karen, explaining how although she came from a ‘loving family’, “[w]hen she moved out of home to attend university Karen became involved in the alternative music scene, student politics and left-wing activism.” This then led to attending demonstrations and finally the sabotage of logging operations and Karen’s arrest.

Our organisation strongly objects to the linking of participation in the alternative music scene to radicalisation of any kind. There is no reputable evidence to suggest that listening to certain types of music leads to particular political outcomes for the audience. Suggesting that young people who listen to certain types of music are in some way more ‘dangerous’ than others is not only insupportable, but can have negative consequences for those young people, as we will outline below.

To begin with, however, we need to note what an extraordinarily wide net this case study has cast through using the phrase ‘alternative music’. This could mean almost anything, from music such as heavy metal and electronic music that pushes boundaries musically, to music-based subcultures, such as goth, emo and punk. It could also mean anything that is not distributed on mainstream record labels, and the live music that is performed in thousands of independent venues around the country.

Not only does this demonstrate the absurdity of suggesting a link between music and radicalisation, given how many people come into contact with this type of music, but it means the government is casting aspersions on a very large proportion of the Australian population.

It is worth remembering also that the live music sector – most of which can be considered ‘alternative’ in one way or another – is worth around $16billion to the Australian economy (on conservative estimates). It is surprising therefore to find the government undermining, rather than supporting, this sector.

The idea that young people who like certain types of music are problems waiting to happen needs to be challenged, as it has consequences for them. We have seen this in the US in the wake of the Columbine massacre in 1999, where unsubstantiated media reports suggested that the music the killers listened to influenced their actions. This led to the targeting of differently dressed students at schools across the country, with some being expelled or arrested mainly on the basis of their perceived association with particular types of musical subcultures.

In the UK, work by researchers such as Paul Hodkinson has clearly demonstrated the way that visible identification with alternative music scenes and subcultures can lead to discrimination, particularly in the form of bullying. Sometimes though it can go further; Lancaster goth Sophie Lancaster was killed in an attack motivated by her subcultural clothing. This has led to the adoption of laws that have made discrimination on the basis of membership of a subculture a type of hate crime, on par with discrimination on the basis of sexuality or race. This recognition of the legitimacy of young people’s identity construction through music, and protection of their right to do so, is forward thinking, and shows a very different approach to what we see in this awareness kit.

Attending protests and listening to alternative music are not gateways to radicalisation. On the contrary, young people should be being encouraged to take an interest in politics, including lawful demonstrations, and to explore as many different forms of culture as possible. For the government to frame these things as frightening and problematic is misguided at best, and can have real-world negative consequences for young people at worst. Alternative music, and music generally, is an art form that can be especially powerful for young people as they develop. We should not further alienate those that feel isolated or ‘alternative’, but instead invite them to discuss their difference and seek help if they are in danger.

IASPM-ANZ calls on the government to withdraw these materials from schools.

2015 Conference registration now open

Hi everyone,
We are pleased to announce that registration for the 2015 IASPM-ANZ branch conference is now open. Registration fees are as follows:
Early bird registration until October 5th – $140
Full registration (October 6th – November 13th) – $180
Student registration – $110 (Please note identification will be required on arrival)
Please register via the conference website here:
Our conference dinner will be held at Mount Stromlo Observatory on Saturday December 5th. The cost of the dinner is $50, to include return travel by coach from the School of Music, ANU.
The organising committee is delighted to announce Professor Bruce Johnson as our keynote speaker. Professor Johnson’s paper is titled ‘More Than Meets the Eye: Popular Music Stardom and Politics’.

We look forward to welcoming you all to Canberra in December.

Best wishes
Dr Julie Rickwood
Dr Stephen Loy
Dr Samantha Bennett
H C Coombs Fellow Andrew Farriss
ANU School of Music

2015 IASPM ANZ Branch Conference Organising Committee