MODERN HEAVY METAL:
Markets, Practices and Cultures
International Academic Research Conference
June 8-12, 2015
Aalto University School of Business
University of Helsinki; IIPC / University of Turku; Sibelius Academy / University of the Arts Helsinki; Åbo Akademi University in Turku; Finnish Jazz & Pop Archive
Since its birth over 40 year ago, the music genre of heavy metal and hard rock has become not only a significant sub-culture but also an acknowledged subject for academic studies in various fields, even an interdisciplinary field of study in its own right. In the last few years, we have witnessed an increasing amount of events and publications in the metal academia, addressing the multiplicity of metal cultures, practices, and markets. The “International Society for Metal Music Studies” (ISMMS) and Metal Music Studies journal have also been established. In April 2013, the members of metal academia gathered in the “Heavy Metal and Popular Culture Conference”, hosted by the Bowling Green State University, in Ohio U.S. A decision was made there to bring the next main conference to Helsinki, Finland, the renowned metal capital of the Northern hemisphere.
Metal music has suffused to multiple directions, different markets and cultural layers – remaining marginal in some while enjoying mainstream success others. It has taken many forms, created a countless number of subgenres and representations, flirted and connected with other music genres and cultural products. Global and transnational communities have come into being simultaneously with the birth and development of local scenes. Moreover, the evolution of metal, as any other music genre, is impacted by the technological and economic revolution that has radically reshaped the forms of music production, delivery, consumption and culture – let alone the role of social media in communication, community building and fandom. Altogether, metal is embracing new fans and markets, creating new practices, forming new cultures, while treasuring the strong and polymorphous legacy of the genre. This brings along plenty of new challenges and opportunities for metal music studies in different genres.
The “Modern Heavy Metal” (MHM) conference will review, explore and discuss the current standing of metal; the plethora of its forms, cultures, practices, and markets. The conference will consist of research presentations, keynote speeches, industry/artist/media panels and other metal-laden program. In addition to the academic contents, the plan is to create close connections to the metal practice: the artists, their managers and other stakeholders, media, as well as the general metal audience. The event week will most likely include other metal entertainment spread over the evenings and the weekends.