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• Popular music and society: culture, technology and industry
• Popular music in academic discourses
• Popular music: history, identity and ideology
• Analysis of popular music
• Popular music and globalization
• Digitisation: new markets, financial flows and copyright issues
• Entrepreneurship, music business and management

Read news and info about UiA's Popular Music Research Unit


The research group Popular Music Studies is involved in various projects. Some over many years and involving international partners, others are shorter and with national/regional focus.

Selected current projects (for past project, see "Previous Projects").

New Perspectives in Popular Music Research: Changes and Turmoil

International Conference: University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway, 1–2 June 2022

Recent years have resulted in extensive changes in popular music production, dissemination, reception, and perception. New technological developments within music production and performance have created new creative possibilities for artists and bands as they make music and engage with the global music market. Many of these changes have been greatly accelerated by, if not the direct result of, the Covid-19 pandemic that has fundamentally disturbed the relationships between artists, fans, modes of performance, and music distribution. More than ever before, it has become critical to examine digitization, virtuality, creativity, and the music business as a whole in the context of such tumultuous changes.

Thus, a two-day conference on new perspectives in popular music research will be held by the Department of Popular Music, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Agder (UiA) in cooperation with the Popular Music Research Unit at UiA. The overarching goal of this conference is to address new perspectives on popular music through the lens of these recent changes and the perceived turmoil (and benefits) that has resulted from them. This marks the fourteenth anniversary of our PhD programme in popular music performance and provides an opportunity to showcase work by former graduates, current PhD candidates, and scholars associated with music research within the broad field of popular music studies. Two international keynote speakers will frame and contextualize the event. Keynote speakers: Dr. Ruth Dockwray, University of Chester, Great Britain; Prof. Martin Cloonan, University of Turku, Finland.


  • Popular music and identity in the 21st Century
  • Social media and popular music
  • Virtuality, space, and place
  • New music technologies
  • Digitization
  • Distribution
  • Impact of Covid 19 in the live music sector
  • Music business and management
  • New technological developments in electronic music production
  • New developments in music dissemination and performance

Organizing committee:

  • Professor Tor Dybo
  • Research Fellow Jelena Mijatovic
  • Research Fellow Zachary Bresler

Advisory board:

  • Professor Michael Rauhut
  • Dr. Daniel Nordgård

Popular Music and the Church: Politics, Culture, Theology (as part of the EU-project "European Bible Belts Studies" [ongoing])

Michael Rauhut: The core idea of this project is to analyze the role of popular music in a religious context – in the past, present, in different countries. To what extent do theological and socio-political messages circulate through music, what are the interests behind the symbiosis of popular music and the Church? The network involves scholars from several European countries, including Norway, Finland, Denmark, Holland and Germany. Main cooperation partners: Departments of Musicology and Theology at the University of Siegen.

Popular Music behind the Iron Curtain (ongoing)

Michael Rauhut: This project is focused on the role popular music has in dictatorial systems. The main issues include: youth cultural dimensions, art and subversion, socialist production conditions in the field of popular music. A new subproject (since 2019) is focusing on the topic "Popular Music and Migration." The aim here is to examine, from both a historical perspective and on the basis of current processes, how political and social conditions affect the creativity of musicians in the field of popular music. The number of cooperation partners is constantly growing; it mainly includes Eastern European colleagues. A continuous and long-term cooperation exists with: Departments of Musicology at Palacký University Olomouc and Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Popakademie Mannheim.

Cultural Expression and Subjectivity

Stan Hawkins: “Cultural Expression and Subjectivity in the Multimodal/transmedia Storyworlds of Progressive Metal Music,” collaborative project funded by the Canadian Research Council (SSHRC) (Principal Investigator with Professor Lori Burns, Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa.) (2019-2023)

The Kristiansand Roundtable Conference

In the period of 2007-2012, Kristiansand and the University of Agder hosted the annual Roundtable Conference, lead and initiated by Peter Jenner and Bendik Hofseth. The events offered an arena for debate and discussion among people with insights and positions to influence the music industries digital progressions. The Kristiansand Roundtable Conferences were by invitation only and the talks were held under Chatham House Rules.

The Chatham House Rule simply states that while everything in the talks can be used for further work and debate, nothing of what is being said can be attributed to any participants. These frameworks have been critical for allowing discussions on sensitive and difficult matters and it has been an important premise for why the Kristiansand Roundtable Conferences became an important meeting-place for people in the music business, digital tech-companies, academic researchers and policy makers and legislators. 

After a break for three years, the conference has started up again in 2016, successfully located prior to Sørveiv In 2017, Billboard Magazine was represented, reporting back from the event with this piece.

“New Perspectives in Popular Music Research”

An alumni two-day symposium on new perspectives in popular music will be held by the Department of Popular Music, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Agder. This marks the tenth anniversary of our PhD programme in popular music performance, and provides an opportunity to showcase work by former graduates, current PhD candidates, and scholars associated with music research within the broad field of popular music studies. A keynote address by professor Keith Negus will frame and contextualize the event.


The research group’s main objective is to facilitate research and academic excellence within the field of popular music studies. It serves as a forum for academic discussions, the development of and cooperation around research projects, and the dissemination of research in the field of popular music. The approach is interdisciplinary: We understand Popular Music Studies (PMS) as a multi-faceted arena including different research disciplines, strategies and traditions. Popular music is considered as a complex aesthetic and social phenomenon which is inextricably linked with industrial processes. This entails the study of the aesthetics of music, as well as the economic and technological frameworks which music is created within. PMS is an international research group where focus of research, the networks of our members, and the impacts of our work are primarily international.

Our ambitions are (1) to have a growing academic impact on the research field by publishing state-of-the-art research through top-level academic journals and book series. And (2) to have growing relevance to society by increasingly being a favored partner in projects, host for events and source of knowledge and analyses.

Previous projects

COST – Dynamics of Virtual Work

Since 2014 Daniel Nordgård and the University of Agder has been part of the COST network Dynamics of Virtual Work, which researches the impacts from digitalization on work conditions and framework. The project can be looked at on the Cost.eu homepage and here: http://dynamicsofvirtualwork.com/

The project’s final conference was held in Vilnius, Lithuania the 14-16th of September: http://dynamicsofvirtualwork.com/final-conference-vilnius-14-16-septembre-2016/


Selected Publications

  • Jung, M. & Kummen, V. (2024) Hacking the Concert Experience: Exploring Co-Creative Audience Interaction at a Chiptune Live Performance, in J.-O. Güllo et al. (eds.) Innovation in Music: Technology and Creativity, Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003118817-8
  • Jung, M. & Clester, I. (2023) Hack the Show: Design and Analysis of Three Interaction Modes for Audience Participation, in M. Buffa et al. (eds.) Fostering Creativity through Web Audio. Journal of the Engineering Society (Special Issue). https://doi.org/10.17743/jaes.2022.0111
  • Jung, M. (2023). Intelligent Music Performance Systems: Towards a Design Framework, in Studia Musicologica Norvegica. Universitetsforlaget. Vol. 49, Iss.1: 28–44. https://doi.org/10.18261/smn.49.1.3
  • Rauhut, M. (2023) Meuterei auf der Titanic: Die ostdeutsche Rockband Silly emanzipierte das Ich vom Wir, in K. Andresen, S. Justke & / S. Schüler-Springorum (eds.) Vom Ich zum Wir und wieder zurück? Subjektverständnisse zwischen Politisierung und Entradikalisierung seit den 1960er Jahren. Göttingen: Wallstein, 120–139.
  • Rauhut, M. (2023) Sharing All the World: The Beatles’ Reception in the GDR, in Á. Ignácz (ed.) Translation, Adaptation, and Intertextuality in Hungarian Popular Music, Lausanne et al.: Peter Lang, 235–251.
  • Rauhut, M. (2023) Krieg gegen Köpfe. Schlager und Ideologie in den frühen Jahren der DDR, in J. Müske & M. Fischer (eds.): Schlager erforschen. Kulturwissenschaftliche Perspektiven auf ein populäres Phänomen, Münster und New York: Waxmann, 33–47.
  • Rauhut, M. (2023) Kirche und populäre Musik in der DDR, in Pastoral-Theologie, 10/2023, vol. 112, 446–469.
  • Rauhut, M. & Peter, B. (2022) guest editors for the special issue: Narrating Popular Music Histories of the GDR: A Critical Reflection of Approaches, Sources and Methods, Popular Music History, vol. 14, no. 2, 129 pp.
  • Rauhut, M. (2022) Intent and Reality: Driving Forces in the Development of Popular Music in the GDR, in: Popular Music History, vol. 14, no. 2, 167–182.
  • Rauhut, M. & Peter, B. (2022) Small Cracks, Complex Structures: Trends and Traditions in the Historiography of the GDR’s Popular Music, in: Popular Music History, vol. 14, no. 2, 97–105.
  • Rauhut, M. (2020) Conflicting Identities: The Meaning and Significance of Popular Music in the GDR, in O. Seibt et al. (eds.): Made in Germany: Studies in Popular Music, New York: Routledge, 48–57.
  • Hawkins, S. & Burns, Lori. (eds.) (2019) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Video Analysis, New York: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Hawkins, S. & Ålvik, Jon Mikkel Broch (2019) A-ha's "Take on Me", in Ciro Scotto; Kenneth M. Smith & John Brackett (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Popular Music Analysis: Expanding Approaches. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Rauhut, M. (2019) One Sound, Two Worlds: The Blues in a Divided Germany, 1945–1990, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
  • Hawkins, S. (2018) Introduction: David Bowie, Contemporary Music Reviedw, 37/3, 189–192.
  • Nordgård, D. (2018) The Music Business and Digital Impacts: Innovations and Disruptions in the Music Industries, Cham, Switzerland, Springer Nature.
  • Rauhut, M. (2018) Jugendkulturen und populäre Musik in der DDR, in: Günter Mey (ed.): Jugendkultur in Stendal: 1950–1990. Szenen aus der DDR – Porträts und Reflexionen, Berlin: Hirnkost, 2018, 91–99.
  • Dybo, T. (2017) Doctoral Scholarship in Popular Music Performance, in: H. Dunin-Woyseth & F. Nilsson (eds.) Perspectives on Research Assessment in Architecture, Music and the Arts, Abingdon: Routledge, 101–113.
  • Dybo, T. (2017) Fairport Convention: Gender and Voicing Strategies in a Sound Signature, in: S. Hawkins (ed.) The Routledge Research Companion to Popular Music & Gender, Abingdon: Routledge, 182–195.
  • Hawkins, S. (2017) The Routledge Research Companion to Popular Music and Gender. New York: Routledge.
  • Nordgård, D. (2017) Determining Factors on Digital Change in the Music Industries: A qualitative Analysis of the Kristiansand Roundtable Conferences, UiA. Can be retrieved here: https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/handle/11250/2442628.
  • Nordgård, D. (2017) Assessing Music Streaming and Industry Disruptions, in Meil, P. and Kirov, V. (eds.) Policy Implications of Virtual Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Rauhut, M. (2017) With God and Guitars: Popular Music, Socialism, and the Church in East Germany, in: Popular Music and Society, vol. 40, no. 3, 292–309.
  • Hawkins, S. (2016) Queerness in Pop Music: Aesthetics, Gender Norms, and Temporality. New York: Routledge.
  • Nordgård, D. (2016) Lessons From the Worlds Most Advanced Market for Music Streaming Services, in Business Innovation and Disruptions in the Music Industries, Massachusetts, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Nordgård, D. (2016) Norwegian Festivals and a Music Economy in Transition: The art of balancing ambitions, expectations and limitations, in Focus on World Festivals Goodfellow Publisher, Oxford, UK.
  • Rauhut, M. (2016) Ein Klang – zwei Welten. Blues im geteilten Deutschland, 1945 bis 1990, Bielefeld: transcript.
  • Dybo, T. (2015) Folkrock som globalisert musikkultur lokalisert i nordområdene, in: P. Fagerheim & O. Larsen (eds.) Musikk, folk og landskap, Stamsund: Orkana forlag, 175–200.
  • Dolmen, B. D. (2014) Om "progressiv rock" i Pekka Pohjolas musikk og komposisjonspraksis, in: Norwegian Journal of Musicology Online (http://journal.uia.no/index.php/NTM/article/view/122), Volume 2, 2014.
  • Nordgård, D. (2014) Rapport fra Musikernes fellesorganisasjons utvalg på strømming. Musikernes fellesorganisasjon; http://www.musikerorg.no/text.cfm/0_1915/rapport-fra-mfos-strxmmeutvalg.
  • Nordgård, D. (2013) Norske festivaler og en musikkbransje i omveltning: Kunsten å balansere ønsker, forventninger og behov in Festival! Mellom rølp, kultur og næring, Tjora, A (ed) Cappelen Damm.
  • Nordgård, D. (2013) Rapport fra Nordgård-utvalget. The Norwegian Ministry of Culture.
  • Rauhut, M. (2013) Standing at the Crossroads. Konstruktionen von Authentizität in der deutschen Rezeption des Blues, in: Uta Daur (ed.): Authentizität und Wiederholung. Künstlerische und kulturelle Manifestationen eines Paradoxes, Bielefeld: transcript, 215–236.