The labelling process in popular music: Being-called “musiques émergentes” in Montréal

  • Martin Lussier University of Western Ontario
Keywords: Being-called, Label, Popular Music, Category, Genre


The words used to discuss genres matter. The multiplication of genres and subgenres is accompanied by a growing number of corresponding labels, which are consequently debated and disputed. Using the case of the label “musiques émergentes” (“emerging musics”), which has spread rapidly during the last decade in the cultural landscape of Montréal, Canada, this article examines one debate surrounding this label, focusing on discussions between artists and industry workers and their understanding of the usefulness of such a name/label in today’s popular music milieu. This discussion presents the labelling process as something that constitutes a group rather than capturing the likeness of its members. Drawing on the writings of Giorgio Agamben, the second part of this article examines labelling as a practice that exposes and renders possible the relation of something to something else – a cultural text to a genre – contributing to the production of “musiques émergentes” as a “being-called.”

Author Biography

Martin Lussier, University of Western Ontario
Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Information and Media Studies
How to Cite
Lussier, M. (2011). The labelling process in popular music: Being-called “musiques émergentes” in Montréal. MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research, 27(51), 17 p.