The Institute of Popular Music (IPM) provides a hub for interdisciplinary research on popular music, broadly defined. 

Our research examines popular music from different perspectives and explores the many, varied contexts and processes involved in its production and consumption. It encompasses theoretical and practice-based approaches, including those informed by the disciplines of musicology and ethnomusicology, sociology and anthropology, history and politics, architecture, media and communication studies. Although they cannot account for all of the many diverse topics we cover, four broad themes provide a focus for shared interests and are listed under ‘Research’ along with examples of our research projects. 

Founded in 1988 as the world’s first specialist centre for the study of popular music, the IPM is currently homed in the Department of Music, which sits within the School of Arts and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. We are extensively engaged in collaboration with local, national, and international groups and organisations, and benefit from strong institutional partnerships. 

Photography by IPM and/or Flickr (creative commons)



Ageing, Communication, Technology

The IPM is a partner for Ageing, Communication, Technology (ACT), a major interdisciplinary and multi-methodological research project that brings together researchers and institutional and community partners to address the transformation of the experiences of ageing with the proliferation of new forms of mediated communications in networked societies.

National Museums Liverpool

The IPM was founded in 1988 through a partnership between the University of Liverpool and National Galleries and Museums Merseyside, which later became National Museums Liverpool. We have since collaborated with the museums on a range of projects.

The International Association for the Study of Popular Music

The IPM is the official office and archive of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), an organisation established to promote inquiry, scholarship and analysis in the area of popular music. Staff from the Institute played a key role in the founding of IASPM in 1981. The association has since grown into a network of over 1,000 members worldwide and affiliated IPM staff, students and former students continue to play a central role its development and serve on its Executive and branch committees.