K-pop in China in the mobile internet period: Internet platforms, the “Korea Ban”, and the K-pop-formatted Chinese idol industry — IAPMS online workshop vol. 12

We are pleased to host the Inter-Asia Popular Music Studies (IAPMS) Online Workshop vol. 12. To participate in this online event, please register by filling out the form with your name and email address. The event information will be sent to your email upon registration. A reminder email will also be sent one day before as well as one hour before the event.

Registration form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScgWEO6g8FaEIYyhI5YHZGOFWNNspzA2pAmjVvffpDUtDLnpA/viewform?usp=sf_link

Date: Feb.10, 2022 (Thursday)

20:00-22:00 (Korea/Japan)
19:00-21:00 (China/Taiwan/Singapore/Mongolia)
18:00-20:00 (Vietnam/Thailand)

(Please use the time zone converter to calculate the event time in your location: https://www.thetimezoneconverter.com/)

IAPMS Online Workshop vol. 12

K-pop in China in the mobile internet period: Internet platforms, the “Korea Ban”, and the K-pop-formatted Chinese idol industry

Speaker: Sun Meicheng (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Moderator: Yoshitaka Mori (Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan)
Organizers: Yoshitaka Mori & Hyunjoon Shin (Professor, SungKongHoe University, Korea)


Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, has become a global cultural phenomenon. Its growing popularity around the world is indicative of the rise in Asian cultural power. Korean popular music, or K-pop, has been a key genre in Hallyu. K-pop has been transmitted in China for more than two decades. By employing archival research, this article analyses the transmission of K-pop in China from 2012 to the present. Specifically, it looks at the development of China’s mobile internet and the various platforms for K-pop in China, China’s “Korea Ban,” and the K-pop-formatted Chinese idol industry. The article potentially sheds new light on Hallyu studies, Korean studies, and the studies of transnational cultural flows.

Speaker: Sun Meicheng

Sun Meicheng obtained her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Nanjing University and her master’s degree in Advertising from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is about to graduate from the PhD program in Communication Studies in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research interests include transnational popular cultural flows, fandom, and cultural industries. Meicheng’s dissertation covers K-pop in China focusing on its history, fan practices, and Chinese K-pop stars.

For more information: http://www.interasiapop.org/

50 YEARS OF OVERSEAS V-POP — IAPMS online workshop vol. 11

We are pleased to host the Inter-Asia Popular Music Studies (IAPMS) Online Workshop vol. 11. To participate in this online event, please register by filling out the form with your name and email address. The event information will be sent to your email upon registration. A reminder email will also be sent one day before as well as one hour before the event.

Registration form: https://forms.gle/9d1HWFAJTrWWGaHW6

The event will be held on 6th January 2022 (Thursday):
19:00-21:00 (Vietnam), 21:00-23:00m (Korea/Japan), 20:00-22:00 (China), 13:00-15:00 (Germany/Austria), 12:00 (UK)

(Please use the time zone converter to calculate the event time in your location: https://www.thetimezoneconverter.com/)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
IAPMS Online Workshop vol. 11

Speaker: LY-QUYET TIEN (Becamex Business School, Eastern International University, Bihn Duong, Vietnam)
Moderator: Yoshitaka Mori (Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan)
Organizers: Yoshitaka Mori & Hyunjoon Shin (Professor, SungKongHoe University, Korea)

Date: 6th January 2022 (Thursday)
Time: 19:00-21:00 (Vietnam)
21:00-23:00m (Korea/Japan)
20:00-22:00 (China)
13:00-15:00 (Germany/Austria)
12:00 (UK)

The end of the Vietnam War in 1975 opened a new chapter in the history of the country. The 30 of April, 1975 is a day of many meanings: to the majority Vietnamese, it is an unforgettable day for the people to return to peace and rebuild the country after 21 years of civil war with the intervention of the foreigners whereas to others, this day means the fall of Saigon and the beginning of a long exile with arduous challenges. Lots of Southerners among them, many Saigon artists fled the country to America, Europe and Australia. Paris and then Orange County became the cultural center that attracted most of the reputed Saigon singers to come and live and continue their activities. Many entertainment companies were born, many music products were created and many concerts were organized to serve the Vietnamese diaspora. A school of music appeared and developed in France and in the USA in parallel with Vietnamese music in the country. Overseas V-Pop has experienced ups and downs, golden time and dark time and renaissance in their development since 1975.
50 years of overseas V-Pop studies the background into which Vietnamese overseas music was born and develops: its styles, themes as well as its own particularity. The study also examines its identity and originality, its positive role in diversifying and modernizing of Vietnam’s pop culture and its active role in the promotion of the yellow music in Vietnam and across the world.

Speaker: Ly Quyet Tien
Lecturer and researcher at Becamex Business School, Eastern International University, doctor Ly Quyet Tien has been guest lecturer at many universities in Ho Chi Minh city, Binh Duong and Dong Nai (Vietnam). He holds bachelor’s degrees in History & in English from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities. He also holds M.A. degrees in FLE from University of Rouen, in Vietnam History from the Southern Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities in HCMC. In 2008, he received his Ph.D. in Eastern Asia and Humanities from University of Paris 7- Diderot. Specialist in Vietnamese studies, he has taken part as presenter in international conferences since 2014 and been invited as guest scholar/lecturer at Institut d’Asie Orientale (AOL), École Normale Supérieure in Lyon and University of Toulouse-Jean Jaures in Toulouse (France). He can be contacted at lyquyettien@yahoo.fr

[CFP] Final Reminder — IASPM XXI 2022 in Daegu


This is a gentle reminder that it is 5 days before the deadline for call for proposals on 31 October 2021. Please visit our online submission site and follow the instructions below to submit a proposal or to confirm / revise your previously accepted one.


  • For first-time submission
  1. Visit our online submission page at the conference website
  2. Create your account and log in
  3. Click “Template Download” on the online submission page
  4. Follow the instructions in the template and fill in the downloaded form
  5. Choose the type of submission appropriate to you (Individual, Panel, Film/Video) and click the button
  6. Fill out all required information on the submission page and complete the submission
  • For accepted Individual or film/video submission
  1. Visit conference website and log in
  2. Click on My Page in the upper right corner of the website
  3. Click on the Individual or Film/Video tab of the category you previously submitted
  4. Check the notice marked in red, and click the ‘Review Your Proposal’ button on the righthand side
  5. Review the information about your previous submission on the page, and go to the bottom where you will see the “Keep My Proposal” and “Modify This Proposal” button. Click on the button that is appropriate, and follow the process.

Please note that your submission will undergo a new round of review process if changes were made.

  • For accepted panel submission
  • Follow the instructions in “For accepted individual or film/video submission” above only choose to enter “Panel” on My Page.
  • Permission to access the online submission page is reserved for panel organizers. Please contact your panel organizer to request revision or replacement of your proposal if you wish so.
  • All panel organizers MUST confirm the existing proposal electronically on our online submission system unless there is a request for revision or replacement from your panel members. In the latter case, you can make changes to the proposals of your panel members. Again, however, this would invalidate your accepted status and your panel proposal will be sent to Academic Committee for review.

If you wish to make changes to your personal details such as affiliation, email, et cetera on the online submission system, please do not do that yourself but contact IASPM XXI secretariat at iaspm2021@gmail.com.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to direct those to IASPM XXI secretariat.

Many thanks,

IASPM XXI 2022 Organizing Committee

KL Sing Song: alternative voices in the Kuala Lumpur singer songwriter circuit (2005 – 2009) by Azmyl Yusof (Sunway University Malaysia): Inter-Asia Popular Music Studies (IAPMS) Online Workshop vol.06

Register here: https://forms.gle/SkuXVkvBATcXFR8i7

  • If you are a non-member of IAPMS and would like to register for this Zoom event, please fill out the form with your name, affiliation, and email address. The Zoom link information will be sent to you one day before the event.
  • If you are already a member of IAPMS and subscribing the mailing list, you don’t have to register for this event. Simply, have access to the event via the link provided in the email from the mailing list.

Date: Thursday, February 4th, 2021 
Time: 8PM (UTC+9) 
8PM (Korea/Japan) 7PM (Malaysia/China/Hong Kong/ Taiwan /Singapore/Perth)  

KL Sing Song: alternative voices in the Kuala Lumpur singer songwriter circuit (2005 – 2009)

Azmyl Yusof (Sunway University Malaysia)

This talk explores the emergence of the Kuala Lumpur singer songwriter circuit by charting the development of the annual singer songwriter showcase KL Sing Song. The showcase, which ended its run at it sixth installment (from 2005 to 2009) serves as a case study on the fostering of communal spirit and networking amongst like-minded arts practitioners. Taking a self-reflexive approach, it also considers the parallel developments of other related ‘scenes’, primarily the underground and indie rock, from which some of the KL-based singer songwriters featured in the showcase also participated. Taking cue from the DIY (do-it-yourself) punk approach ethos, the event emphasizes the use of only original compositions and has featured a variety of singer songwriters (from award winning globetrotting performers to upcoming youngsters to seasoned street buskers) with minimal instrumental accompaniment (itself an agent of mobility). In contrast to the more visible and ‘hip’ indie rock scene (which tended to be detached from contemporary politics), the singer songwriter scene has also provided an alternate cultural space for its participants (including for some who have moved on to commercial success) by being friendly to political communication and satire, with its notable support by the alternative online media, non-governmental organizations, and non-commercial venues and art spaces in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. Through a combination of journalistic method of data collection based on the presenter’s professional background and insider network access, this talk hopes to offer greater insight into scene politics and the agency of artists outside of the overemphasized paradigm of the ‘music industry’ and locate practices that were prevalent before the arrival of social media platforms. The talk will also share the development of the singer songwriter circuit in the past decade right up to the COVID-19 pandemic which essentially halted all music-making activities, affecting the entire performing arts community’s livelihood while also revealing the structural shortcomings and severe lack of political will by Malaysian music industry players and policy makers.

Azmyl Yusof is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Arts, Sunway University Malaysia and a recording and touring underground singer songwriter. More popularly known as his stage name Azmyl Yunor, his research interest parallels his artistic practice which includes music subcultures and the cultural politics of identity in Malaysia. A gig organizer and the co-founder of several seminal punk and experimental rock bands, he has been recording and producing albums independently since 1997 as a solo artist and band member and continues to collaborate with filmmakers on projects. A weekly columnist for an online publication and a regular guest and host on radio shows, he is known as one of the few critical voices of his generation in the local performing arts community. His most notable publication was a chapter on Malaysian music subcultures, Malay youths, and mediated moral panics in Media, Culture and Society in Malaysia (2010). With his observational eye on the cultural politics of contemporary Malaysia that sets him apart from peers, his recent album ‘John Bangi Blues’ is a rootsy rock n’ roll romp dedicated to his district of Bangi south of the capital (launched in September 2020) which has been hailed by music magazine NME as a “blistering commentary on the ‘Middle Malaysia’ experience”.

7th Inter-Asia Popular Music Studies Conference3-6 December – Online

Dear Participants

Hope this message finds you well

On behalf of Sunway University and the 7th IAPMS Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) we would like to express our concern as the coronavirus continues to control all matters of our lives.

Given that Malaysia is now experiencing a third wave, the 7th IAPMS conference will take place 3-6 December 2020 and will be fully online. All presentations will be delivered through asynchronous broadcasting of pre-recorded presentations followed by a live Q &A session. The conference will be done using Zoom meetings and will allow participants to ask questions during the live Q & A session.

In order to participate in the conference please register and make the payment online using the following link:


The fees are:

Students – RM100 (roughly 25USD)

Regular – RM200 (roughly 50USD)

(Please make sure to select the right event.)

All registered participants will receive a complimentary copy of the 7th IAPMS proceedings in either hard copy or e-book format. 

After we receive the payments, the Local Arrangements Committee will send the programme together with the Zoom links to all registered participants by November 15.  

Best regards and stay safe 

7th IAPMS Local Arrangements Committee


Inter-Asia Popular Music Studies 



CfP extended: IASPm 2021


The Local Organizing Committee is pleased to invite you to the 21st Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music to be held in Daegu, South Korea, for 5 days from July 6 to 10, 2021. Here are some latest updates on the conference.

1) Thanks to popular demands, we decided to extend deadline for abstract submission for one month until 31 August 2020. The submission can be made through the IASPM 2021 website (http://iaspm2021.org/index.php?gt=abs/abs01)

* Abstract Submission: until August 31, 2020 (Korea time GMT+8)

2) The IASPM 2021 registration fee has been set. We will deliver you with the registration guide when the payment system is completed.

3) We are delighted to introduce you Keynote Speakers for IASPM 2021:

– Britta Sweers (Director of the Center for Global Studies at the University of Bern, Switzerland)

– Shuhei Hosokawa (Professor Emeritus at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies)

– Chan E. Park (Professor, Ohio State University, United States)

– Jung-Sun Lee (Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, and former professor of Seoul Arts University, Korea)

4) IASPM 2021will proceed as announced in spite of the uncertainty caused by COVID-19

Despite the on-going worldwide crisis of COVID-19, the local organizing committee is working hard to make IASPM 2021 in Daegu happen. Depending on the situation in 2021, the conference could take the form of real, virtual, or hybrid. We are preparing for every possible scenario to ensure IASPM 2021 to be a successful conference. IASPM 2021 will be greatly benefitted from host city Daegu’s world-class capacity for COVID-19 control. In close cooperation with Daegu Metropolitan City, we will make sure a safe and sound conference experience for all participants. Thank you!

For further details, please visit IASPM 2021 website at http://iaspm2021.org/index.php.
Best,IASPM 2021 Local Organising Committee

[Review] Hong Kong Cantopop: A Concise History (Yiu Wai Chu) by Nathanel Amar



Hong Kong, Hong Kong University Press, 2017, 256 pp.

Review by Nathanel Amar

Yiu-Wai Chu, director of the Hong Kong Studies Program at the University of Hong Kong, continues in Hong Kong Cantopop: A Concise History the analyses he outlined in his previous book, published in 2013, Lost In Transition: Hong Kong Culture in the Age of China.[1] Like Lost In Transition, this book is haunted by the decline of Hong Kong culture since the handover, and by the spectre of mainland China. By offering a chronological history of Hong Kong popular music, Yiu-Wai Chu’s book emerges as a reference in Asian Cultural Studies in English.

The introduction (pp. 1-20) reviews the notion of “Cantopop,” a term that emerged in the late 1970s to describe popular music in Cantonese produced in Hong Kong. For the author, Cantopop lies at the intersection of the two traditional definitions of pop music, as it is both “the main commercially produced and marketed musical genre” (p. 3) and popular in the sense that it is “capable of uniting a variety of social groups” (p. 4). This fairly wide definition of pop allows Chu to not contrast Cantopop too strongly with rock and alternative music—which are present at the margins throughout the book. The author justifies his focus on Cantopop in view of the limited existing English language studies on Hong Kong folk music: “Academic work on Chinese popular music shows a bias toward rock music from Beijing rather than pop music from either Hong Kong or Taiwan” (p. 10). The present work is thus an introduction to Cantopop. This leads the author to leave aside the study of the lyrics of songs, which, while regrettable, is justified by the global economy of the book.

The second part of the book (pp. 21-39) challenges the representations traditionally associated with Cantopop, by making a genealogy of it even before the appearance of the term. Until 1974, Cantopop was marginalised in the colonial society of Hong Kong, with music and the Cantonese language being perceived as inferior to English and Mandarin. Popular music in Cantonese was thus considered a “working-class pastime” (p. 21), which most often dealt with the difficulties of daily life during colonisation.

The rise of Cantopop in the 1970s is the subject of the book’s third part (pp. 40-68), concomitant with the identity and social claims born of the workers’ revolts of 1967 and the extension of the market in the 1970s. The year 1974 marks a turning point in the history of Cantopop, with the broadcast on TVB (Television Broadcasts Limited) of the series A Love Tale between Tears and Smiles, the Cantonese theme song of which was hugely successful. The author shows the close links between Cantopop and other cultural forms, such as television and cinema. The 1970s saw the emergence of many singers and lyricists who made it possible for Cantopop to develop, such as Sam Hui, “the God of Cantopop” (p. 48), who took up social problems in songs using vernacular language. Composer Joseph Koo and lyricist James Wong also participated in the popularisation of Cantopop through their songs for the television series Jade Theater. James Wong, nicknamed “the Godfather of Cantopop,” was also to make Cantopop the subject of his thesis, defended in 2003 at the University of Hong Kong,[2] and which serves as a reference throughout Yiu-Wai Chu’s book. The popularity of Cantopop pushed the music industry in Hong Kong to turn to Cantonese. Singers who hitherto sang in Mandarin or made covers of English hits began producing songs in Cantonese, giving Cantopop the hybrid aspect that would make it successful.

The 1980s, described in the fourth part, represent the golden age of Cantopop (pp. 69-104), as well as its cultural hegemony on the Asian scene during the period of economic reforms in mainland China. The popularity of the song “The Bund,” from the eponymous television series, sung in 1980 by Frances Yip with music by Joseph Koo and lyrics by James Wong, went well beyond the borders of Hong Kong and was even translated into Mandarin and Thai. During this decade, the first “superstars” appeared, such as Alan Tam, Leslie Cheung, and Anita Mui, who initiated a wave of unprecedented concerts. More than mere commercial events, these concerts “became a venue for building a collective memory for Hong Kong people” (p. 84). It is also the period when a limited but very influential Cantonese alternative music scene developed, including the rock bands Beyond and Tat Ming Pair, whose songs contain subversive political messages. The Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 profoundly marked Cantopop, prompting singers, even the most popular ones, to pose the question of the future of China and Hong Kong in their songs.

The fifth part of the book focuses on the 1990s (pp. 105-144), in which the decline of Cantopop began, although it enjoyed a prosperous period at the beginning of the decade with the “Four Heavenly Kings”—Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, Leon Lai, and Aaron Kwok, and the “Four Heavenly Queens”—Sally Yeh, Cass Phang, Sammy Cheng, and Kelly Chen. These singers were to dominate the Asian musical and visual scene in the 1990s, but this was not enough to stop the more general decline of Cantopop in the face of the development of Mandapop—popular music in Mandarin—from Mainland China and Taiwan. This shift is illustrated by the journey of the singer Faye Wong, born in Beijing, who became famous after settling in Hong Kong in 1987 by singing Cantopop before returning to Mandapop in the late 1990s. The slow decline of Cantopop was accompanied by a crisis of Hong Kong identity as retrocession approached, expressed in 1997 by a song that reeked of nationalism, “Chinese” (“Zhongguo ren”) by Andy Lau, sung in Mandarin.

The last part (pp. 145-183) deals with the Cantopop crisis, which began in the noughts. In addition to declining sales, the world of Cantopop lost two of its most popular representatives in 2003, Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui, while the SARS epidemic hit the Hong Kong economy hard that same year. The promotion of four new Heavenly Kings, Andy Hui, Edmond Leung, Hacken Lee, and Leo Ku, did not enable Cantopop to resist the domination of Mandapop. Cantopop nevertheless followed the evolution of society, and some groups took a stand in support of the Umbrella Movement in 2014, such as Denise Ho, Anthony Yiu-Ming Wong, and Kat Tse, who sang the anthem of the movement, “Raise the Umbrella.” In the midst of an identity crisis, Hong Kongers also turned to other forms of music, such as hip-hop with the collective Lazy Motha Fucka (LMF), while the record labels were no longer investing in new singers, preferring to recycle the old glories of Cantopop.

Yiu-Wai Chu’s book opens new perspectives in Asian cultural studies, including a comparative approach to popular music in mainland China. The author provides some very interesting analyses of the queer genre and the queer imagination of Cantopop, but one is surprised when he states that “Leslie Cheung never openly declared his sexual orientation” (p. 135), nor does he mention TVB’s censorship of homoerotic clips produced by Cheung.[3] Moreover, the scandal provoked in 2008 by the diffusion of pornographic photos taken by the actor Edison Chen in the company of popular Cantopop singers is barely mentioned.[4] The book’s aim to write a history of Cantopop, which undoubtedly fills one of the gaps in Chinese studies, neglects the mainland’s popular music, whether inspired by or critical of Cantopop. The book therefore encourages future research on the relationship between Cantopop and Chinese rock in the 1990s, for example through the concert given in front of 8,000 people by He Yong, Tang Dynasty, Dou Wei, and Zhang Chu on December 17, 1994 in the Hong Kong Coliseum, during which He Yong called the Four Heavenly Kings “clowns” and insulted Cantopop.[5] Similarly, the author’s desire to deal with Hong Kong alternative music at the same time as Cantopop forces him to bring together bands as diverse as the hip-hop collective LMF, the subversive anti-folk group My Little Airport, or the hardcore-punk band King Ly Chee, all of which deserve to be further analysed. Unfortunately, there are typos in the names of some Mainland singers and song titles, as well as repetitions in the body of the text.

Hong Kong Cantopop nevertheless remains an essential book for Asian cultural studies. In addition to a very complete chronology of Cantopop, accompanied by an excellent appendix, Yiu-Wai Chu’s book makes it possible to place Hong Kong pop music in its geopolitical, cultural, and social context. Also to be appreciated is the effort of systematic transcription of the names of singers and songs in Chinese characters. This is an important book for understanding the construction of Hong Kong identity, which more generally enables taking popular music seriously, and deconstructs many prejudices about Cantopop.

Translated by Michael Black.

Nathanel Amar, Ph.D. in Political Science, is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities of the University of Hong Kong (namar@hku.hk).

[1] Chu Yiu-Wai, Lost in Transition: Hong Kong Culture in the Age of China, Albany, State University of New York Press, 2013.

[2] James Wong, The Rise and Decline of Cantopop: A Study of Hong Kong Popular Music (1949-1997), PhD Thesis, Hong Kong, University of Hong Kong, 2003.

[3] Natalia Sui-hung Chan, “Queering Body and Sexuality: Leslie Cheung’s Gender Representation in Hong Kong Popular Culture,” in Yau Ching (ed.), As Normal As Possible: Negotiating Sexuality and Gender in Mainland China and Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong University Press, 2010, p. 147.

[4] It was the subject of a chapter in the book by Jeroen de Kloet and Yiu Fai Chow, Sonic Multiplicities. Hong Kong Pop and the Global Circulation of Sound and Image, Chicago, Intellect, 2013, pp. 81-100.

[5] Mike Levin, “Chinese Pop Music Lovers Show A Taste For Rock,” Billboard, 21 January 1995, p. 45.

China Perspectives


cfp: XX Biennial IASPM Conference (Canberra, Australia, 24-28 June, 2019)

Turns and Revolutions in Popular Music Studies

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

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, Akitsugu Kawamoto, 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. Panels and individual papers may also be delivered as practice-based presentations, featuring performance-based, composition-based, recording-based or multimedia-based research. In case of practice-based presentations, please make sure to include a description of room and/or technical requirements. In addition, online presentations may be considered for inclusion in the programme, yet priority is given to on-site participation.


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 iaspm2019@anu.edu.au. 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: http://www.iaspm.net/how-to-join. 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!

With kindest regards

IASPM Executive Committee:
Julio Mendivil, Chair
Jacopo Conti
Marta García Quiñones
Antti-Ville Kärjä
Kimi Kärki
Sílvia Martínez
Ann Werner

[Book Review] Made in Korea: Studies in Popular Music – Motti Regev


Book Review

Made in Korea: Studies in Popular Music

Pages 1-2 | Published online: 10 Jul 2017

A fine addition to the highly recommended series Global Popular Music (edited by Franco Fabbri and Goffredo Plastino), this volume on popular music in Korea (short for South Korea) is as comprehensive as such a book can be. Its sixteen thematic chapters are divided into four sections, devoted to histories, genres, artists, and socio-cultural issues. These are preceded by a short introduction, outlining some basic information about Korean history, aspects of language, and transcription. The book is rounded up by a chapter on the circulation of Korean pop in Asia, and (a permanent feature in the series) a conversation with a prominent musician. In this case it is the late Shin Hae-chul (1968–2014), a major figure in Korean pop-rock music of the 1990s.

Admittedly, I am not an expert on Korean music or culture. For my own work on the globalization of pop-rock music (see Regev) I have consulted several available texts in English (notably Epstein; Howard; Shin; Kim and Shin) that provided intriguing introductions to the complexity and richness of the field of pop-rock in this country. This new book goes several steps further in offering a multifaceted view of major themes and issues in Korean popular music. Three key topics seem to be at the core of any interest in Korean pop-rock. These are the stylistic and socio-cultural evolution of pop-rock music in Korea, and especially its relation to local indigenous traditions; the social and political context of pop-rock music production and consumption, amid the prominent American presence in the country or the authoritarian regimes that were in power until the 1990s; and the phenomenon of K-Pop that swept young people in East Asia and other parts of the world at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Indeed, audiences in other parts of the world became aware of Korean popular music mostly in the wake of K-pop. This major phenomenon is covered here in two chapters. One (by Sun Jung) illuminates the deliberate production of the “wave” as an export project by the cultural industries of Korea, and especially their conscious use of social media. The other (by Dong-Yeun Lee) examines the meaning and role of idols in the context of K-Pop. Combining pop tunes and glamorous images of youth, these cultural products with short life spans are interpreted here as typical of the neo-liberal market.

K-pop and idol culture are, however, but one relatively recent phase in the history of Korean pop-rock. As the thread that runs through this book makes clear, it is a history characterized by a quest for a balance between Western, mostly Anglo-American influences, and traditional or indigenous sounds. Strictly local genres attempt to preserve a musical language of supposedly pure “Korean-ness.” These obviously include folk music and People’s Song (both discussed here in a chapter by Aekyung Park), but also Trot and Ballad, explained and described in a chapter by Yu-Jeong Chang.

Several chapters in the book add up to present a broad picture of the stylistic evolution of pop-rock in Korea, including explorations of typical Korean sounds and the intricate ways in which this has been entangled with changing attitudes of the regime towards popular music. A chapter by Jung-Yup Lee in the History section follows the change in media broadcasting of music from being a state and politically controlled institution to a highly commercialized and diverse mechanism in the 1990s and 2000s. Soojin Kim, in her chapter in the Issues section, completes this aspect by surveying the ambivalence towards popular music in the cultural policies of the regimes through the years.

Chapters in the Artists section fill this institutional context with examinations of three towering figures in the history of Korean pop-rock. Dohee Kwon focuses on Shin Joong Hyun, one of the most influential and prominent rock musicians in the country, and especially on one of his most famous works, “Miin” (1974); Okon Hwang outlines the career of composer and singer Kim Min-ki, whose song “Ach’imisŭl” became an anthem for the anti-dictatorship movement of the 1970s; and Eun-Young Jung discusses the impact of Seo Taiji, whose career was pivotal in introducing hip hop, dance, metal and hard rock to the mainstream of Korean popular music. Additionally, an interesting chapter by Haekyung Um in the Issues section examines changes in the vocal style of Korean singers along history and across styles, and points to the cultural shifts reflected in them.

A review of the stylistic scope and genealogy of Korean pop-rock is provided by Pil Ho Kim in the Genres section. His chapter traces the path of Korean rock from the early Group Sound phenomenon of the 1960s and early 1970s to the most recent indie and alternative bands of the 2000s. His observation about the relation of twenty-first-century indie rockers, who “managed to bring back the old formula of global-local balance with a new twist,” to the history of Korean popular music seems to capture the cultural essence of the story unfolded in this book. He writes, “For example, 3rd Line Butterfly resurrects Kim Hae-song, the jazz genius during the 1930-1940s, by sampling his music in “Kimp”o ssangna’al’ (Double Horn of Kimp’o, 2004). Chang Ki-ha Wa Ŏlgul Tŭl (Chang Kiha and the Faces) . . . makes clever references to Group Sound rock and modern folk of the 1970s.” Kim concludes that “Korean popular music has been around long enough to establish a tradition of its own and to help create new local sound that may well be added to the global repertoire of rock music” (all quotations 80).

Regretfully, language and other cultural aspects hinder fans in other countries from getting acquainted with and enjoying the full range of pop-rock music from Korea. At the scholarly level, however, this book provides an expansive overview, written by an expert team of researchers. This book is certainly not just for scholars of Korean or Asian culture. I think that researchers in popular music, cultural studies, media, and cultural sociology who are interested in the details and intricacies of cultural globalization can find a wealth of information and insights hidden in these pages.

Motti Regev
The Open University of Israel

© 2017 Motti Regev

Works Cited

  • Epstein, Stephen J. “Anarchy in the UK, Solidarity in the ROK: Punk Rock Comes to Korea.” Acta Koreana 3 (2000): 134. Print.
  • Howard, Keith, ed. Korean Pop Music: Riding the WaveFolkestoneGlobal Oriental2006. Print.
  • Kim, Pil Ho, and Hyunjoon Shin. “The Birth of ‘Rok’: Cultural Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Glocalization of Rock Music in South Korea, 1964–1975.” Positions 18 (2010): 199230. Print.


  • Regev, MottiPop-Rock Music: Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism in Late ModernityCambridgePolity2013. Print.
  • Shin, Hyunjoon. “The Success of Hopelessness: The Evolution of Korean Indie Music.” Perfect Beat 12 (2011): 147165. Print.