How Britpop Changed the Media

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Britpop has been picked over a lot in the past 20 years. Mostly, we concentrate on the rivalry between Blur and Oasis, the notion of Britishness and the high times in general - for music, art, politics, even football - for mid-90s Britain. How Britpop Changed The Media looks at Britpop and its legacy in a different way.

In the late 80s and early 90s, pop music had its own specialist media: NME, Smash Hits, Record Mirror, Select, The Face. Major pop stars like Madonna would make the tabloids' entertainment pages, but pop culture was rarely covered by the broadsheets. This was partly due to snobbery, partly a lack of access - pop's stars tended to be American.

Britpop, coming as it did after rave and grunge - youth cultures that were astonishingly, suddenly popular; but inaccessible to the mainstream media - was seized upon by tabloids, broadsheets and TV news. Here were stars that were easy to find - they were in Camden, or the Met Bar - and a scene that was familiar and on their doorstep. This sudden explosion of alternative indie musicians into the mainstream was a shock to the musicians themselves and changed the way we think of stars.

Britpop's point (like punk's) was that musicians and stars are like their fans. This indirectly led to the idea of ordinary people becoming instant stars, to reality TV shows like Big Brother where non-famous people become overnight celebrities. But also Britpop stars didn't want to talk to tabloids or non-music media: hence the media methods of the 2000s - phone-tapping, paparazzi-stalking, paying friends to talk.

Finally, of course, pop and indie music is a stalwart of all media now, from The Observer to The Sun. Britpop brought pop into the mainstream media, where it still rules today.
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