Pop tarts and body parts: An exploration of the imaging and brand management of female popular music stars

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communications


Pop stars, Career lifestyle, Person brand, Imaging, Brand management, Popular music

Subject Categories

Communication | Mass Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This grounded theory study uses in-depth interviews with music industry professionals to create a lifecycle for female popular music stars, offer a typology of female artist brands, and begin development on short-term branding literature. Findings indicate that women's appearance, age, and accessibility are critical factors in determining their career longevity. For these and other reasons, many female artists are viewed as short-term brands, which must be managed differently than traditional brands, or, in music industry terms, "career artists." But most branding literature focuses on long-term brands, leaving these shorter-term brands out of the discussion. This dissertation calls for research about how to manage these culturally-embedded, fast-changing brand types and makes preliminary suggestions for how managers might begin to frame such work.


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