University of Leicester
2019WHITEHOUSESLPhD.pdf (2.51 MB)

Music covers as vehicles of nostalgia: Exploring fans’ recollections and yearning in the UK indie pop music scene

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posted on 2019-06-19, 14:45 authored by Sophie Louise Whitehouse
The purpose of this research is to investigate how long-standing members of the UK indie pop music scene reflect on their experiences of music and make sense of the scene. Twelve in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with fourteen indie pop fans, supported by two years of immersion in the scene so I could familiarise myself with the music, practices and community surrounding indie pop. Participants were asked to bring to the interview examples of meaningful single/EP/album covers and it was later investigated what role their chosen covers play in their conceptualisations of their experiences of music and the scene. Taking an inductive approach to research, thematic data analysis revealed that nostalgia and authenticity play a significant role in their conceptualisations. Specifically, participants were nostalgic for analogue media culture, the “golden years” of indie pop and personal recollections bound to music. A DIY mode emerged from the interviews, illustrated via key characteristics of the covers which participants drew on to collectively authenticate and establish the identity of the scene. The covers therefore functioned as vehicles of nostalgia, triggering reminiscences and underlying feelings of belongingness, while also constituting the object of yearning. In an age where the digitisation of music has re-contextualised analogue music, this research offers insight into less visible music practices outside of the mainstream and captures the motivations behind long-standing members of the scene’s commitment to analogue music and fondness for the culture surrounding it. In doing so, it foregrounds the role of music covers in experiences of music, an area which is currently unexplored in academic literature.



Brewis, Jo; Saren, Michael

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Management

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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