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Selling a dream? Information asymmetry and integrity within promotional literature for popular music courses

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Providers of higher education have a legal responsibility to provide accurate information to students. In an increasingly marketized sector, however, promotional imperatives place pressure on providers to ‘sell’ degrees to students. Given the indeterminate nature of popular music careers, not to mention the ‘intangible product’ that is higher education, the implicit or explicit indication of an assurance of career success upon completion of the degree could be regarded as being overstated. This article brings to bear a qualitative linguistic analysis of the terms and constructed meanings implied within promotional literature across a range of performance-based popular music degrees. It suggests that language in this context functions in a performative sense and can perpetuate questionable conceptions of popular music careers and the efficacy of degree courses. The article concludes with suggestions of improvements that might be made across the sector in the promotion of popular music degree programmes.
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Keywords: careers; higher education; language; marketization; music industries; popular music; programmes; promotional

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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  • The main aims of Journal of Popular Music Education, especially initially, will be iteratively to define the parameters of the field and disciplines of its readership and contributors (especially with regard to other journals in popular music and music education), this being an emerging field of scholarship and practice. The other principal aim will be to disseminate excellent critique and other forms of scholarship (e.g. phenomenological) in and related to the field. The journal will have an inclusive, global reach. 'Education' and 'popular music' are terms that we expect to be stretched and problematized through rigorous examination from multiple international perspectives.
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