USC Sociology Professor on pop music

Dr. Mathieu Deflem, USC professor of “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame,” Photo by Michael Brown/provided by Dr. Deflem

Seeking the definition of pop music, I contacted Dr. Mathieu Deflem, a sociology professor at the University of South Carolina who teaches the course “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame.” This is the insight that he had to share on how pop music compares to other genres.

1. In terms of music production and cultural significance, how does pop differ from other music genres?

Culturally, pop is more popular, by definition, and therefore more significant in terms of reaching people. As music is always a form of communication (or, music is not music until it has an audience), pop music is more socially significant than any other genre. Music production has mainly changed over the years because of technological advances (synthesizers, digital recording etc).

2. How does the current pop music scene compare to that of previous decades? If not, how is it similar?

Not sure, but as always, musical genres go through waves of popularity, and right now pop is at the top of popular music, absent any decent rock music except those rock genres that stay underground.

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