Stars, Anti-Stars, Anti-Star-Stars

Transmedia Texts and Contexts of Popular Music and Media. Some Theoretical Assumptions


  • Christoph Jacke Paderborn University, Germany



Stars, Celebrities, Popular Music, Personas, Transmedia Culture


The phenomenon of stars and celebrities in media cultures – and especially in popular music cultures – seems to be omnipresent. At the same time, there is an astounding lack of analysis and research on these media personalities and personas, and international celebrity studies only recently a developing new field. Similarly, these kinds of observations are still very rare especially in German sociology as well as communication, media, culture and popular music studies. In this article, I therefore want to concentrate on the foundations of studying stars and celebrities within the attention economies by undertaking a theoretical transmedia-cultural framing of media personas and suggesting a typology. This ensuing typology of stars, anti-stars, and anti-star stars – especially within popular music cultures – demonstrates how stars and celebrities and their quantities and qualities of success and peer-group specific values coming form programs of (media and music) culture can serve as persona-seismographs of socio-cultural change between tradition and innovation.


Download data is not yet available.


Ahlers, M. & Jacke, C. 2017, ‘A fragile kaleidoscope: institutions, methodologies and outlooks on german popular music (studies)’, in M. Ahlers & C. Jacke (eds.), Perspectives on German Popular Music. Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series, Routlegde, London and New York, pp. 3–15.

Alberoni, F. 1962, ‘The Powerless “Elite”: Theory and Sociologi¬cal Research on the Phenomenon of the Stars’, in D. McQuail (ed.), 1972, Sociology of Mass Communication. Penguin: Harmondsworth, pp. 75–98.

Auslander, P. 2004, ‘Performance Analysis and Popular Music: A Manifesto’, Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 1−13.

Auslander, P. 2021, In Concert. Performing Musical Persona, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.

Barthes, R. 1972, Mythologies, Hill and Wang, New York.

Bianchi, P. 2006, ‘Die Kunst der Selbstdarstellung. Ästhetisches Dasein zwischen Erscheinen, Existenzialismus, Existenzsetzung und Selbstkultur’, Kunstforum International, no. 181, pp. 46–57.

Debord, G. 2002, Guy Debord präsentiert Potlatch 1954–1957. Informationsbulletin der Lettristischen Internationale, Edition Tiamat, Berlin.

Diederichsen, D. 1993, Freiheit macht arm. Das Leben nach Rock’n’Roll 1990–93, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln.

Fairchild, C. & Marshall, P.D. 2019, ‘Music and Persona: An Introduction’, Persona Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1–16.

Flath, B., Jacke, C. & Troike, M. 2022 (eds.), Transformational POP: Transitions, Breaks, and Crises in Popular Music (Studies), ~Vibes – The IASPM D-A-CH Series. Volume No. 2, retrieved 31 July 2023 online,

Franck, G. 1998, Ökonomie der Aufmerksamkeit. Ein Entwurf, Carl Hanser, München.

Franck, G. 2005, Mentaler Kapitalismus. Eine politische Ökonomie des Geistes, Carl Hanser, München.

Frith, S. 1998, Performing Rites. On the Value of Popular Music, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Früchtl, J. 2004, Das unverschämte Ich. Eine Heldengeschichte der Moderne, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M.

Goffman, E. 1959, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Anchor Book, New York.

Grindstaff, L. 2009, ‘Self-Serve Celebrity: The Production of Ordinariness and the Ordinariness of Production in Reality Television’, in V. Mayer, M.J. Banks & J.T. Caldwell (eds.), Production Studies. Cultural Studies of Media Industries, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 71–86.

Holmes, S. & Redmond, S. 2006 (eds.), Framing Celebrity. New Directions in Celebrity Culture, Routledge, London and New York.

Holt, F. 2011, ‘Is music becoming more visual? Online video content in the music industry’, Visual Studies, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 50–61.

Jacke, C. 2018, ‘Pop’, in T. Beyes & J. Metelmann (eds.), The Creativity Complex. A Companion to Contemporary Culture, Transcript, Bielefeld, pp. 201–206.

Jacke, C. 2013, ‘German Popular Music Studies as Part of (International) Media Cultural Studies’, Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 271–286.

Jacke, C. 2004, Medien(sub)kultur. Geschichten, Diskurse, Entwürfe, Transcript, Bielefeld.

Jacke, C. 1998, ‘Millionenschwere Medienverweigerer: Die US-Rockband Nirvana’, in H. Rösing & T. Phleps (eds.), Neues zum Umgang mit Rock- und Popmusik. Beiträge zur Popularmusikforschung Band 23, Coda, Karben, pp. 7–30.

Jenkins, H. 2020, ‘Foreword’, in M. Freeman & R. Gambarato (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Transmedia Studies, Paperback Edition, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, pp. xxvi–xxx.

Jenkins, H. 2007, ‘Transmedia Storytelling 101’, Pop Junctions, retrieved 1 January 2024, <>.

Kelly, J. 2007, ‘Pop Music, Multimedia and Live Performance’, in J. Sexton (ed.), Music, Sound and Multimedia. From the Live to the Virtual, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 105–120.

Klapp, O.E. 1948, ‘The Creation of Popular Heroes’, The American Journal of Sociology, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 135–141.

Marshall, D.P. 2021, ‘The commodified celebrity-self: industrialized agency and the contemporary attention economy’, Popular Communication, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 164–177.

Marshall, D.P. 2010, The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 35–48.

Marshall, D.P. 2006a, Celebrity and Power. Fame in Contemporary Culture, 5th edition, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London.

Marshall, D.P. 2006b (ed.), The Celebrity Culture Reader, Routledge, New York and London.

Moore, A. 2002, Authenticity as Authentication, Popular Music, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 209–223.

Redmond, S. & Holmes, S. 2007 (eds.), Stardom and Celebrity. A Reader, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore.

Reynolds, S. & Jacke, C. 2022, ‘Forward & Rewind: Retromania in Music Documentary’, in K. Dreckmann, C. Heinze, D. Hoffmann & D. Matejovski (eds.), Jugend, Musik und Film, dup, Düsseldorf, pp. 581–612.

Rötzer, F. 1998, ‘Aspekte der Spielkultur in der Informationsgesellschaft’, in G. Vattimo & W. Welsch (eds.), Medien-Welten Wirklichkeiten, Wilhelm Fink, München, pp. 149–172.

Rötzer, F. 1999, ‘Aufmerksamkeit als Medium der Öffentlichkeit’, in R. Maresch & N. Werber (eds.), Kommunikation, Medien, Macht, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M., pp. 35–58.

Schmidt, S.J. 2011, Worlds of Communication. Interdisciplinary Transitions, Peter Lang, Oxford et al.

Schmidt, S.J. 2007, Histories & Discourses. Rewriting Constructivism, Imprint Academic, Exeter and Charlottesville.

Schmidt, S.J. 1994, Kognitive Autonomie und soziale Orientie¬rung. Konstruktivistische Bemerkungen zum Zusammenhang von Ko¬gnition, Kommunikation, Medien und Kultur, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/Main.

Schwendter, R. 1993, Theorie der Subkultur, 4th edition [1973], Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Hamburg.

Tessler, H. 2008, ‘The new MTV? Electronic Arts and “playing” music’, in K. Collins (ed.), From Pac-Man to Pop Music. Interactive Audio in Games and New Media, Ashgate, Farnham, pp. 13–25.

Turner, G. 2006, Understanding Celebrity, 2nd edition, Sage, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi.

Turner, G. 2010, Approaching celebrity studies, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 11–20.

Ullmaier, J. 1995, Pop Shoot Pop. Über Historisierung und Kanonbildung in der Popmusik, Frank Hofmann, Rüsselsheim.




How to Cite

Stars, Anti-Stars, Anti-Star-Stars: Transmedia Texts and Contexts of Popular Music and Media. Some Theoretical Assumptions. (2024). Persona Studies, 10(1), 56-73.