The Last Two Years, by Justin D Burton

by justindburton on May 31, 2013

Dear IASPM-US Readers,

June 1 marks the first official day of Mike D’Errico’s term as IASPM-US web editor-in-chief, which means May 31 is my last day. Mike has already been working on the website on several fronts during the last few weeks, and I’m excited about where he and the incoming assistant editor will take the organization’s online presence in the next year.

I’m continuing in a different role on the executive committee and will no doubt continue to plague many of your inboxes in the coming months and years as I take on new projects, but with this website changeover, it’s hard not to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve done since 2011. With tremendous support from the executive committee, we’ve both redesigned and reconceived the website. Instead of just a repository of information about IASPM-US, the site has become a place where popular music studies happens. The executive committee, led by president Barry Shank, was instrumental in outlining our first call for content and defining the kind of work we’d be looking for, and Caroline Polk O’Meara and Karl Hagstrom-Miller (whose nephew Bjorn designed our logo) were invaluable in also helping to change the website’s look.

Since the fall of 2011, we’ve regularly featured the work of popular music scholars (both junior and senior) on the front page of the site, whether in the form of Commercial Music Graphics, reflections on early pop experiences, interviews with authors of recent books, investigations of the shared and contested spaces linking popular music studies and sound studies (big thanks to Liana Silva, Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, and Aaron Trammell for the Sounding Out! collaboration), conference previews and reviews, or considerations of what nonsense lyrics do, among many other topics. With the help of Anthony Kwame Harrison, Karen Tongson, Gustavus Stadler, and Eric Weisbard, the site also became an extension of and complement to two of the organization’s biggest projects: the annual conference and the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

As the above paragraph attests, the vibrancy of the website has been the result of a communal effort, and much of the work has been done without a name attached to it. Alongside those listed already, I’d like to point out the work of a few more. In addition to Barry, Eric, Caroline, and Karl, the executive committee has included Beverly Keel, Rebekah Farrugia, Lindsay Bernhagen, David Garcia, Devon Powers, Mike D’Errico, and Reebee Garofalo, all of whom have helped shape the site. Jason Lee Oakes got the original website off the ground in 2010 and 2011 and showed me how to do everything when I started. Eric Weisbard and Anthony Kwame Harrison headed up the last two conferences, and the EMP crew and Shay McLaughlin provided a great deal of work to make the site look good (the EMP site was so nice we just linked to it in 2012, then worked to replicate it’s functionality in 2013). Elizabeth Lindau expertly guest edited a whole series recently. Many presses have been indispensable in their willingness to send review copies to our interviewers. Laura Sell at Duke and Samara Stob at Oxford have overseen the most book shipments for the interviews series. Thanks also goes to Mary Francis and Aimee Goggins at California, Shaun Manning at Michigan, Karen Fisk at UMass, Jackie Bressanelli at Ashgate, Stephanie Elliott at Wesleyan, Alice Gillam at Intellect, Jessica Plummer at Routledge, Nick Lilly at Chicago, and Gary Kramer at Temple. The Interview Series has proven valuable for authors, interviewers and readers alike, and it wouldn’t happen without the enthusiastic helpfulness of these presses. We’re of course grateful to the many contributors who have written for the site and whose thoughtful and careful work keeps bringing readers back. And, finally, thanks to those of you who read the site and share with others – I hope we’ve invigorated your own thoughts and writings on popular music with what we’ve published here.

It’s been a great pleasure to work as web editor for IASPM-US during the last two years. I’m proud of what we’ve done with the site and profoundly grateful to all who have helped make it a destination for high-quality, thought-provoking work in popular music studies. I especially appreciate the many expressions of encouragement and feedback I’ve heard from many of you, as it’s helped to further refine what the site can do. Above all, it’s been particularly satisfying to have become friends with many in the organization through this position, and I look forward to working alongside you in the field of popular music studies for years to come.





Justin D Burton

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