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Alternative Mainstream

Making Choices in Pop Music


  • About the music segment that lies between the ‘mainstream’ and the ‘underground’
  • What are the origins of musical ‘hypes’?

Author: Gert Keunen
Design: Metahaven
Series: Antennae, Arts in Society

2014, Valiz | supported by Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts, Tilburg | paperback | 416 pp. | 21 x 13,5 cm (h x w) | English | ISBN 978-90-78088-95-0

Which mechanisms of decision making and choice lie at the basis of the selections made by people working in the pop music circuit? Which frames of thinking and evaluating do pop music professionals apply? Almost as a rule, these people discuss the same bands, those that make the crossover to the outside world – the ‘hypes’. What are the origins of these hypes? What makes people talk about some, yet the same bands, while remaining silent about other bands? Alternative Mainstream deals with the music segment that lies between the ‘mainstream’ and the ‘underground. This segment includes genres that range from hip hop to rock and from folk to electronic music. Gert Keunen attempts to uncover which aesthetics and ideologies lie at the basis of the cultural construct that is the alternative mainstream and embeds his findings in a broader socio-economic context.

Gert Keunen (1969) is a teacher, publicist and musician. He holds a PhD in Cultural Sociology and is an associate lector in Music at
Fontys Academy for the Performing Arts in Tilburg. He has published widely on pop music and released several albums as a sample artist and composer, working under the pseudonym Briskey.