Dr Lee Marshall

Dr Lee Marshall

Dr Lee Marshall
Reader in Sociology

2.10, 11 Priory Road,
11 Priory Road, Clifton, Bristol
(See a map)


Telephone Number (0117) 928 7504

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Personal profile

I am Reader in Sociology. I moved to Bristol in 2003, having previously worked at the University of East Anglia and University College Worcester.


I am a sociologist of culture and my main research interests centre on issues concerning authorship, stardom and the music industry. I am interested in the social and institutional organisation of cultural production and consumption, particularly how ideological constructions about individuality and personality underpin the economic organisation of culture. Although my work includes different types of cultural production, my main substantive interest is popular music, and I am an active member of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. The main focus of my work is on the music industry, but not merely in terms of economics and institutions. Rather, I am interested in how the structuring of the music industry shapes the discourses and practices involved in popular music consumption. In my view, if we want to understand what people in popular music (musicians, fans, critics...) say and do, then we must contextualise their actions within a broader institutional framework.

In my early career, I specialised on copyright and piracy in the music industry. I co-edited Music and Copyright with Simon Frith in 2004 and my first sole-authored book Bootlegging: Romanticism and Copyright in the Music Industry (2005) won the Socio-Legal Studies Association’s early career book prize. Since then, I have developed an interest in sociologically understanding celebrity and stardom and my book, Bob Dylan: The Never Ending Star (2007) is an attempt to understand an individual star through a sociological lens.

I am currently working on a number of projects that maintain my interests in stars and also contemporary developments in the music industry. I recently edited a collection entitled The International Recording Industries, published by Routledge in 2012. This book seeks to challenge the anglocentrism of popular music studies by providing case studies of the recording industry in eight different countries. I have also recently published papers on the structural functions of stardom in the music industry and on new contractual models in the recording industry (“360 deals”). I am currently researching the cultural and economic implications of streaming music services such as Spotify, and also (with Jo Haynes), conducting research into the working practices of independent musicians. My intention is to develop these ideas into a book on the implications of digital technologies for the production and consumption of popular music.


I am the unit convenor for the first year undergraduate unit, Thinking Sociologically. I also teach the undergraduate units Art and Society and The Sociology of Popular Music, and the masters unit Popular Music and Society.

I have supervised PhDs on topics ranging from Christian punks to online science fiction fans. I would welcome applications from research students seeking to sociologically study any aspect of popular culture/media but particularly topics related to popular music, stardom or intellectual property.

Key publications

  1. Marshall, L, 2013, ‘The International Recording Industries’. Routledge, London
  2. Marshall, L, 2007, ‘Bob Dylan: the never ending star’. Polity Press
  3. Marshall, L, 2005, ‘Bootlegging: Romanticism and Copyright in the Music Industry’. SAGE Publications Ltd
  4. Marshall, L & Frith, S, 2004, ‘Music and Copyright Second Edition’. Edinburgh UP
  5. Marshall, L, 2011, ‘The Sociology of popular music, interdisciplinarity and aesthetic autonomy’. British Journal of Sociology, vol 62., pp. 154-174
  6. Marshall, L, 2004, ‘The Effects of Piracy upon the Music Industry: a Case Study of Bootlegging’. Media, Culture and Society, vol 26 (2)., pp. 163 - 181

Latest publications

  1. Marshall, L, 2019, ‘Do people value recorded music?’. Cultural Sociology.
  2. Haynes, J & Marshall, LKR, 2018, ‘Reluctant entrepreneurs: musicians and entrepreneurship in the ‘new’ music industry’. British Journal of Sociology, vol 69., pp. 459-482
  3. Haynes, J & Marshall, L, 2018, ‘Beats and tweets: Social media in the careers of independent musicians’. New Media and Society, vol 20., pp. 1973-1993
  4. Herbert, D, Lotz, A & Marshall, L, 2018, ‘Approaching media industries comparatively: A case study of streaming’. International Journal of Cultural Studies.

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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