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Submission Guidelines

The Journal of Popular Music Studies welcomes work on any kind of music that has been called or considered “popular music” by anyone, anywhere, at any time. We only accept submissions in English (please use American spellings), and we can accommodate embedded audio and video. Authors are responsible for verifying that any media used in their pieces complies with fair use guidelines.

All submissions need to be formatted according to the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. We use the notes and bibliography system rather than author-date. Submissions that are not properly formatted will be returned to the author for correction before being considered for peer review.

Contributors may publish one peer-reviewed article, as solo author or as co-author, in JPMS per volume year. No author can have more than one submission at a time going through the peer review-to-final proofs process of vetting and production. These restrictions apply only to articles. Writers are welcome to simultaneously contribute to other sections of the journal: Amplifier, Field Notes, and book reviews.

Each Issues Contains Four Sections:

  • Amplifier: features editorially-reviewed pieces that are generally shorter than 5000 words and which respond to current issues or events in popular music. Amplifier has included reviews of concerts, recordings, or other media; and roundtables on a current topic or musical work. We also regularly feature artist interviews or artist writing in Amplifier and we welcome creative proposals that reimagine this section.
  • Field Notes: is the meta- section with pieces about popular music studies as a field of scholarship, teaching, and activism. Field Notes has included conference reports or round-tables, reflections on popular music pedagogy, reflections on scholarly methods, and so on. We welcome creative formats in this section, too.
    • From The Vault is a regular feature within Field Notes. Here, someone revisits a “classic” JPMS article from at least a decade ago. We reprint the original article, the revisitor’s reflections on the impact of that article( both historically and today), and often a response from the original author.
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles: We feature 4-6 traditional, peer-reviewed articles in each issue. These can range anywhere from 5000-10,000 words.
  • Book Reviews: This section is run by Books Review Editor David Suisman and Assistant Books Review Editor Alyx Vesey.

Instructions (and Hints) for Submitting to Each Section


Submissions for this section should begin as pitches to the co-editors Robin James ( and Eric Weisbard ( Pitches should be a paragraph or two in length, and they should tell us what you propose to do, how you propose to do it, and what contribution this makes to popular music studies. What are you saying and why does it matter for JPMS readers? Give us a sense of the size (i.e., length) of your project, and why you are the person who should author this piece.

Remember, Amplifier pieces should speak to the now…at least as much as the academic journal publishing cycle can accommodate that. This section uses editorial review rather than peer review to help speed the review process along and keep Amplifier fresh and current. Amplifier features can obviously focus on musics and musicians of the past, but the perspective needs to be contemporary. An exception to this is work featuring the voices of artists and industry figures, whether through interviews, oral history, or essays authored by musicians and others in the music world.

Field Notes

Submissions for this section should be pitched to the co-editors. Pitches should be a paragraph or two in length, and they should tell us what you propose to do, how you propose to do it, and what contribution this makes to popular music studies. What are you saying and what is its relevance for popular music studies as a field? Give us a sense of the size (i.e., length) of your project, and why you are the person who should author this piece. In many cases, you’ll want to include others in your project; it’s perfectly fine to check in with us first for feedback.

From the Vault pitches should also be sent to the co-editors Robin James ( and Eric Weisbard ( They should identify which article they are responding to (any JPMS article published more than a decade ago is eligible), and briefly explain why this article is worth thinking about today. What’s your angle on the article, and what does this angle contribute to popular music studies? Also include a few sentences about why you are qualified to speak about this particular article’s influence and impact.

Book Reviews

Inquiries and suggestions for reviews can be directed to David Suisman at If you are interested in reviewing for the journal, please include your fields of interest and a current CV.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

These should be submitted through our ScholarOne portal. All submissions should be prepared for anonymous review. If you are citing your own scholarship, please do so in the third person; this can be changed back to first person after the review process is complete. Detailed submission instructions are available here. You should also remove your name from the file metadata. (Instructions here)

Once received, the editors will determine if the submission is ready to be sent out for peer review. Submissions that are ready for peer review:

  1. Clearly engage the literature in popular music studies. Popular music studies is an academic field with its own literature. Peer reviewed articles in JPMS must engage the parts of this literature that are relevant to the submission’s topic and argument.
  2. Clearly identify the article’s argument and what it contributes to pop music studies. One of the main mistakes authors make in transforming a dissertation chapter into an article is to focus too much on the analysis of other people’s scholarship and not making their own argument more prominent and central to the article. An argument is also different from a topic: a topic is what an article is about, whereas an argument is what the author is saying about that topic.
  3. Have lively prose that is easy to engage with. This increases your impact and makes your article easier to use in the classroom. Please avoid the common social sciences format that breaks the article down into sections such as “methods,” “data,” “discussion,” and “conclusion.” That format impedes readability and makes the argument less central to the article. Please speak in the first person.
  4. Are appropriate for the Journal and its focus. We welcome creative and experimental approaches that fit within the mission of the Journal.

Outside Help

Articles that do not meet these standards will be returned to authors, often with instructions regarding what needs to be done to make the article ready for peer review. If you would like help with this, we suggest hiring a developmental editor at your own cost. Here are some editors with experience in popular music studies that offer both developmental and copyediting services:

For specific guidelines concerning Special Issues, click here.

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