The IASPM Benelux/KVNM popular music thesis prize is proud to announce the winners of BA and MA Popular Music Thesis Prize 2014

The IASPM BA Popular Music Thesis Prize is awarded to:

Joost Manger Cats (Erasmus School of History, Culture & Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam) for his thesis

Copyright Enforcement in Music: a cross-disciplinary analysis of stakeholderpositions in the contemporary music industry.

The IASPM/KVNM MA Popular Music Thesis Prize is awarded to:

Albert Meijer (Euroculture, University of Groningen) for his thesis

Be My Guest: Nation Branding and national representation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The jury members for this contest were very impressed with how these two theses engaged with a variety of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives. Each one also exhibited excellent and convincing argumentation, displayed a high level of writing and a clear organizational structure. Finally, these theses provided an innovative and clear contribution to the particular field grounding the respective author’s chosen subject.

To honor the winner of these two prizes, on 30 May 2014, IASPM Benelux and KVNM, together with the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Groningen, the Academie voor Popcultuur (Leeuwarden) and Academieminerva voor Popcultuur (Groningen), will host a one day workshop on the theme of

The Local and Global in Cultures of Popular Music

at the cultural center USVA in Groningen. At the end of this study day, we will announce these winners and ask the Ba and MA winner to provide a brief presentation on their research.  We hope you can all attend this event, which will offer an academic panel on this theme, an interactive music workshop, a music industry panel and the prize award ceremony and presentation, followed by a musical ‘borrel’.

For more details on this study day please see the Music Matters website.


Kristin McGee

(Chair, International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Benelux)

BA and MA Thesis Abstracts

Copyright Enforcement in Music: a cross-disciplinary analysis of stakeholder positions in the contemporary music industry.

Over the years, copyright’s term, scope and resulting entitlements have evolved to become more all-encompassing with every amendment. The all rights reserved approach, treating all segments of copyright as one package both in law and trade, does not resonate with the online opportunities of this day and age. Moreover, though it was intended to secure control over works for creators, copyright has become a corporate instrument. The aim of this thesis is to assess how the music industry is influenced by copyright enforcement, and subsequently, who benefits from that influence. Through a stakeholder analysis it becomes clear that those parties not involved in the fight over market power based on existing copyright currently benefit from the situation. Furthermore, we can conclude that in its current application in music, copyright has the opposite effect of its intention.

Be My Guest: Nation Branding and national representation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Since its inception in 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest has been a stage for national representation and an opportunity for countries to brand themselves. The 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan is a prime example of nation branding, both for the host country as well as the participating countries. Hosting the event affords each country the opportunity to present a specific artistic image as well as a national brand, but other participants are only given a three-minute musical performance for their presentation of a national/cultural image. In this thesis, I highlight the role performed by deeply symbolic national musical performances within highly publicized European contexts to examine how nation-states negotiate the aesthetic, political and mediated format of the Eurovision Song Contest as a means of nation branding. Specifically, I focus on the concept of identity to consider how a popular musical performance can represent national or even European identities in the context of televised song competition. Secondly, I study the translation of national identity into an image that can potentially appeal to all of Europe. Lastly, I study the performance of these nation brands in specific cases during the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. I contribute to the field of festival and European music cultures via  a variety of multi-faceted analyses and close readings of 2012 national performances, focusing on those from Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Montenegro, which in 2012 were some of the richest performances in terms of musical style, cultural symbolism and national representation. Through these analyses, I conclude that the European Song contest remains one of the most potent, complex and formative stages for contesting, asserting and re-assessing national versus European identities.

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