East Asian pop music idol production and the emergence of data fandom in China

Zhang, Qian and Negus, Keith. 2020. East Asian pop music idol production and the emergence of data fandom in China. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 23(4), pp. 493-511. ISSN 1367-8779 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article traces the formation of popular music idol industries in China and the emergence of data fandom. It charts the growth of digital platforms and historicises the commercial and geopolitical itinerations linking cultural production in Japan, South Korea, and China. It locates data fandom as an integral part of the popular music industries reconfigured by digital social media platforms; a structural change from the production-to-consumption ‘supply chain’ model of the recording era towards emergent circuits of content that integrate industries and audiences. Data fans understand how their online activities are tracked, and adopt individual and collective strategies to influence metric and semantic information reported on digital platforms and social media. This article analyses how the practices of data fans impact upon charts, media and content traffic; illustrating how this activity benefits the idols they are following, and enhance a fan’s sense of achievement and agency.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



Chinese idol production, recording industry, fandom, data, social media, digital platforms, K-pop, Chinese music industry

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit


12 January 2020Accepted
10 February 2020Published Online
1 July 2020Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

20 Jan 2020 09:37

Last Modified:

15 Jun 2021 10:15

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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