Throughout history, boy bands have been a massively lucrative enterprise for the music industry, thanks to their main demographic of teen girls. Join us to really learn about the importance of boy bands to pop culture and their dark history.
Heartthrob boy bands + adoring fangirls = big money! And this is where things get shady. Behind every successful boy band is a man with industry know-how (and sometimes even nefarious intentions.)
We’re joined by Maria Sherman, author of Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands, to explore the dark history of boy bands and the men who pull the strings – from Maurice Starr’s shady contracts with New Kids on the Block and New Edition to Lou Pearlman using Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC as the front of a Ponzi scheme. We also discuss their impact on pop culture which led to the rise of One Direction (thanks to Simon Cowell) and BTS (a la Big Hit Entertainment.)
All of this to say, are boy bands inherently sexist? And at the end of the day, do we even care?
This is a music commentary podcast based on pre-existing knowledge and facts cited below. If you’d like to discuss anything we talked about today in greater detail with us, you can find us on Twitter @Name3Songs or @sara_feigin & @jenna_million.
Sources for The Importance of Boy Bands to Pop Culture and Their Dark History
Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands, By Maria Sherman (2020)
Is Harry Styles the Wettest Boy in Pop? (MTV News, Sasha Geffen, 2017)
Why Are Boy Bands Bigger Stars Than Girl Groups? (How Stuff Works by Dave Roos, 2019)
Serious Question: Where Are All the Girl Groups? (Fader, by Sasha Geffen, 2018)
Beefing Up the Beefcake: Male Objectification, Boy Bands, and the Socialized Female Gaze (Research Paper by Dorie Bailey, 2016)
The History and Meaning of Boy Bands (NPR segment with Melissa Block, 2014)
The Reason Why We Grown-Ass Women Still Crush on Boy-Banders (Women’s Health by Kaleshia Fetters, 2015)
Is Harry Styles the Wettest Boy in Pop? (MTV News by Sasha Geffen, 2017)