Professor Lee Marshall

Professor Lee Marshall

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


I am interested in the social and institutional organisation of cultural production and consumption, particularly issues relating to intellectual property, stardom and digitisation. 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 music industry structures shape 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. Reflecting my interest in stardom, in 2007 I published a sociological biography of Bob Dylan and in 2012 I edited a collection entitled The International Recording Industries that sought to challenge the anglocentrism of popular music studies by providing case studies of the recording industry in eight different countries.

I have published a wide range of journal articles relating to how the music industry may or may not be changing as a result of digitisation. I am currently working on a number of projects relating to popular music production (how do musicians earn a living?) and consumption (what are the implications of streaming music for ownership, collecting, listening and so on). I am particularly interested in the idea of value - do people value popular music and how is that reflected in its economic value. Ultimately, I intend to bring all of these different strands together into a broad theorisation of digital music more generally.


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 & Laing, D, 2014, ‘Popular Music Matters: Essays in Honour of Simon Frith’. Ashgate Publishing Ltd., Aldershot
  2. Marshall, L, 2013, ‘The International Recording Industries’. Routledge, London
  3. Marshall, L, 2007, ‘Bob Dylan: the never ending star’. Polity Press
  4. Marshall, L, 2005, ‘Bootlegging: Romanticism and Copyright in the Music Industry’. SAGE Publications Ltd
  5. Marshall, L & Frith, S, 2004, ‘Music and Copyright Second Edition’. Edinburgh UP

Latest publications

  1. Herbert, D, Lotz, A & Marshall, L, 2019, ‘Approaching media industries comparatively: A case study of streaming’. International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol 22., pp. 349-366
  2. Marshall, L, 2019, ‘Do People Value Recorded Music?’. Cultural Sociology, vol 13., pp. 141-158
  3. Haynes, J & Marshall, LKR, 2018, ‘Reluctant entrepreneurs: musicians and entrepreneurship in the ‘new’ music industry’. British Journal of Sociology, vol 69., pp. 459-482
  4. 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
  5. Marshall, LKR, 2015, ‘‘Let’s keep music special. F--- Spotify’: on-demand streaming and the controversy over artist royalties’. Creative Industries Journal, vol 8., pp. 177-189

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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