Pop Idol: Global Economy – Local Meanings

Authored by: Tarja Rautiainen-Keskustalo

The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Musicology

Print publication date:  December  2009
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754664765
eBook ISBN: 9781315613451
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041986


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One of the most popular talent shows of the early twenty-first century has been the Pop Idol TV format. Very different kinds of records have been presented in the context of the show: it has been estimated that it has generated over 3.2 billion viewers over the past six years and broken viewer records everywhere. Moreover, the fourth American Idol, for example, was the biggest texting event in the world, with approximately 41 million SMS text messages sent. 1 It is particularly noteworthy that the format has been easily integrated into very different kinds of cultural contexts. Between 2001 and 2008 the format and its spin-offs have been broadcast in over 40 countries. It is almost easier, indeed, to say where the format has not been broadcast; among such countries are Japan and China, for example.

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