Professor Keith Negus

Keith has written books on creativity and cultural production, the music industry, and music's place in society

Staff details

Professor Keith Negus


Professor of Musicology




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Keith Negus has written books on Bob Dylan, the music industry (Music Genres and Corporate CulturesProducing Pop) and creativity (Creativity, Communication and Cultural Value), and articles on various topics including musicians on television, globalization, narrative, music genres, cultural intermediaries, and live music. He was part of the Open University team that researched and wrote Doing Cultural Studies: The Sony Walkman Story and Production of Culture/ Cultures of Production.

Between 2013 and 2015, he completed research on ‘Digitisation and the Politics of Copying in Popular Music Culture’ with John Street and Adam Behr as part of the UKRI CREATe programme. [can we move the link here]

He is conducting ongoing research on popular music and the music industries of East Asia, and has collaborated with Dr. Hyunjoon Shin, Sungkonghoe University, and Dr. Qian Zhang, Communication University of China (articles available here and here).

Before joining the Music Department, he spent four years in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths. Much earlier he drifted into higher education after a few years spent playing keyboards and guitar in a variety of bands. He gained a degree in Sociology from Middlesex University and completed a PhD study of the recording industry at South Bank University (published as Producing Pop). He also taught at the Centre for Mass Communication Research, University of Leicester, and Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Puerto Rico. He collaborated with Pete Astor (The Loft, Weather Prophets) in writing and producing ‘Love Repeats’/ ‘Alpha November’ (wiaiwya, 2015) as the Fairlight Myth.

He is a member of the Editorial Group of Popular Music (Cambridge University Press) and was Coordinating Editor between 2001 and 2013. 

He is co-director of the Popular Music Research Unit and convenor of the MA Music (Popular Music Research).

Academic qualifications


Areas of supervision

Current PhD students and their fields of study

Emma Winston: A Contemporary Ethnography of Hidden Ukulele Musicians in Britain: Creativities, Communities, and Identities.

Ben Assiter: Electronic dance music culture in London and the space-time economy of the night.

Pete Gofton: Vinyl and the post-digital music industry

Christopher Hanby: The Revitalisation of the Endangered Language of Jèrriais: A study of music, language ideology, and cultural identity in Jersey.

Laurence Saywood: Enduring Victorianism: Rethinking Pop Music, Working-Class Culture and the Long 1960s.

Publications and research outputs


Negus, Keith. 2011. Producing Pop: Culture and Conflict in the Popular Music Industry. London: Edward Arnold. ISBN 0340575123

Negus, Keith. 2008. Bob Dylan. London: Equinox London. ISBN 13 978 1 904768 25 8

Pickering, M. and Negus, Keith. 2004. Creativity, Communication & Cultural Value. Sage. ISBN 0761970754

Book Section

Chen, Yuting and Negus, Keith. 2023. Guochao music and new Chinese identities: Gender, generation, and nation. In: Kimi Kärki, ed. Popular Music Climates. Turku, Finland: Turku: International Insitute of Popular Culture, pp. 18-23. ISBN 9789512994274

Zheng, Zhou and Negus, Keith. 2023. Creating an Oriental Fantasy: Transnational Game Production and New Nationalism in Honor of Kings. In: Kimi Kärki, ed. Popular Music Climates. Turku, Finland: Turku: International Insitute of Popular Culture,, pp. 105-110. ISBN 9789512994274

Negus, Keith. 2021. The Singles: A Playlist for Framing Dylan's Recording Art. In: Sean Latham, ed. The World of Bob Dylan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 46-57. ISBN 9781108499514


Zhang, Qian and Negus, Keith. 2024. From cultural intermediaries to platform adaptors: the transformation of music planning and artist acquisition in the Chinese music industry. New Media & Society, ISSN 1461-4448

Negus, Keith and Astor, Pete. 2022. Authenticity, empathy, and the creative imagination. Rock Music Studies, 9(2), pp. 157-173. ISSN 1940-1159

Negus, Keith and Sledmere, Adrian. 2022. Postcolonial paths of pop: a suburban psychogeography of George Michael and Wham! Popular Music, 41(2), pp. 131-151. ISSN 0261-1430

Conference or Workshop Item

Negus, Keith. 2005. 'When the artist meets the audience: amour, anxiety and ambivalence'. In: 13th Biennial IASPM Conference, Making Music, Making Meaning. Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy, Italy 25-30 July 2005.

Research Interests

Keith’s research engages with all aspects of the creation and production, circulation and performance, reception and uses of popular music. Recent research is concentrated in two broad areas.

The changing international music industries

He is currently focusing on the changing live and recorded music industries of East Asia, with particular attention to streaming, building upon two distinct strands of earlier research. First, studies of the music industries in the UK, Europe and USA that have been conducted over a period of about 30 years (available here). Recent research has explored how the music business has experienced and dealt with a shift from the manufacture of physical artefacts (the record, the product), to a model of streamed access to contentthe economies of live music after digitalisationand the tensions between nation states and major corporations.

The second strand of research encompasses studies of cultural production in and out from East Asia. This traces back to a study of the global strategies developed by Japanese tech companies when acquiring record labels and film studios during the late 1980s/ early 1990s, through to an overview of research on the Korean music industry, and a more detailed study of ‘data fans’ in China, co-authored with Dr Qian Zhang.

Creativity and the popular music imagination

Another area of Keith’s research has addressed debates about the creativity of popular musiciansexploring the way songs convey stories and become part of broader social narratives, and engaging with debates about authorship. He has published detailed studies of Bob Dylan’s musicianship and songwriting, and unique approach to recording and studio production. Writings and research with Pete Astor have explored the varied ways that lyrics work as sound, meaning, and architecture in songs, and how rock musicians engage with the experience, value and controversies about authenticity. Research with Dr. Adrian Sledmere has been drawing on psychogeography to explore how music is created in specific places, with particular attention to the formation of Wham! in and across suburban London and Hertfordshire during the late 1970s and early 1980s.