My driving research interests are more like lifelong passions, as any glance into one of several bookshelves of my library will reveal. However, those interests are usually distilled into a few topics that contain a myriad of additional subjects. I am fascinated by sociology in general, but I am especially fascinated by how people react and act in various contexts towards other people whether they are individuals or small groups and vice versa. This fascination predates my knowledge of Erving Goffman, though Goffman and a handful of others have codified this interest into the myriad of interests that encompass small group propaganda. That driving research interest has been and will be the subject of several papers, a thesis, and several conference presentations.
Previously, I stated that my driving interests contain a myriad of additional subjects as well. This is especially true of my interest in music, local, independent, and unsigned musical artists. Here, my two lifelong interests in propaganda and music converged in New York when I attempted to be a big-picture propagandist, what is commonly called a publicist, for a few bands and one open mic night at a New York bar on the Lower East Side. I succeeded in achieving some publicity in a few local newspapers (which I am pretty proud of), but I realized shortly that I was always mediocre as a publicity propagandist at best. I have always understood the whys of propaganda better than those who practice it, but the how was always elusive. When I decided to return to school for a master’s degree, I toyed with the idea of an MBA in Marketing for a quick minute until I looked into the propaganda bookcase and saw nothing but sociologists or practitioners influenced by sociologists. Marketing would have also bored me to tears.
And so I arrived at sociology and I arrive at Music and Propaganda as driving research interest. I suspect that this driving research interest will be fine-tuned in the near future, but I would like to dig a little deeper into how musical artists, independent of labels (or signed to a label so small there is no advertising propaganda budget), use propaganda to promote themselves to sell “merch,” promote themselves as artists, and promote a series of shows, whether local, regional, national, or international. It is independent artists that I am interested in, and so it is small group propaganda that is still the most applicable.