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Martin James

Professor Martin James

Course Leader

School of Media Arts and Technology

023 8201 3488 ext. 3488 Room no. Jm228


Martin James is the Professor of Music Industries at Solent University.

Martin studied for his first degree at Nottingham Trent University where he was awarded a BA (Hons) Communication Studies. In 2005, Martin was awarded an MA Media and Cultural Studies from the University of Sunderland, where he also received a PhD in 2008. His doctoral thesis was called ‘Versioning Histories and Genres’, a commentary on his books 'State of Bass: Jungle – The Story So Far' (1997) and 'French Connections: From Discotheque to Discovery' (2002).

Prior to becoming a lecturer in 2004, Martin was an internationally published music critic who worked on the editorial teams of some of the UK’s leading music magazines. He also regularly contributed to almost every major music and lifestyle magazine, and numerous daily broadsheet newspapers. Martin has also written several globally published and critically acclaimed books about music, including biographies of The Prodigy and Dave Grohl.

Since 2009 Martin has coordinated Solent University’s associations with some of the UKs finest independent festivals including Bestival, Camp Bestival, Blissfields, Pulse, RookWood and Common People. Through these link-ups, students have been able to gain invaluable experience in various areas of music and media performance and production industries.

In 2009, Martin organised the University’s first music industries conference ‘Solent Music Industries Live Event’ (SMILE). Featuring some of the biggest names in the world of music sharing their knowledge with students. SMILEfest is now an annual student organised event that includes gigs, club nights, employability challenges, masterclasses, and workshops.

In 2014, he co-edited the ‘Music Journalism Special Edition’ of the peer-reviewed International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) journal.

In 2015, Martin launched IAMJREP (The International Association of Music Journalism Researchers, Educators and Practitioners), a collaborative venture with scholars throughout the world.

Taught courses

Further information

  1. Awards

    Over the course of his career, Martin James has received a number of academic awards. Follow the link below to find out more.
    • 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. This section contains more information about his work history and any advantageous industry links he maintains.

    Freelance journalism

    2008 – present: 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:

    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.

    Music and music media industries career (selected)

    Jan 2001 – Jan 2004: Pro-Mo Solutions Ltd (T/A Pro-Motion)/ King Content, Brighton: Managing Director.

    July 2000 – Jan 2001: 7, 7-online, Mixer (US). DMC Ltd, London: Managing Editor.

    July 1998 - July 2000: Flipside (UK). Vedapoint Ltd, London: Editor.

    March 1998 - July 1998: Front magazine, London: Music Section Editor (from launch issue).

    Sept 1997 – March 1998: Vox magazine, IPC London: Features Editor.

    Dec 1996 – Sept 1998: Muzik magazine, IPC London: Media Section Editor (from dummy issue).

    Feb 1995 – Sept 1997: Melody Maker. IPC London: Front Section Editor.

  3. Recent publications

    Martin has contributed to a number of books, written academic journal articles and conference papers. Publications can include articles in academic journals; book chapters or full books; creative projects; conference participation and multimedia works.

    Forthcoming publications


    Popular Music Journalism, Oxford: Routledge. 2017.

    Prodigy – We Live for Beats (part 1), Southampton: State of Bass Publishing. 2017.


    James, M. (2015) 'Dave Grohl: Times Like His'. London: John Blake 2015.

    Anderton, C., Dubber. A. & James, M. (2013) 'Understanding the Music Industries', London: Sage.

    James, M. (2012) 'Dave Grohl. Nirvana & Foo Fighters', Rewolucja. Warsaw, Poland. 2012.

    James, M. (2011) 'Dave Grohl: Nirvana, Foo Fighters és egyéb kalandok'. Silenos Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary. 2011.

    James, M.  (2010) 'Dave Grohl: Foo Fighters, Nirvana ja muita harharetkiä', Minerva Publishing Co, Helsinki, Finland, 2010.

    James, M. (2004, 2007, 2012) 'Dave Grohl – Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Other Misadventures', London, IMP.

    James, M. (2003) 'French Connections: From Discotheque to Discovery', London, Sanctuary.

    James, M. (2002) 'Fatboy Slim – Funk Soul Brother', London, Sanctuary.

    James, M. (2001) 'Prodigy', London ,Sanctuary.

    James, M. (1999) 'Moby – Replay, His Life and Times', London, IMP.

    James, M. (1998) 'Prodigy – Adventures with the Voodoo Crew', London, Ebury Press.

    James, M. (1997) 'State of Bass - Jungle: The Story so Far' London, Boxtree/Macmillan.

    Book chapters

    ‘Archiving No Wave’, in Albies, S & Pattie,D. Oblique Music, London: Continuum Publishing 2016.

    Academic journal articles

    James, M. Jacke, C. & Montano,E. ‘Editorial Introduction’, in Journal of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music - Special Edition on Popular Music Journalism. 2015.

    James, M. ‘A silent voice across the MEdiaverse: The Next Day as identities presumed’, in Celebrity Studies special edition David Bowie: Who is he now?. 2013.

    Waltz, Mitzi and James, M (2009) 'The (re)marketing of disability in pop: Ian Curtis and Joy Division', Popular Music, 28: pp. 367-380.

    Major presentations and conference papers

    2014 – 'Louder the Words', Manchester. Panel: There was no golden age of music journalism.

    2014 – University of the Arts, London College of Communication, 'Authenticity! Punk, No Wave and Authenticity', Paper: Archiving No Wave: Authenticity as artifice.

    2014 – Queen Mary’s University, Belfast, 'A riot of Our Own – symposium of The Clash in Belfast'. Paper: The Clash is my life story: autobiography as ethnography.

    2014 - Red Gallery, London, 'Future Music Forum'. Panel chair: The V2.0 Music Critic.

    2014 – Southampton Solent University, 2014 Research and Enterprise Conference – Public engagement. Paper: Circling two worlds: practice into research and research into practice.

    2013 - Louder the Words, Manchester. Panel: Future of Music Journalism.

    2012 – Southampton Solent University 2012 Research and Enterprise Conference. Paper: ‘Solent Music Festivals – something to SMILE about’.

    2010 – University of Sunderland:Popular Music Studies On- Day Post Grad Conference Keynote Paper: ‘Everyone knows this is nowhere: Brit Pop, French Touch and post-genre’.

    2010 - Manchester Metropolitan Uni: Present Difference: the cultural production of disability. Paper: ‘Disability as a marker of authenticity in pop music marketing: Issues of disclosure, deployment and damage’, (with Dr Mitzi Waltz).

    2006 - Manchester Metropolitan Uni (MIPC), Manchester Music and Place Conference. Paper: ‘The Media’s Construction of Musicscapes’.

    2005 - University of Cardiff, 2005. 'Mapping the Magazine: 2' conference, Paper: ‘Pop (Journalism) Will Eat Itself: Mapping the Slow Death of the Music Press’.

    2005 - Institute Français, London, 'Popular Music in France' conference. ‘Pop Music in France’.

    In the City 1999, Liverpool ‘PR versus Press, A Marriage Made in Hell?’.

    In the City 1999, Liverpool ‘New Media – Is this the Beginning of the End for the Music Magazine?’.

    Radio 1 Sound City, 1998, Newcastle ‘Is the Medium Really the Message? Selling Old Sounds to the Clubbing Generation’.

    Radio 1 Sound City, 1998, Newcastle - Getting Ahead in the Music Media.

  4. Teaching experience

    Martin's teaching experience includes course leadership, teaching roles, unit leadership and more.

    Course leaderships:

    Sept 2008 – present: 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.

    Course design:

    2012 - (co-author) MA Music Festivals Industries, Southampton Solent University.
    2008 (reval. 2003) - BA (Hons) Popular Music Journalism. Southampton Solent University.

    Unit leaderships:

    2007 – present: Unit 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.

    Special projects:

    2016 – present: School of Communications and Marketing Research Lead.
    2009 – present: Senior Coordinator, Solent Music Festivals.
    2008 – present: Executive Producer, SMILEfest (Solent Music Industries Live Event), annual conference and music festival.
    Feb 2004–July 2007:  Chair: Journalism research support group.

    Committee memberships:

    2015 – present: Post-graduate research scrutiny panel (PGRSP).
    2015 – present: University Ethics Committee (UEC).
    2015 – present: Member of Standing Panel Committee.
    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.

    Course validations (internal):

    2008-present: BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism, BA (Hons) Television Production, BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism, BA (Hons) Magazine Journalism, BA (Hons) Screenwriting.

    Course validation board (external):

    2014 BA (Hons) Music Journalism, University of Chester.

    Course development advisor (external):

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

    External examiner:

    2013 – 2017 BIMM, Bristol.
    2006 – 2007 BA (Hons) Urban and Electronic Music, Southampton Solent University.

  5. Research interests

    Martin’s research focuses on cultural histories; identity and MEdiaverse; popular music journalism; the V2.0 music critic; and the music media industries.

    Martin’s research focuses on cultural histories; identity and MEdiaverse; popular music journalism; the V2.0 music critic; and the music media industries. 

    Research funding awards

    2003 - Internet engagement and safety research and copyrighting Department for Education and Skills - £30,000.

    2003 – Aim Higher research and copyrighting Department for Education and Skills - £7,500.

    2008 – research for Popular Music Journalism book project, Southampton Solent University R&E Funding - £2,500.

    2009 – SMILEfest enterprise project, Southampton Solent University R&E Funding - £5,000.

  6. Work in progress

    Martin is also currently writing the first UK published an academic book about music journalism for Routledge. 'Popular Music Journalism' is due for publication in 2016.