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Martin James

Professor Martin James

Professor of Creative and Cultural Industries

Faculty of Business, Law and Digital Technologies

023 8201 3488 ext. 3488 Room no. JM228


Martin is Professor of Creative and Cultural Industries in the Faculty of Business, Law and Digital Technologies.

Martin lectures in music media, culture and society and the creative and cultural industries. He supervises PhDs in a range of subject areas that link to his research and teaching interests. In 2018 Martin was awarded the prestigious National Teaching Fellowship in recognition of both his large lecture innovation and his curriculum design for real-world learning. He subsequently represented Solent University on a lecture tour of Russia in 2019. Drawing on his educational expertise, he was also invited to be a member of the University’s Curriculum Framework Steering Group in 2018 and was able to have input into Solent University’s groundbreaking and world leading curriculum framework.

Martin’s specialist research and teaching interests include: music cities and future cities; hidden histories of late twentieth-century alternative music - specifically punk, post-punk and electronic music; and also music journalism in the UK and US printed and online music presses. His current research projects explore the cultural economy of key cities, the role of music in future cultural growth, and the place of music archive in the creation of a cultural city identity. This work currently includes investigations into Southampton's music heritage, mapping and gapping of Southampton's creative music industries and auditing the city's live music venue activities. More recently, this has extended into exploration into the impact of Covid-19 on Southampton’s music ecology. This work has been awarded funding by the University’s alumni-supported Covid-19 Response Fund.

Martin is an internationally acclaimed music critic with expertise in cultural histories of popular music. He is currently collaborating on a number of linked projects about music and writing with partner universities and organisations. Martin has published books on the cultural histories of electronic music scenes as well as a number of music biographies that have been translated into fifteen languages. In 2013 he co-authored Understanding the Music Industries (Sage) and has also published papers and chapters in leading journals and edited collections. He is currently working on a monograph, Music Journalism: Then & Now (Routledge) and a co-edited collection, Media Narratives in Popular Music (New York, Bloomsbury)

In 2009 Martin launched Solent’s groundbreaking annual SMILEfest event. It included a music industries conference, masterclasses, student challenges and Southampton’s longest running multi-venue festival. He acted as co-executive producer of the festival for ten years until 2019 when he launched the SO:Music City Festival in collaboration with the music department of the University of Southampton, Southampton City Council and other local stakeholders. This project sees students and staff working closely with local music industry organisations, venues and musicians on an open-air, city centre festival and music industry conference. Martin will be producing Solent University’s Black British Music Conference as part of Black History Month (South) in October 2020.

Martin currently chairs the University’s City of Culture Research Group and sits on Southampton’s City of Culture Bid Research Group. He is postgraduate research degree coordinator for the Faculty of Business, Law and Digital Technologies. Martin is also proud to sit on the Race Charter Mark Self-Assessment Team.

Martin welcomes potential PhD students. He would also be interested in hearing from colleagues regarding potential collaborative research projects.

HEA National Teaching Fellow logo

Taught courses

Further information

  1. Awards

    Martin is a highly qualified university lecturer with a number of academic awards. Follow the link to find out more.
    • National Teaching Fellowship, Advance HE, 2018
    • Teaching and Learning in HE, Southampton Solent University, 2011.
    • PhD, ‘Versioning Histories and Genres’, University of Sunderland, 2008.
    • MA Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland, 2005.
    • BA (Hons) Communication Studies, Nottingham Trent University, 1991.
  2. Industry experience

    Martin has extensive experience of work within the music industry. Follow the link below for more information about his work history and any advantageous industry links he maintains.

    Music and music media industries career (selected)

    • 2001 – 2004: Pro-Mo Solutions Ltd (T/A Pro-Motion)/ King Content, Brighton: Managing Director.
    • 2000 – 2001: 7, 7-online, Mixer (US). DMC Ltd, London - Managing Editor.
    • 1998 - 2000: Flipside (UK). Vedapoint Ltd, London - Editor.
    • 1998 - 1998: Front magazine, London - Music Section Editor (from launch issue).
    • 1997 – 1998: Vox magazine, IPC London - Features Editor.
    • 1996 –1998: Muzik magazine, IPC London - Media Section Editor, senior features writer.
    • 1995 – 1997: Melody Maker. IPC London - Front Section Editor.
    • 1994 – 1995: Zok Records, London - General Manager.
    • 1992 – 1994: Hydrogen Dukebox Records, London - General Manager.
    • 1992 – 1995: Bubblecat Press, London - Managing Director.

    Freelance journalism

    • 2008 – 2015: popular music books critic: Times Higher Education.
    • 1991 - present: music critic: DJ, Electronic Sound.
    • 1991 – 2008: music critic: The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian, The Sun, GQ, Loaded, FHM, Front, Q, Mojo, Uncut, Mixmag, DJ, Melody Maker, Select, Generator, Muzik, Vox, Future Music, Bang!, Electronic Sound, Independent Catalogue, Lime Lizard, Bullit, Overall,,, Urb (US), Sweater (US), Remix (US), Mixer (US), Blender (US).
    • 1997 - 2009: freelance copywriter: Arts Council of England, DfES (Aim Higher & Parents Online), Sony Music, Warner Music, EMI, Virgin Records, BMG, V2, Mute, Beggars Group.
    • 1994 – present: record company biographer/ PR copy writer: Hydrogen Dukebox, EMI Records, Sony Records, BMG, Beggars Group, Virgin Records, Warner Music, East West, V2, Universal Island, Universal Polydor, PIAS, Mute, Source, One Little Indian.
    • 1994 – 2005: sleeve notes copy writer:
      • The Prodigy - Their Law – The Singles 1990 – 2005 (XL).
      • Faithless – Back to Mine (DMC).
      • Yazoo – Only You, Best of Yazoo (Mute).
      • Xymox – Edits (Zok).
      • Various Artists – Bustin’ Loose (Wall of Sound).
      • Various Artists – Machino Weirdo (Hydrogen Dukebox).
      • Various Artists – The Sound of Paris (PIAS).
    • 1997 – 2002: television guest music expert/ critic:
      • Channel 4 News.
      • Sky News.
  3. Research publications

    Martin is a highly published academic whose work has been translated into a number of languages. He has written acclaimed books and contributed to academic journals and edited collections.



    • James, M (2022) Music Journalism: then & now, Oxford: Routledge
    • James, M (2022) We Live for the Beats: The Prodigy story – part 2. Romsey: SOB Publishing; Russia
    • Anderton, C & James, M (2021) Media Narratives in Popular Music, (New York, Bloomsbury)


    • James, M (2020) State of Bass: The Origins of Jungle/Drum & Bass. London: Velocity Press
    • James, M (2018, 2020) We Eat Rhythm: The Prodigy story – part 1. Romsey: SOB Publishing; Russia
    • James, M (2015, 2017, 2018) Dave Grohl: All of Him, John Blake Publishing. London; Paris; Milan
    • James, M (2013) Understanding the Music Industries, with Anderton, C., & Dubber, A, London: Sage.
    • James, M (2010, 2008, 2004) Dave Grohl: Foo Fighters, Nirvana and Other Misadventures, Independent Music Press. London; Warsaw; Budapest; Hungary; Helsinki; New York
    • James, M (2003) French Connections: From Discotheque to Discovery. Sanctuary Publishing, London
    • James, M (2003) Fatboy Slim: Funk Soul Brother Sanctuary Publishing. London, Milan
    • James, M (2001) Moby: Replay – His Life and Times Independent Music Press. London; New York; Höfen (Österreich); Rome
    • James, M (1997, 1998, 2002) Prodigy, Ebury Press. London, Rome
    • James, M (1997, 1998) State of Bass: Jungle – The Story So Far Boxtree/ Macmillan. London; Tokyo,



    • James, M. Grime4Corbyn: 'UK Grime and the Labour Party' (2021) in Hoad, C., Stahl, G. & Wilson, O. (eds) (2020), Mixing Pop and Politics London: Routledge (in preparation)
    • James, M. & Hopkins, J. (2021) ‘"I’ll be Your Mirror”: Velvet Underground as the legacy of Ziggy Stardust’, in Albiez, S & Pattie, D. (eds), The Velvet Underground (and after…). London: Bloomsbury Continuum (2021)
    • James, M. & Hopkins, J. (2021) ‘The Velvet Underground and the Networks of Sound, Vision and Words of the Fertile Transatlantic Crescent 1965 - 1967’, in Albiez, S & Pattie, D. (eds), The Velvet Underground (and after…). London: Bloomsbury Continuum (2021)
    • James, M. (2021) ‘From Islam to Yeezies: How consumerism replaced knowledge in the media narratives of post 9/11 hip-hop’, in Anderton.C & James, M. (2021) Media Narratives in Popular Music. New York: Bloomsbury Academic
    • James, M. (2020) ‘Wild Frontier – Russian fandom and The Prodigy’, in Mazierska E. H., Gillon L. & Rigg, T. (2020) The Evolution of Electronic Dance Music. New York: Bloomsbury Academic (2020)
    • James, M. (2020) ‘More Punk than Pink: Pink Floyd’s relationship with 1970’s UK punk’, in Morrison, S. & Hart, C (eds), Pink Floyd, A multi-disciplinary Understanding of a Global Music Brand. Oxon: Routledge


    • Hearsum, P. & James, M. ‘The Rock Press’, (2020) in Moore, A. & Carr, P. (eds.) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Rock Music Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
    • James, M. (2019) ‘The Beautiful People are Ugly Too: The Clash as my true fiction’, in Coulter, C. (ed.) Working for the clampdown: The Clash, the dawn of neoliberalism and the political promise of punk. Manchester: Manchester University Press
    • ‘Documenting no wave: Brian Eno as urban ethnographer’ (2016), in Albiez,S. & Pattie,D. (eds.) Oblique Music, London: Continuum Publishing

    Journal articles


    • James, M. ‘Keith Flint 1969 – 2009’ Punk and Post Punk Journal. Ingenta Connect (2019)
    • James, M. ‘No I don't like where you come from, it’s just a satellite of London: High Wycombe, the Sex Pistols and Punk Transformation. Punk and Post Punk Journal. Ingenta Connect (2018)
    • Jacke, C., James, M. & Montano,E. ‘Editorial Introduction: Music Journalism’, in journal @IASMP (2014)
    • James, M. ‘A silent voice across the MEdiaverse: The Next Day as identities prosumed’, in Celebrity Studies special edition The Unearthly David Bowie (2013)
    • James, M. & Waltz. M. ‘The (re)marketing of disability in pop: Ian Curtis and Joy Division’ in Popular Music special edition Popular Music and Disability (2008)

    Conference papers/ panels

    • 2018 KEY NOTE. ‘Digital technology enabling analogue production: the case of self-publishing’, Music Tech Fest, Stockholm, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
    • 2018 ‘The lost voices of London’s satellite towns: High Wycombe, pre-punk and Sex Pistols’, Twisting My Memory, Man – popular music and memoir. York S John University.
    • 2017 ‘High Wycombe – the lost voices of ‘punk’, Punk Scholars Network annual conference, University of Bolton.
    • 2017 ‘A Self-Publishing Nightmare’, Louder than Words, Manchester
    • 2017 ‘’Inventing’ French Touch’, French Touch – Exhibition of the Story of Electronic Music in France, Red Gallery, London
    • 2015 ‘How Social Media has Impacted on the Music Industries’ ,The Chartered Institute for IT, Hampshire Branch.
    • 2015 ‘Seven Years of SMILEfest’, Solent Teaching and Learning, Southampton Solent University.
    • 2014 ‘Archiving No Wave: Authenticity as artifice’ Authenticity! Punk, No Wave and Authenticity, University of the Arts, London College of Communication,
    • 2014 ‘The Clash is my life story: autobiography as ethnography’, A riot of Our Own – symposium of The Clash in Belfast, Queen Mary’s University, Belfast.
    • 2014 ‘The V2.0 Music Critic’, Future Music Forum, Red Gallery, London,
    • 2014 ‘Circling two worlds: practice into research and research into practice’, Research and Enterprise Conference – Public engagement. Southampton Solent University,
    • 2013 ‘Future of Music Journalism’, Louder the Words, Manchester.
    • 2012 ‘Solent Music Festivals – something to SMILE about’ 2012 Research and Enterprise Conference. Southampton Solent University
    • 2011 KEY NOTE: ‘Public Engagement through music festivals’, National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), Cambridge University.
    • 2010 ‘Everyone knows this is nowhere: Brit Pop, French Touch and post-genre’, Popular Music Studies On- Day Post Grad Conference. University of Sunderland:
    • 2010 ‘Disability as a marker of authenticity in pop music marketing: Issues of disclosure, deployment and damage’, Present Difference: the cultural production of disability. (with Dr Mitzi Waltz) Manchester Metropolitan University.
    • 2006 ‘The Media’s Construction of Musicscapes’, Manchester Music and Place Conference (MIPC). Manchester Metropolitan University.
    • 2005 ‘Pop (Journalism) Will Eat Itself: Mapping the Slow Death of the Music Press’ Mapping the Magazine: Conference, University of Cardiff.
    • 2003 KEY NOTE: ‘Understanding the French Touch’, Popular Music in France symposium. Institute Français, London
  4. Funded research and knowledge exchange projects

    Martin's current research projects explore the cultural economy of key cities, the role of music in future cultural growth, and the place of music archive in the creation of a cultural city identity.

    Funded research projects

    • 2020 – 2021 Post Covid-19 Southampton Music Industries Impact Survey, Solent University COVID 19 response fund - £2,000.
    • 2020 – 2021 Covid-19 Southampton Music Industries Impact Survey, RIKE - £350.
    • 2018 – 2019 ‘Music City Genealogies: how does music connect Southampton’s cultural past to its creative future?’ RIKE. With Dr Toby Bennett (LI) and Dr Chris Anderton (CI) - £4,579.
    • 2018 – 2019 Southampton Music City Audit, Cultural Development Trust, with Dr. Chris Anderton (CI) - £2,000.
    • 2018 – 2019 Southampton Live Music Audit, Cultural Development Trust, with Dr. Chris Anderton (LI) - £2,000.
    • 2003 Internet engagement and safety research and copy writing Department for Education and Skills - £30,000.
    • 2003 Aim Higher research and copy writing Department for Education and Skills - £7,500.

    Funded knowledge exchange projects

    • 2018 – 2019 SO:Music City Festival, Southampton City Council, festivals fund - £6,000.
    • 2017 – 2018 SMILEfest, internal school & external relations - £7,000.
      Music Festivals, internal school - £1,000.
    • 2016 – 2017 SMILEfest, internal school - £2000.
      Music Festivals, internal school - £1,000.
    • 2015 – 2016 SMILEfest, internal school & external relations - £7,000.
    • 2014 – 2015 SMILEfest, internal school - £1200.
    • 2013 – 2014 SMILEfest, internal school - £1200.
    • 2012 - 2013 SMILEfest, internal school, marketing - £21,200.
    • 2011 – 2012 SMILEfest Greenfield Festival (SMILEfest in the Square), (Research and Innovation) - £5000.
    • SMILEfest conference, Internal school, marketing - £2200.
    • 2010 – 2011 SMILEfest, Internal School - £1200.
    • 2009 – 2010 Popular Music Journalism book, RIKE - £2000.
  5. University teaching and learning experience

    Martin was the first academic from Solent University to be awarded the highly-revered National Teaching Fellowship. His teaching experience includes course and module leadership, course and curriculum design, and management of learning and teaching projects. He has also sat on numerous related committees.

    Course leaderships

    • Sept 2008 – 2020: BA (Hons) Popular Music Journalism (course author), Solent University.
    • July 2007 – Sept 2008: BA (Hons) Urban and Electronic Music, Southampton Solent University.

    Teaching roles

    • 2007 – 2015: Senior Lecturer Popular Music Studies, Southampton Solent University.
    • 2004 – 2007: Senior Lecturer Magazine Journalism, University of Sunderland.

    Module leaderships

    • 2007 – present: Module leader, numerous theory and practice, specialist and cross-scheme units, Solent University.
    • 2004 – 2007: Module leader, journalism theory, practice and major project. University of Sunderland.

    Course and curriculum design (internal)

    • 2019 BA(Hons) Music Business
    • 2016 MA Music Festivals Industries
    • 2013 BA(Hons) Popular Music Journalism revalidation
    • 2008 BA(Hons) Popular Music Journalism

    Course validation/course review board (external)

    • 2019 BA (Hons) Music Business and Media, University of Brighton
    • 2018 BA (Hons) Music Journalism, BIMM (all UK BIMM colleges)
    • 2017 BA (Hons) Music Management, LCCM, London
    • 2017 BA (Hons) Music Journalism, UCA, Epsom
    • 2014 BA (Hons) Music Journalism, University of Chester
    • 2014 BA (Hons) Media Industries, University of Chester

    Course development consultant

    • 2013 BA (Hons) Music Journalism, University of Chester

    External examiner

    • 2019 – present University of Salford
    • 2013 - 2017 BIMM, Bristol
    • 2005 – 2007 Southampton Solent University
  6. Professional memberships and committees

    Follow the link below for more information on Martin's membership of professional organisations and committees.


    • 2020 – present Southampton’s City of Culture Bid Research Group.
    • 2020 – present Solent City of Culture Research Group.
    • 2020 – present Race Charter Mark Self-Assessment Team.
    • 2020 – present Professoriate, Chair (Lead Professor).
    • 2018 - 2019 Curriculum Framework Steering Group.
    • 2018 – 2019 Steering committee member, SoNG (Southampton Music Networking Group).
    • 2017 – present Chair, Dancing About Architecture – the International network of music journalism researchers, educators and practitioners.
    • 2017 – 2019 Founder and steering committee member, Southampton Music Strategy Group (with Southampton Cultural Development Trust).
    • 2017 – 2019 Steering committee member, Southampton Music City Development (with Southampton Cultural Trust, SONG, etc).
    • 2016 – 2017 School of Communications and Marketing Research Lead.
    • 2015 – present: Post-graduate research scrutiny panel (PGRSP).
    • 2015 – present Validation Standing Panel Committee (Chair).
    • 2015 – 2016 University Ethics Committee (UEC).
    • 2014 – present Research Development Committee (RDC).
    • 2013-15 Media School Representative - Faculty of Creative Industries Management Board.
    • 2010-12 Media School Representative – Faculty of Creative Industries Management Board.
    • 2004 –2007 Chair: Journalism research support group, University of Sunderland.


    • 2010 – present Member, ALCS.
    • 2009 – 2018 Director, SMILEfest.
    • 2007 – present Member, IASPM (International Association of the Study of Popular Music).
    • 2004 – present Member, AJE (Association of Journalism Education).
  7. PhD supervision and examinations

    Martin supervises and has examined a number of PhD candidates. He welcomes approaches from potential PhD students and is available for examination appointments.

    Current supervision

    • Kevin O’Donovan ‘Popular music journalism in the UK: The influence of Smash Hits magazine on audience and industry (with possible focus on language discourse’ (DoS)
    • Martin Buckley ‘A Creative and Analytical Response to Questions of Historicity in the Ramayana’
    • Roger Harris ‘Progressive Rock’
    • Angela Young ‘Independent Music Festivals’
    • Israr Jan Parker ‘Why do young women take selfies in uniform and not post them?’

    PhD examinations

    • 2019 Dr Tristan James Kennedy, Flinders University, Australia
    • 2019 Dr Danny Hagan, University of West London
    • 2018 Dr Simon Morrison, University of Leeds
    • 2017 Dr Mick Winter (posthumous), Flinders University, Australia
    • 2016 Dr Jeremy Thackray, QUT, Queensland, Australia