Shocking in Popular Music: Commodification by Eccentricity
Intentional eccentricity is a strategy targeted at how to capture publicity and media. Since the time of the emerging modern bourgeois society, exalted artistic eccentricity, bohemianism, has been a regular and significant part of social discourse. Dandy was a hero who needed to be distinguished from the petty-bourgeois lowness. Eccentricity as a working method has been a typical characteristic for radical modernistic art movements such as Dada, Futurism or Surrealism. Popular music has involved eccentricities since the early 1950s, however Elvis or later the Beatles may seem very polite to us today. It is a question of cultural context and pushing boundaries. Eccentricity has become a recognizable brand, identifier and attraction, which should arouse the interest of the audience, attract spectacular visuals or deliberate gossip. However, sometimes it is not clear whether the shock is just a promotional strategy or an artistic intention. Thus, eccentricity plays a huge role in the popularization and commodification of pop-cultural products as a marketing tool that helps build the artist’s image, product-recognizable differences and create different ways of linking audiences, with music production itself and its visual presentation often the result of a non-authorial but culturally industrial approach to music.
Blasphemy. Culture. Eccentricity. Kitsch. Media. Pop music. Shock.
KASARDA, M.: Shocking in Popular Music: Commodification by Eccentricity. In European Journal of Media, Art and Photography, 2022, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 108-117, ISSN 1339-4940.