My article about the current state of children’s music, “The New ‘Tween’ Music Industry: The Disney Channel, Kidz Bop, and an Emerging Childhood Counterpublic,” was recently accepted in Popular Music, published by Cambridge University Press, where it will appear in revised form. A PDF is here. Here’s the abstract:
This article examines the expansion of the U.S. children’s music industry in the last decade. It considers the sanitizing of Top 40 pop for child audiences in the Kidz Bop compilations, the entrance of Disney into the popular music market, and the meteoric rise of “tween” music products such as High School Musical, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, and Justin Bieber. Children increasingly consume mainstream musical products and, in the converse dynamic, children’s artists themselves play an increasingly prominent role in popular culture. In many ways they have taken the lead both in commercial success and in stylistic innovations. Examining public expressions of age-based solidarity among celebrity musicians associated with children, this article argues that children’s music is increasingly articulated through tropes of identity politics, representing the emergence of a childhood counterpublic.