Metalheadz, Punks, Ravers: Genre, Fandom and the Non-musical Expression of Belonging

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When discussing fandom, we refer to the relationship between the fan and his or her liking of a specific object or person. In popular music studies, fans and fandom have been described and analysed in relation to a specific artist, band or performer. When this is the case, certain observations can be made that link the fan to his or her musical star: logos, photographs, items of clothing, accessories, or hair styles. There are genres of popular music whose units of musical production and performance are represented by bands or solo artists. In the case of electronic dance music, fandom has experienced a shift. Due to the public prominence of DJs and their subsequent treatment as stars, the image of a star has appeared from and disappeared into the underground. In this paper, I examine the ways in which fandom is celebrated in electronic dance music. A definition of fandom based on representations of non-musical values that suggest a strong social community and a sense of belonging is proposed. Furthermore, the historical development of superstar DJs and consequences for the practice of fandom are contextualised with a view to re-define the fan.

Dr Beate Peter, University of Salford