The new geographies of popular music (in a pandemic): Guilty geographies and compressed intimacies


  • Phil Dodds Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper, Lunds universitet


Popular music; guilty geographies; fan-funding; intimacy; sonic compression; streaming platforms; Mona Masrour; Alice Boman; Jens Lekman; Sweden.


In this paper, I analyse developments in the relationship between popular musicians and their audiences that have intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020–21. The first, guilty geographies, concerns musicians and music venues becoming increasingly reliant on charitable audience support, appealing to fans’ ethical consciences through the crowdfunding (or fan-funding) model. The second, compressed intimacies, relates to the conditions of musical production and reception, and the new geographies of musical listening, that emerge from this guilt-based relationship. Focusing on examples from Sweden, I argue that while some artists and venues have engaged creatively with guilty geographies and compressed intimacies, these trends should be resisted.