73rd conference of the International Communication Association (ICA)


Music artists are crucial sources of inspiration about what it means to be successful and to have a high status. Previous literature has mostly focused on economic factors, such as luxurious jewels, but has ignored other fundamental dynamics in the definition of status, namely social relationships and power dynamics, especially sexual ob(sub)jectification. Adopting an intersectional Bourdieusian perspective, this article analyzed a unique dataset of 4117 lyrics popular on Spotify between 2016 and 2019 in six countries (US, UK, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada). A manual analysis of these lyrics showed that almost half (46%) of the songs depicted status in terms of economic capital, 26% through social capital, 16% through cultural capital, and 6% through sexual ob(sub)jectification. Most of these representations were present in Rap music and among Black and Brown men artists. We concluded by discussing these results in relation to an increasingly globalized music industry and artists’ well-being.

73rd conference of the International Communication Association (ICA)
Toronto, Canada
Luca Carbone
Empirical Social Scientist