New wine AND new bottles: Announcing our new website!

Dear friends,

it is our absolute pleasure to introduce you to our branch’s brand new website, the culmination of many months of fruitful collaboration by the branch’s board. The beautiful design is by our board member Melanie Schiller. Here it is!:

Featuring pages dedicated to news (including CfPs and job alerts), our 2021 conference, and a “current research” blog. If you want to present your popular music research to a broad audience – feel free to get in touch via our new website or on Twitter! We’d love to hear about your prospective, on-going, or finished studies/books/essays! BA, MA, PhD welcome. We’re interested in research relating to Benelux popular music or carried out by researchers based in the Benelux.

And more exciting news: while our Twitter account began as a conference account (dedicated to our branch’s 2020 conference, now postponed to 2021), we have decided to transform it into our official branch account. So a new website AND new branch account!

This also means that we have to say goodbye to this site. For archival reasons, it will remain online for a short period, but we will render it inactive in due time. Similarly, this means this will be the last time you receive a post like this from us. However, we will still reach out to you once in a while; upon becoming a member, you can opt in to receive our brand new newsletter via this form. (P.S.: existing members should have received a newsletter sometime on 7 September 2020; upon renewing your membership, you will have to indicate if you want to keep on receiving the newsletter.)

Pay our website and Twitter account a visit when you can and do stay in touch!

IASPM Benelux conference RE-peat, please! – postponed to 2021

When we launched our CfP back in 2019, the world was a different place. 2020 is not what many of us hoped it would be, the global pandemic being one of the factors that impact us both as individuals and as a society. As you know, due to Corona countermeasures, we were forced to postpone the IASPM Benelux conference “RE-peat, please!, to be held in Antwerp in May 2020, to October 2020. Alas, also this cannot be…

Our host, the University of Antwerp, has recently issued the framework under which it will operate during the fall semester of 2020, and it has become clear that holding our conference in October is practically unfeasible. Not only is there the ever-looming danger of a second wave, but we would also need to drastically cut down the number of presenters (due to physical distancing measures), refrain from offering food, and so on. This would defy one of the key aims of our conference, to allow our national and international attendees to connect.

Therefore, we took the difficult decision to postpone our conference once more, pushing it into 2021. Our conference venue is still the University of Antwerp and the new dates are 7–9 October 2021. (Please note that Thursday 7 October will only comprise an evening reception, the actual presentations take place all day on Friday and Saturday.) Our keynotes have confirmed their attendance, and also our conference theme will remain.

Naturally, all invitations to present remains valid, although we understand when a presenter might want to change their proposal to reflect their ongoing research. Also, we understand that some will no longer be able to (be) present, or might not know yet if this will be possible. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience.

All presenters have been notified by mail. We will get back to everyone sometime in January 2021 to see if they are (1) willing to present, (2) interested in delivering the paper submitted for this year or submit a new proposal (note that this will be accepted automatically unless it fails to address the conference theme).

Once again, accept our apologies for the inconvenience this might cause you. All the best, and stay safe!

2019 IASPM / VNPF Benelux Thesis Prize winners announced!

In the midst of these testing times, we should not forget to celebrate success when it presents itself. It is for this reason that we are very pleased to announce the 2019 IASPM / VNPF Benelux Thesis Prize winners!

The winner of the BA Thesis Prize is

Maartje Boekestein of the University of Groningen with a thesis titled

“Performing the Process: Exploring Metamusicality in Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Eminem’s The Eminem Show

The winner of the MA Thesis Prize is

Boris Gunst of the Erasmus University Rotterdam with a thesis titled

“The Audience as Gatekeeper: Attention for Unreleased Techno Music in Online Communities as Indicator for Post-Release Success”

Congratulations on behalf of the members of the IASPM Benelux board, our broader chapter membership, and the VNPF!

We plan to pay tribute to our prize winners’ achievement in an awards ceremony to be held during our biannual IASPM Benelux Conference. We originally planned to hold this conference in mid-May 2020, but the pandemic has caused us to have to postpone it to 15–17 October 2020. We realize even this may not be possible and we will keep you updated on our plans. Keep an eye on this site, our conference website, our Facebook page, and our conference Twitter account.

We hope we will be celebrating this achievement with both our prize winners in the not-too-distant future. Until then, and keep well.

IASPM Benelux conference (May, Antwerp) postponed!

it is with deep regret that we announce that we have to postpone our IASPM Benelux conference. During the past week, the situation in Belgium has intensified, and yesterday, the Belgian government took a series of far-reaching measures in an effort to dam the further spread of the new Corona virus Covid-19. The local committee and the IASPM Benelux board have convened a number of times with the University administration to discuss the possible impact on our conference. Simultaneously, we began working out alternatives. This morning, 13 March 2020, the dice was cast.

The conference, originally planned to take place on 14–16 May 2020, will be postponed to 15–17 October 2020. We aim to keep the same schedule outline as for our May conference, including our two keynotes, the opening reception (15 October), a walking dinner, and so forth.

Registration for the October conference is open on
More information on the postponed conference can be found on

Thank you kindly for your understanding, and our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this postponement causes you. Best wishes and stay healthy!
The IASPM Benelux board and the local conference committee.

Our esteemed keynote speakers!

We are pleased to announce the full abstracts of the presentations of our keynote speakers for the 2020 conference.

One Friday 15 May from 14:00 to 15:00,  Johannes Ismaiel-Wendt from the Universität Hildesheim in Germany will give a talk entitled The name ‘Johannes Ismaiel-Wendt’ is mentioned in a paper uploaded to Academia by a well-known author: Funky reflections on popular music studies’ most relevant ‘RE-‘: …

Re-cording, Re-sonating, Re-mix, Re-tro, Re-membering, … the question of the most relevant ‘Re-‘ in Popular Music Studies can be answered tautologically very easily: it is the question of ‘Relevance’ of Popular Music Studies. Who actually needs Popular Music Studies? How do Popular Music Studies legitimize themselves? What are the hot topics? What is being abjected? Is the knowledge gathered only correct or is it also useful? If so: For whom?

In a performative dialogue with the scholars present and from a postcolonial perspective I will ask whether ‘Irrelevance’ is not the actual (unconscious) founding object of Popular Music Studies. There is some evidence to suggest that many publications in Popular Music Studies fulfil all categories of a “typology of irrelevance” (S.F. Alatas 2001). In order to reflect the situation not only pessimistically, I ask whether Popular Music Studies can learn something from their object of research, which flirts openly with ‘Irrelevance’.

His talk is kindly co-sponsored by the University of Amsterdam.

The next day, on Saturday 15 May from 9:00 to 10:30, Kristin McGee from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands will give a talk entitled Regenerating the Recorded Music Archive at the Intersections of Jazz and Pop within Europe.

In “Subjectivity in the Groove,” Bernardo Attias identifies typical anxieties expressed as new technologies transform recorded musical cultures: that they “degrade the fidelity of musical recordings” and “threaten to undermine the development of musical technique” (Attias 2013, 20-21). As music institutions have consistently advocated for the committed study of canonical recordings to elevate instrumental techniques, the “flexible interpretation” of new technologies during the digital era re-animated such anxieties within the reception of especially hybrid combinations of electronic music, jazz and popular music throughout Europe. In Berlin, a city celebrated for its post-industrial exploration of electronic soundscapes within dance cultures, new techniques such as digital sound production and drum sequencing significantly transformed the aesthetics of jazz inspired musical recordings and related performance practices. Especially the transformative 1990s witnessed the emergence of socially oriented record collecting communities which gradually grew into production led outfits (PLOs) committed, as “phonographic artists” (Katz), to the metamorphosis of coveted recordings within the hybrid digital studio and eventually through the now wide-spread remix format. In Utrecht, disbanded industrial buildings provided spaces for the revival of prior jazz aesthetics within music collectives who shared a fascination with a mythologized recorded music past. In Herräng, Sweden, the fastidiously studied canon of jazz and swing films from the 1930s and 40s too stimulated both transnational media pilgrimages and the subsequent transformation of architectural spaces as contemporary meeting points for the regeneration of corporeally driven popular music communities. And finally, the sampling of swing on contemporary jazz/pop recordings by European artists who later synchronized their recordings within the visually oriented music video medium expanded the historical and cultural impact of the recording archive for digitally oriented aesthetic communities populating the more diffuse virtual spaces of social media. All of these phenomena connected to a recorded music archive, exemplify a transnational commitment to regenerating the past to reposition jazz as popular music in the twenty first century. 

This keynote examines the dialogical role performed by the recorded music archive for contemporary music communities within Europe, especially those working at the borders of jazz, electronic music, and pop. Drawing from ethnographic research, this lecture explores encounters and engagements with the past through especially three inter-related practices and contexts: the remix, the dance revival, and the YouTube archive. Each is recognized as catalysing corporeal connections to European arts communities centred within cities in flux. In short, this keynote explores the primacy of a fluctuating yet collectively imaged recorded music past as axis upon which to generate new music histories within the transforming spaces of an expanding European popular and jazz music culture.

Her talk is kindly co-sponsored by the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Registration is now LIVE! – RE-peat, please! Conference – MAY 2020, Antwerp

Dear all,

registration is now open, this link will lead you to the official registration form. We offer two rates:

  • €30 for students (BA, MA, and PhD) / unwaged (with proof of evidence)
  • €60 for all others (scholars, industry professionals, media representatives, interested, etc.)

Please note that you need to be a member of IASPM (Benelux branch or any of the other 14 branches) at the time of the conference. Before you can register, you will be asked to provide some proof of membership (membership confirmation mail or proof of payment in Word or PDF). If you want to become a member of the Benelux branch, please follow the instructions on this site.

Also, the conference dinner and concert at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp (15 May 2020, c. 18:00 – 22:00) is not part of the conference fee, and is to be registered and paid for separately (more information to follow).

New publication out: Benelux branch report (IASPM Journal 9/2, 2019)

In issue 2 of volume 9 of the IASPM Journal (2019), our board member Melanie wrote a status quo (vadis) report on our branch. Using information gathered from past and current board members, she covers not only much of our history, but also the “current state of popular music studies and research in the Netherlands and Flanders as well as (outlining) some of its future challenges” (Schiller 2019). Naturally, not all relevant people, publications, and activities could be listed (due to limited word count), but in 2020 we are planning to open up a section of our website to branch members to report on their own work, allowing you to highlight your recent achievements. Stay tuned for more information.

Melanie’s entire essay can be read and downloaded free of charge via this link. The reference is Schiller, M. 2019. Popular Music Studies in the Low Countries: Status Quo Vadis IASPM Benelux. IASPM Journal 9 (2): 75–82.

Open call: IASPM Benelux and VNPF Popular Music Thesis Prize 2019

The IASPM Benelux and the Vereniging Nederlandse Pop Podia and Festivals (VNPF) invites student applicants to apply for the Bachelors and Masters Popular Music Thesis Prize. This prize honors outstanding research by students (active in a Dutch university) writing about popular music. The prize is to award the best-researched and best-written BA and MA thesis on some subject related to popular music. The winning thesis will incorporate one or more relevant perspectives which might reflect a broad range of academic and professional fields including but not limited to sociology, musicology, media studies, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, journalism, economics, performance studies, and/or history. Both the BA and MA thesis must be written in either Dutch or English.

The award ceremony will take place during the IASPM Benelux conference, 14–16 May 2020 in Antwerp.


All materials must be submitted by 6 January 2020 in pdf form to the secretary of IASPM Benelux, Chris Tonelli:

Please make sure to include the following three documents in your digital application:

A digital copy of the student’s Graduation Certificate.

BA or MA Thesis including:

  1. Title of thesis,
  2. Short abstract (200-300 words),
  3. Full thesis text (please cross out any passages referring to your name or your university name on the thesis to ensure anonymity).

Separate Title Page with:

  1. Student’s name,
  2. Student’s institution and major,
  3. Thesis supervisor,
  4. Education period (study dates),
  5. Degree granted (BA, MA or Pre-Master),
  6. Student’s email and address.

UPDATE: Call closed! IASPM Benelux International Conference at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, 14 – 16 May 2020: RE-peat, please!

RE-peat, please!signature

According to the online Cambridge Dictionary, the prefix ‘re-’ stands for “do again” or “returning something to its original state”.

These two letters can be used in various combinations, many of which relate to core issues of pop, rock, jazz, hip-hop, dance, and many other genres.

Consider the centrality of the record, a technological tool that allows reproduction, recreation, and ultimately re-evaluation.

Without records no retro. Indeed, cover and tribute bands thrive on the very idea of revivalism, allowing us to question notions of authenticity, of the global circulation of music, of the commercialisation of nostalgia.

A different result of recording is the remix. How does remixing blur the ideological boundaries surrounding genre, gender, space, place, race, and time? Is hybridity compatible with the idea of “returning something to its original state”?

And what about revolution? The civil rights struggle, May 1968 or Black Lives Matter; popular music has often been linked to protest movements. Here, music allowed to respond and react to, perhaps even reset the social, political, and economic orders of the day. The reversal, indeed even rejection or repression of revolution can be found in the often-stultifying processes of canonisation and mythologization.

And in the end, what reward lies in popular music? Should it be valuated, evaluated, or revaluated, perhaps through music competitions or education programs? How do digital media cultures affect the uses and rewards of music for audiences? Is a public performance the ultimate reward for relentlessly studying and rehearsing? To recap, should we as scholars and practitioners hit the repeat button to “do [it] again”, deepening our understanding of the music every time around?

Following the 2014 conference in Rotterdam, this IASPM Benelux conference, the first to be held in Flanders, hopes to bring together international scholars, both from within the Benelux as outside, in all stages of their career to inspire debate and discussion on current ideas about all aspects of popular music in every form and guise. We especially invite artistic performers and representatives from the cultural and creative industries to contribute to this conference too, in order to bridge the worlds of academia and industry.

We aim for papers on – but not limited to – one of the following five interlinked strands with associated key words

  • RE-cord: technology, production, industry, policy
  • RE-tro: revivalism, performance (practice), (re)creation, historiography
  • RE-mix: hybridity, mixing cultures, gender/race, global/local
  • RE-volution: protest, repression, canon formation, myths and idols
  • RE-ward: education, media, reception, audiences and scenes

The deadline was 1 December 2019, and was extended to 8 December 2019. The call is now closed, and we no longer accept submissions. More information on how registration, accommodation, travel etc. can be found via the official conference website.

Schedule IASPM Fourth Annual Student Conference, 27 May 2019, 10.00 – 18.15

We are pleased to invite you to the Fourth Annual Student Research in Music Conference taking place on May 27th, 2019 at the University of Utrecht and co-hosted by IASPM Benelux, University of Utrecht, HucBald and KVNM. This year the program features five panels and two keynotes by the MA winners of the IASPM Benelux VNPF Thesis Prize and the Hélène Nolthenius Prize for best MA thesis in popular music and musicology respectively.
When: May 27, 2019
Where: University Theatre (Theaterzaal), University of Utrecht
Address: Kromme Nieuwgracht 20, Utrecht
Time: 10:00-18:30
You can register for this conference by sending an email to
The cost for attendance (HucBald and existing members of IASPM and KVNM are exempt) and participation is 10 Euros which can be paid at the conference during registration at 9:30. This cost also affords you membership in IASPM or KVNM for the year.
We look forward to seeing you there.


Session 1 Experiencing EDM

10.00 – 11.00

“No Hay Banda!”: Immersive Experiences in Laptop Performances

Durk de Vries

On the Mode of Existence of the Techno Object

Sydney Schelvis

Electronic Dance Music Festivals as Field-Configuring Events: A Network Analysis of Artist Representation and Its Implications

Nicolas Basoalto

Session 2 Social Engagement

11.10 – 12.30

Relevance of Cultural Institutions to Promote Social Cohesion

Paula Segura Kliesow

I Could Talk About Him Forever: Fandom in Dutch Popular Culture

Pieta Maxime Verhoeven

“Tuning In” to Neoliberalism: European Public Radio and the Cultural Omnivore

Ian Giocondo

She Said “Boom”: How Social Media Platforms Enable and Challenge Female Punks to Do It Themselves

Cato de Beer

-Lunch break-

12.30 – 13.45

Session 3 Music and Politics in Local Contexts

13.45 – 14.45

Awakening the Masses: Gravediggaz and the Influence of the Five Percenters

Liselotte Podda

Hanacpachap Cusscuinin and Post-Columbian Peruvian Music

Alistair David Franenberg

New Colombian Music: Cultural Politics, Staged Multiculturalism and the Peace Process

Juan D. Montoya Alzate

-Coffee Break-

Session 4 Distinction and Resistance

15.00 – 16.00

Underground Identities

Carmela Naya González

Different Yet the Same: Self-Othering and Anti-Hate Rhetoric in Maria Peszek’s Contemporary Eastern European Protest Song

Joanna Zienkiewicz

What is Indie? Ideas, Perceptions and Attitudes on the Music Genre

Maria Dinu

-Coffee Break-

Session 5 Education and Discipline

16.15 – 16.55

Tátata Tátata Tatadaa: The Strange Case of Efteling Music at Amsterdam Central Station

Marjolein Wellink

Musicking With the Elderly: A Contribution to Music Workshops with Elderly with a Focus on Subjectification

Victoria Vorraber

Session 6 – Thesis Prize Key Notes

17.00 – 18.00

The Economic Sociology of Club Culture: Valuation Logics in Electronic Dance Music

Elisa Luengo Sampayo

Winner of the Popular Music Thesis Award, IASPM

Musical genres and the development of concert programming

Mascha van Nieuwkerk

Winner of the Hélèna Nolthenius Prize, KVNM


18.30 –