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The new ‘tween’ music industry: The Disney Channel, Kidz Bop and an emerging childhood counterpublic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2012

Tyler Bickford*
Department of Music, Columbia University, 2690 Broadway, MC 1813, New York, NY 10027, USA E-mail:


This article examines the expansion of the US children's music industry in the last decade. It considers the sanitising of Top 40 pop for child audiences in the Kidz Bop compilations, the entrance of Disney into the popular music market and the meteoric rise of tween music products such as High School Musical, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber. It shows that, as children increasingly consume mainstream musical products, in the converse dynamic children's artists themselves play an increasingly prominent role in popular culture and in many ways have taken the lead both in commercial success and in stylistic innovations. Examining public expressions of age-based solidarity among celebrity musicians associated with children, this article argues that children's music is increasingly articulated through tropes of identity politics, and represents the early stages of a childhood counterpublic.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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