Minor: Mu$ic: The Economy, Sociology and Practice of Popular Music (BA3 15EC)

Popular music plays a fundamental role in everyday life. It can act as a source of identification and rebellion, but also just to aid in selling a product. There is music for babies, for funerals, for going out, for elevators, for having sex to – and much, much more. In other words, popular music has become ubiquitous in our lives. In this minor, a collaboration between Erasmus University Rotterdam and Codarts University of the Arts, students explore both classic and cutting-edge research on the topic, while simultaneously gaining practical experience by taking part in the creation of their own ‘hit’ song. More information.

Student experiences:

This minor has definitely been one of the most exciting parts of my university experience so far. The small group of students came from a variety of backgrounds (from business administration to psychology to computer science), leading to a fruitful exchange of ideas and, inevitably, to new friendships. One of the things I found most inspiring about this minor was that all (guest) lecturers were very passionate about their field of research or practice. This motivated me to study more and to ask more questions than usual, resulting in a deeper understanding of music and its roots and influences in society.” – Jim.

“Really, this minor felt like a party! Sure, there were deadlines, and it was hard work, but I finally learned valuable information about all aspects of the music industry. Participating in your own music production, creation and dissemination project, learning from real music industry experts and gaining valuable knowledge about the history and development of the music industry – it is all included. This minor really taught me how valuable music is to society and to myself.” – Zoë

“If you have any interest in music, I highly recommend the MU$IC minor. We got to learn about the industry from all sides, from the sociological study of music to the practicalities of writing a hit song. I particularly enjoyed listening every week to a diverse range of guest speakers from inside the music industry.”  – Aidan

Popular Music: Industry and Society (BA2/3 5EC EUR & Codarts)

In this course, students are invited to theoretically engage in the critical and systematic study of popular music’s role in societies from its beginnings in youth cultures to its contemporary position in 21st Century digital landscapes. Important key concepts such as genre, scene, (diaspora) identity formation, authentication processes, social and symbolic boundaries, counter- and subcultures and social inequality will be fundamental in this approach. Central to this perspective is to treat popular music beyond its value as entertainment and demonstrate what is sociological about music. In addition, a more practical industry approach will make students familiar with the functioning of the global music industry. First, students will discuss popular music law, regulation and technology – particularly in a time of rampant illegal downloading/streaming and DIY music production. Second, industry and organizational structures are discussed in combination with – third – artistic career development.

Sociology of Arts and Culture (BA1 10EC)

This course is an introduction to sociology, the systematic and critical study of how people live together. Moreover, sociology is a perspective, a way of seeing the general in the particular. The course discusses the main sociological themes and theories – inequality, social cohesion and rationalization – as well as the sociologists whose ideas form the basis of contemporary sociology – Marx, Durkheim and Weber. In addition, this course addresses different ways people have lived and worked together throughout history, what sociologists mean by ‘culture’, the role of groups and organizations in society, race and gender, and how work, consumption, education, and mass media both emerge from – and affect – society. In addition, we will direct our sociological way of seeing to the art world (Becker) or the field of cultural production (Bourdieu). Art and culture do not simply reflect or shape society. The relationship between art and society is strongly affected by the production, distribution and reception of art and culture. This introductory course addresses the concepts of art worlds, the cultural industry, types of artists (production) as well as studies focusing on audience reception, consumption and stratification. Lastly, the role of the media in art and culture will be covered (distribution and reception).

Master Thesis Supervison (MA 15EC)

Past engagements:

  • Stratification (5EC Erasmus University College)
  • Sociale Ongelijkheid (BA1 5EC DPAS/ESSB)
  • Statistics (BA2 5EC)
  • Contemporary Approaches in Cultural Sociology (BA2 5EC)
  • Cultural Policy (BA2 5EC)
  • Academic Skills (BA1 5EC)
  • Introduction to Social Science Research (BA-1 5EC)