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Working paper

Plastic Beach Utopia: GORILLAZ’ Multimedia Concept Project in the Context of Contemporary Popular Music Culture

The paper aims to provide analysis of the most general problems of the music industry in the digital age. It poses a question about the possibility of innovation and conceptual development in contemporary popular music, overflowed with retromania. A growing popularity of such form as a “concept album” and its transformation into concept multimedia projects is regarded as a positive sign of the changes in music production and distribution. Detailed cultural analysis of one particular case, the multimedia concept project by the British band Gorillaz, demonstrates how a substantial cultural and musical innovation can exist today in the framework of popular entertainment. The last studio album by Gorillaz, called Plastic Beach (2010) works with the concept of Utopia and utopian imagery, presenting music as a space for free and meaningful collaboration among musicians and for the creation of the diverse community of listeners.