Abstracts (Day 1)

  • (1) Society: Politics & Education
  • (2) Music streaming
  • (3) Aesthetics
  • (4) Fan activity
  • (5) Library music
  • (1) Society: Politics & Education

    From Broadcasting to Streaming: The Political Appropriation of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake
    Kirill Smolkin (Heidelberg University)

    For over a century, Tchaikovsky’s music has not only been an object of veneration for the broader public and an inexhaustible source for mass culture, but it has also repeatedly been hijacked for various political concepts in both Russia and the West. Exemplified through Piano Concerto No. 1, Lena Leson makes note of the politically charged reception of Tchaikovsky’s works, in terms of how it is constantly evolving whilst being overlooked (Leson 2023).

    Swan Lake is perhaps Tchaikovsky’s most politicized work. During the early Soviet period, it was used in the construction of the “socialist myth” of Tchaikovsky (Raku 2014) and formed a component of the official ‘cultural façade’. Broadcast on television in the 1980s, it served as totalitarian propaganda to hide the truth about the unfolding political situation in the USSR. However, as time passed, regimes changed, new forms of media evolved, and Tchaikovsky’s ballet moved from television to streaming platforms and was ultimately transformed from the pro-government symbol to the “symbol of dissidence” (Rouland 2023). Today there are numerous songs, video clips, and memes that use Swan Lake in the latter of those. One of its recent adaptations is a clip by Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot, released in November 2023, which became a statement of anti-war sentiment.

    This paper will show how Swan Lake was appropriated by different political and social groups and how its perception has changed, in often paradoxical ways, progressing from broadcasting to streaming.


    Kirill Smolkin is a first-year doctoral student at Heidelberg University, Germany. In 2022 he graduated summa cum laude in Musicology at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Alongside his studies, he also gained professional experience as an editor of the online encyclopedia on Tchaikovsky directed by State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow (SIAS). His current PhD project, funded by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and supervised by Prof. Christoph Flamm, is devoted to the reception of Tchaikovsky’s work in subsequent classical music and mass culture. His other research interests include interdisciplinary music studies, painting and music, and word and music studies.

    Streaming in an Authoritarian State: Western Pop Music in Putin’s Russia
    Anna Kaznacheeva (Charles University, Prague)

    Since the rise of the internet in Russia in the 2010s, pop music has been easily accessible through a variety of online resources. Streaming platforms such as YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify have become part of Russian mediascape. However, Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 disrupted the seamless streaming flow. The main payment-processing corporations, Visa and MasterCard, stopped their services in Russia making it impossible for local users to renew their subscriptions. At the same time, the escalation of the government’s anti-Western attitude has led to massive propagation of domestic streaming platforms such as RuTube (allegedly with an all-out ban of YouTube to follow), Yandex Music, and VKontakte. The paper investigates how in a situation when global pop is no longer readily available through official streaming, alternative access can be sought on both the private and the state level. Analyzing propaganda’s takeover of Russian online media, I demonstrate how the regime uses streaming to promote the official narrative of the war, the state, and the West. Growing surveillance (performed also by some grassroots initiatives) is making users increasingly conscious of their online presence often influencing their choice of streaming platforms. While illegal copying which reached its peak in the 1990s is neither the only nor indeed the most convenient way to experience pop music in contemporary Russia, digital piracy has remained exceedingly common. Mapping the ways of distribution of Western pop culture, I show that since 2022, piracy has again gained its momentum. The paper thus aims to contribute to the understanding of the experience of Western pop music in a non-Western authoritative state.


    Anna Kaznacheeva is a PhD student of Musicology at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University. Before pursuing her master’s degree in Musicology, she also studied Aesthetics as her second field. In 2022, Kaznacheeva’s bachelor thesis dealing with popular music and queer culture in present-day Russia was awarded a Josef Hlávka Prize. In her master’s thesis, she focused on French popular music and its Russian reception. Her current research is dedicated to Western popular music in Russia under Putin.

    Streaming in film education, is it possible?
    Agata Hofelmajer-Roś (University of Silesia)

    In 2019, due to the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus, all stationary activities conducted as part of the education of children and youth were moved to the online sphere. These changes also covered film education conducted in schools and kindergartens. If it was to be continued, it had to develop new education methods in a very short time, just like the entire system in which it operated.

    One of the tools that institutions and organizations implementing this type of education began to use on a large scale at that time were and still are streaming platforms extended with educational resources. European projects such as CinEd – French Film Archive, European Film Factory – French Institute, and Archives for Education – British Film Institute have gained importance.

    Streaming, until communication changes caused by the pandemic, was used by large companies for non-educational purposes. Education is a process that consists of three components: educational materials, content presentation and evaluation. It is therefore more extensive than the basic streaming experience, which takes place in the act of simply watching content.

    My main consideration during the presentation will be an attempt to answer the question: how does a tool previously used in the distribution industry, transferred to the field of education, create remote film education?

    In order to answer this question, I will show what impact the use of streaming has on individual stages of the film education process.

    I will analyze examples of scenarios, participants’ comments and statements of the course authors.


    Agata Hofelmajer-Roś – PhD student in the Doctoral School at the University of Silesia. Her research mainly concerns film education in Poland and Europe, and the presence of film analysis in educational activities. She published: Now us! Animations created by youth and their application in film education (Studia de Cultura 15(1) 2023). Since 2022 she is a member of the Polish Animation Research Group. She was an intern at the British Film Institute (2022) and at Campus France scholarship (2023). Holder of  the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2016 and 2019).

    (2) Music streaming

    From “Watching Music” to “Utilizing Music”: Structural Reshaping of Chinese Popular Music Production and Dissemination in the Streaming Age
    Wu Peng (Independent scholar)

    Is music for listening or watching? Although there are still some debates, it is no longer an issue for Chinese music industry practitioners nowadays, as they have accepted the idea of producing music that is appropriate for video clips scenes.

    In view of the overwhelming superiority of short video and live broadcast platforms (mainly Douyin) over music platforms in user volume and daily activity data, music content production and dissemination rely on short video platforms for implementation, which is expected to drive the popularity among the majority of users and then achieve traffic monetization on music platforms. It is considered as a mainstreaming vehicle of music production in China.

    Due to the weak foundation of traditional record industry, Chinese music industry has been more thoroughly transformed by streaming media compared to the European and American markets. This transition is evident in three aspects: music content, especially lyrics, music labor are required to produce music via monitoring current trends; music promotion, promoters plan hit subjects that fits the lyrics through advertising, in order to generate playback volume of topics and the usage of songs in short video and live streaming platforms; the performers, a great sum of video creators and vloggers who show certain musical talents are invited to become formal song performers. Based on the theories of embodied performance and cultural production, this paper takes platforms such as Douyin, NetEase Cloud Music, TME, as well as top-selling items as examples to analyze the unique landscape of Chinese music industry.


    Wu Peng, independent Chinese scholar, a fellowship of Pop Music Society of Chinese Musicians Association. Research areas: media and culture, popular music and culture, and music sociology.

    Narrative as Musical Taste in Spotify “Wrapped”
    Alexander Tripp (University of Chicago)

    Since 2016, Spotify users worldwide have anticipated early December with bated breath, awaiting the release of “Wrapped.” This marketing product and viral internet phenomenon condenses a year of user listening data into an easily digestible animation, which users then share across other social media. “Wrapped” becomes a tidy metonym for musical identity, a means of demonstrating one’s musical taste as aligned with or distinct from a social group. A straightforwardly techno-pessimistic reading positions “Wrapped” within a larger story of surveillance capitalism, whereby user listening data is mined by corporations, repackaged, and transformed into viral marketing campaigns. Nevertheless, I contend that “Wrapped” itself is a novel cultural object which entails new forms of social engagement. “Wrapped” presents data as autobiographical vignettes, and users find pleasure in the alchemical transformation of impersonal statistics into identity-forming narrative. In the most recent “Wrapped,” Spotify assigned each user a listening persona derived from how the user engaged with the platform. The “Hypnotist” persona listens to full albums, while the “Roboticist” listens to algorithmically suggested tracks. Thus listening habits themselves, independent of any specific music, are subsumed as an element of musical taste. A listening persona is not a static music library, but a diachronic narrative of engagement, made legible through the “Wrapped” object. Building on recent work on streaming and algorithmic recommendation (Seaver 2022, Drott 2018) in concert with data-driven analysis of 2023 “Wrapped” discourse on Twitter and Reddit, this paper explores the construction of narrative-as-taste and taste-as narrative in the age of Spotify “Wrapped.”


    Alex Tripp is a PhD Student in Music History and Theory at the University of Chicago, studying the new musical objects of the internet. His undergraduate work proposed a music theoretical framework for “replacement remix” internet memes. He has also written on the music of John Zorn, The Eric Andre Show, and the films of Oskar Fischinger. Other academic areas of interest include topic theory, eighteenth century music, affect theory, aesthetics, media studies, art history, and performance studies. In addition, with his background in data science, he has pursued projects on Pitchfork and gendered language, and created a Spotify “Anti-Recommender” algorithm.

    The “music that forms your personalised soundtrack”? Music streaming platforms and the quantification of music listening
    Michael Walsh (University of Canberra)

    Music streaming converges with social media and enables users to present and display their listening information to wider networked audiences. Representing a type of connected social media technology, music streaming allows users to visualise their listening activity while also organising this activity via platform affordances. Through features like Spotify Wrapped — a year in review feature — users are afforded a way to view their own listening activity but also enable these statistics to become part of the social display associated with music streaming that has become a dimension of streaming cultures. This presentation explores music streaming as it forms part of the social information users feed into their interactions, managing their impressions and thereby further contributing to aspects of music’s ubiquity across everyday life. Reporting on in-depth qualitative interviews with users of music streaming and how they perceive their musical listening has been altered, I investigate some of the affordances of streaming as it contributes to the quantification of listening. Allowing users to conceive of their streaming activity as quantifiable episodes of music listening over a given period, these features provide sharable infographics about music streaming that permit users to convey their music preferences. Indicative of the way that streaming increasingly becomes configured within a quantification of culture with metrics where there is a cultural interest in numbers, this activity extends the social display of music streaming to wider audiences.


    Michael James Walsh is an Associate Professor in Social Science at the University of Canberra, Australia. His research interests include cultural sociology, technology and music. His forthcoming book is entitled Streaming Sounds: Musical Listening in the Digital Age and is published by Routledge.

    (3) Aesthestics

    The Use of Quotation as Acousmatic Voice in Joe Hisaishi’s Departures: The Gift of the Last Memories
    Misty Choi (Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts)

    Joe Hisaishi, often referred to as the “John William in Japan,” has composed film music for a diverse range of Japanese drama films. One notable example is his work on the Academy Award-winning Departures: The Gift of the Last Memories. Hisaishi’s score includes a captivating main theme for the protagonist, Daigo Kobayashi. After losing his job as a cellist in an orchestra, Daigo became a traditional Japanese ritual mortician. He learns valuable life lessons and ultimately finds forgiveness for his long-absent father.

    I suggest that Hisaishi’s film score for Departures skillfully enhances the narrative by incorporating a hidden quotation of the folk song “Danny Boy” into the theme, subtly foreshadowing the death of Daigo’s father. The lyrics of the cited musical phrase serves as a significant message, revealing the “voice” of the mostly absent father in the film. Through this musical quotation, the theme replaces the father’s “voice,” by a plea for Daigo’s forgiveness. The theme is both diegetic and non-diegetic, devoid of any words. When played on the cello, it engenders a conversation between the father and the son. This evocative “voice” aligns with Michel Chion’s concept acousmêtre and serves as a powerful catalyst for building dramatic tension. I argue that the embedded message within the theme functions as a psychoanalytic voice in Lacanian theory, and an object that can be seen as the lever of thought described by Mladen Dolar (2006) and Brian Kane (2014).


    Misty Choi received her Ph.D. in Musicology from Duke University. Her research areas include the interdisciplinary study among music, linguistics, and semiotics, as well as film music. Her doctoral dissertation delved into the works of Luciano Berio. She investigated how the idea of universal grammar, linguistic competence and semiotics were adopted by the composer and his contemporaries. Her research also included topics of voice, structuralism, theatricality, and psychoanalysis that centered around language and signs. She is currently serving as a Senior Manager at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

    Rattling bones in the Danse macabre from Saint-Saëns to Tim Burton
    Tabea Umbreit (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

    The Totentanz (dance of death or Danse macabre) is not exclusively the intimate dance between the dying person and personified death in music and media. The dead often dance among themselves by using their skeletal remains, an idea that opens up special musical possibilities. Since bones themselves have percussive sound qualities, hence their usage as material for musical instruments, the musical setting of such figures particularly invited timbral mimesis. With percussion and the percussive playing style of other instruments, dances of death have rattled across all media genres since Saint-Saënsʼ Danse macabre at the latest. Animations and cartoons in particular have been very keen to continue and renew the topic of the Danse macabre and its musical tradition. One of the earliest films ever, Le Squelette joyeux (1898) and later Walt Disneyʼs The Skeleton Dance (1929) significantly influenced the associated imaginative use of the image-sound relationship.

    When Corpse Bride was released in 2005, director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman were able to build on a 100-year-old tradition of dancing skeletons in film and music, which they did with a lot of humor and ingenuity. This paper takes a historical look at the musical-cinematic trope in order to analyze selected scenes from Corpse Bride in more detail.


    After studying musicology and literature, Tabea Umbreit is currently writing her Ph.D. provisionally titled “Gespenster und Wiedergänger in der Musik” (ghosts and revenants in music) at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich. Her research interests, motivated by cultural studies, focus on intermedial genres from the 19th century onwards, particularly opera, but also film music and song. Umbreit works as an editor at the long-term research project “Kritische Ausgabe der Werke von Richard Strauss” (critical edition of the works by Richard Strauss).

    Music and Human Exceptionalism in Disney’s The Jungle Book (1967) and The Little Mermaid (1989)
    Wouter Capitain (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

    According to Darwin’s theory of evolution, humans are animals, but in modern industrial society we nevertheless sharply distinguish the “human” from the “animal.” We construct this distinction through images and language, but also through music. In this paper, I analyse how Disney films use music to create the notion that humans are fundamentally different from animals.

    Most of Disney’s animated musicals deal with human-animal relations, but some of these films expressly revolve around the boundary between the two. I consider two influential Disney films that delineate the distinction between the human and the animal: The Jungle Book (1967) and The Little Mermaid (1989). Both coming-of-age stories first question and then establish human identity in Disney’s classical didactic and normative spirit. And in both films, music plays a crucial role to identify what distinguishes the young protagonist from non-human animals. In the songs “I Wanna Be Like You” and “Under the Sea,” the animals perform jazz and Afro-Caribbean music, respectively, to mark their distinction from the human world. Their musical idiom contrasts markedly with the transcendental songs that musically define the human, such as “Part of Your World,” the pivotal tune of The Little Mermaid, and “My Own Home,” the final song of The Jungle Book. In this paper, I analyse how the two films juxtapose different musical styles to mark human-animal boundaries, how these boundaries rely on normative definitions of both music and the human, and how these definitions of music and humanity intersect with colonial discourses of racial difference.


    Currently I conduct a postdoctoral research project about “Music and Human Exceptionalism” at the University of Göttingen. I study how music is used in twentieth-century popular culture to construct human-animal distinctions. I previously worked at the University of Amsterdam (2014-2016) and Utrecht University (2016-2023) as a lecturer in musicology. In 2021, I defended my doctoral dissertation about Edward Said’s work and the intersection between music and postcolonialism. I published articles in Popular Music and Society, Rock Music Studies, and the Journal of Musicological Research, and I edited Edward Said’s posthumous book, Said on Opera (Columbia University Press, 2024).

    (4) Fan activity

    From Goncharov (1973)(2022) to Zepotha (1987)(2023): Music in Fan-Hallucinated Media
    Paula Clare Harper (University of Chicago)

    In November 2022, Tumblr platform users responded exuberantly to a photo of a garbled mistranslation on the label of a knockoff pair of boots: literally overnight, they generated a rabid and productive fandom for Goncharov, a 1973 Martin Scorsese movie that never existed. Users created a constellation of paratexts spanning the gamut of 21st-century digital fanwork genres: fanfiction, thematic analysis and other “meta” discourse, fan art, and even tracks from the “original score” of the collectively-imagined film.

    Months later, a similar assemblage was concocted on TikTok. This time, responding to a video prompt, users waxed nostalgic for Zepotha, a 1980s horror film that—once again—had never been made. Music was even more central to this second collection. The intra-platform connective audio of Zepotha’s originating video was in fact a track from the video creator’s forthcoming album; the Zepotha phenomenon can thus be understood as its highly successful viral marketing campaign.

    These two instances of what I’m calling fan-hallucinated media exemplify 21st-century expectations for multi-modal productivity in response to media texts as part of fandom participatory practice. In fan-hallucinated media, fan creative output converges with conspiratorial knowledge-making methods increasingly normalized in contemporary platformized fandom—featuring textual productivity around an imagined- or theorized-but-absent textual center. Additionally, the hallucinatory nature of these efforts is fundamentally entangled with the parallel explosive rise of generative AI and industrial digital misinformation. Demonstrations of digital fandom’s creative (and musical) potential, Goncharov and Zepotha also manifest the imperiled state of contemporary boundaries between truth and fiction.


    Paula Clare Harper researches music, sound, and the internet. An assistant professor in the Department of Music at the University of Chicago, she is currently at work on a book on the musicality of online virality, as well as on a co-edited volume of scholarship on Taylor Swift.

    Beyond Voice and Stream: Fan Constructed Lore in the Age of the 2.5D
    Stefan Greenfield-Casas (University of Richmond)

    Since 2020, VTubers, streamers who use a motion capture character model while they stream, have taken the internet by storm. While these VTubers are, as with most streamers, well-known for playing games on stream, Hololive — the most popular VTuber agency — members in particular are known for another reason as well: their status as “idols,” and the songs they produce and sing. In this paper I argue that music and voice function as critical elements in developing these characters’ fictional personas. Beyond their personal sonic presentations (Garza 2022; Lo 2023), however, I especially interrogate how fans remix and rearrange these streamers’ music and voice clips to deepen their characters’ narrative “lore,” constructed around both the streamer’s real identity and their character’s supposed backstory. Drawing especially on Akiko Sugawa-Shimada’s (2020) theorization of the 2.5D — a space between the fictional 2D and the real 3D — I show how live streaming platforms afford the construction of virtual 2.5D personas that fans can both consume as content and engage with by means of fan creations. The music and voices of these VTubers is especially important here, as they are usually used as the basis of fan creations, ranging from animated shorts to indie games. I focus especially on the fan-produced games Holocure (2022) and Idol Showdown (2023) in this regard, considering not only how official Hololive music is rearranged for these games, but also various Hololive streamers’ own engagement with fan creations, e.g., offering to freely record lines for the developers of their favorite games.


    Stefan Greenfield-Casas is a music and media theorist whose research focuses on the intersection(s) of music, myth, meaning, memory, and (multi)media, recently by way of Japanese media properties. He has published widely in various journals, edited collections, magazines, and blogs, and has presented his research at numerous conferences across the US, Europe, and Asia. He is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Richmond. 

    Street Musicians in City Space: the cultivation of sound, value, and populace
    Anna Wright (Brown University)

    This paper follows well-known street musician Abby the Spoon Lady as she is forced to physically migrate from Nashville, TN to Asheville NC, a move prompted by changes in noise legislation enforcement in Nashville, yet retains an online musical practice critical of city noise enforcement. Based on online ethnography, this paper explores how Abby leverages her viral success in online space to change the way that street performance is valued in physical space. Abby’s critique that noise legislation in Nashville functions to promote commercial sonic activity from bars, stores, and restaurants, yet encourages hostility towards sonic activity not associated with a commercial “Music City” image is mirrored in Asheville, which advertises its busking community as a tourist attraction in itself, cultivating a city space which implicates its street musicians in a different kind of commerciality that encourages yet harnesses their continued practice. Such differences in the way city legislation and its enforcement function to promote or restrict specific sonic activity illuminates how spaces and their inhabitants cultivate not only a desired sonic environment, but a musical populace to maintain it.


    Anna Wright is a PhD candidate in the Music Department at Brown University. Originally from Scotland, she holds master’s degrees in saxophone performance and ethnomusicology.

    (5) Library music

    Hans Zimmer, Bleeding Fingers, and the Evolution of Library Music
    Toby Huelin (University of Leeds)

    In 2013, composer Hans Zimmer and business partner Steve Kofsky established Bleeding Fingers — a media-music company founded to provide soundtracks for the explosion in content production during TV’s “new golden age”. To date, Bleeding Fingers has delivered scores for peak programmes including Around the World in 80 Days (BBC, 2021) and Prehistoric Planet (Apple TV+, 2022), spanning traditional broadcasters and newer streaming platforms. Whilst the company’s marketing foregrounds these custom compositions for premium series, Bleeding Fingers has also delivered library music for use in numerous non-peak titles. The company’s reliance on the same composers, studio facilities, and production workflows across custom scores and library music complicates the distinctions between these types of music, and by extension, between the sonic content of peak and non-peak TV.

    By examining Bleeding Fingers’ production processes — centred around issues of branding and authorship — this study focuses on the convergent relationship between original scoring and library music in the company’s TV projects, and explores the resultant implications for composers in the contemporary screen industries. Drawing together interview testimony from Bleeding Fingers’ creatives with scholarship on Zimmer’s studio-centred compositional approach (Lehman 2016; Wright 2015), the study examines the new paradigm for media music presented in Bleeding Fingers’ output, in light of criticism that the company is a “musical McDonalds”, churning out anonymous and soulless music to whoever will pay (Scelina 2018). The paper also unpacks wider issues concerning how music can be used to both construct and problematise the borders of peak TV in the streaming age.


    Dr Toby Huelin is a musicologist and media composer based at the University of Leeds, where he holds the positions of Teaching Fellow in Film Music in the School of Music and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Arts and Humanities Research Institute. Toby is the author of journal articles for Music and the Moving Image, Critical Studies in Television, and the European Journal of American Culture, and chapters for several edited volumes (Routledge, Bloomsbury, OUP). Toby’s music can be heard in the Emmy Award-winning series United Shades of America (CNN) and the Grierson Award-nominated documentary Subnormal: A British Scandal (BBC).

    “For Bridgerton-inspired content”:  Library music between streaming and online media
    Júlia Durand (NOVA University of Lisbon)

    On the website of French library music company Cézame, a playlist of “soundalikes” inspired by popular streaming shows is advertised with the words “A true cultural phenomenon, the era of streaming has raised the series to the rank of major cinematographic art”. The industry of library music has undergone significant shifts as it seeks to adapt to both streaming services and online media. Among these changes – which include new licensing models for emerging media formats – we increasingly find library tracks that evoke (and, sometimes, very closely emulate) the score of fiction series such as Stranger Things and Bridgerton. These tracks often come to be used in online content that stems from the shows, be it fan-created videos or professionally-produced adverts that market these productions on social media. 

    But how exactly is the trademark sound of these programs worked into library catalogues? How do libraries reinforce the sonic imaginary that is associated with these fictional narratives? Drawing from interviews with library music producers and users, as well as from an examination of musical and audiovisual examples, I explore library music’s role in strengthening the sonic identity of a fiction series, acting as a bridge between streaming platforms and online media. Rather than viewing this streaming-inspired library music as a mere reflection of a show’s popularity, I inquire into how it actively roots a series’ distinctive soundtrack in a shared imaginary, as library composers reproduce and reinvent the signature sounds of fictional universes and spread them beyond the boundaries of streaming platforms. 


    Júlia Durand is a musicology researcher at the NOVA University of Lisbon. She is a member of the Center of Sociology and Musical Aesthetics (CESEM). In addition to several papers on music and audiovisuals presented at international conferences such as Music and the Moving Image, her research has been published in edited volumes (such as Remediating Sound: Repeatable Culture, YouTube and Music) and in the journals Music, Sound and the Moving Image and Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia. Her PhD dissertation focused on the production and use of library music in online videos.

    Popular Music, Transmedia Touchpoints, and the NFL Super Bowl
    Joanna Love (University of Richmond)

    In January 2022, Pepsi-Cola hyped its sponsorship of its upcoming Super Bowl halftime show, releasing a YouTube “trailer” featuring musical icons who would take the stage: Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar. A self-proclaimed “cinematic experience,” the trailer’s superhero messaging evoked nostalgia and excitement for the performance, garnering 70,000 hashtagged tweets and 47-million YouTube views. Pepsi’s trailer exemplified the degree to which contemporary promotional efforts had moved beyond the fixed scheduling and passive experiences that continued to constrain U.S. network television and the game itself: instead, it circulated across media platforms as an on-demand music video, film trailer, soda commercial, and viral internet video — all while encouraging audiences to watch at halftime and download an interactive app. As I argue in this talk, Pepsi’s trailer proves indicative of evolving transmedia practices that have reshaped audiences’ experiences of, and expectations for, Super Bowl programming over the past twenty-years.

    This talk contributes to conversations about popular music’s role in sporting events (cf., McLeod 2011) by combining archival materials, media, and trade press with scholarship on viewer engagement and transmedia practices (Jenkins 2003; Jenkins et. al 2013; Evans 2011) to historicize the roles that the internet and streaming have played in increasing music’s significance in Super Bowl programming. Examining YouTube highlights, halftime promos, and audience-generated social media content, I demonstrate how and why the Super Bowl’s musical performances engage audiences through cultural trends and media touchpoints, now rendering the sporting match subordinate to the event for many viewers.


    Joanna K. Love is Associate Professor of Music and Director of General Education at the University of Richmond. She researches American and popular music in multimedia and has published extensively on music in U.S. national brand and political advertising. Her 2019 book, Soda Goes Pop: Pepsi-Cola Advertising and Popular Music won the inaugural Danjiela Kulezic-Wilson award, and her co-edited interdisciplinary volume, Sonic Identity at the Margins, was released in 2022. Love also just finished work as co-PI on an NEH-funded Digital Humanities live music archiving project and is writing a book about popular music’s prominence in NFL Super Bowl broadcasts.