Listen to David Hesmondhalgh discuss the arguments at the core of 'Why Music Matters' with Laurie Taylor on BBC Radio 4's 'Thinking Allowed' here. In what ways might music enrich the lives of people and of societies? What prevents it from doing so? 'Why Music Matters' explores the role of music in our lives, and investigates the social and political significance of music in modern societies. First book of its kind to explore music through a variety of theories and approaches and unite these theories using one authoritative voice Combines a broad yet theoretically sophisticated approach to music and society with real clarity and accessibility A historically and sociologically informed understanding of music in relation to questions of social power and inequality By drawing on both popular and academic talk about a range of musical forms and practices, readers will engage with a wide musical terrain and a wealth of case studies 'Many of us who love popular music call ourselves 'poptimist' these days without bothering to establish a theoretical framework that would make that catchy term meaningful. In this slim, lucid, infinitely deep book, David Hesmondhalgh offers a way into that process. His conclusions about music's impact on our personal and social lives have already become essential to my own work, and any music scholar, critic, musician or fan will benefit from his calm, clear, uncompromising voice.' Ann Powers, Pop music critic, 'National Public Radio' 'This is also about why freedom, solidarity and love matter. Hesmondhalgh's wide-ranging and thought-provoking study sets the agenda for musicology's latest affective turn.' Martin Stokes, 'King's College London' In what ways does music enrich the lives of people and of societies? What prevents it from doing so? In this carefully researched and insightful study, Hesmondhalgh examines the role of music in our lives, and how people forge connections with others through music. However, it also argues that music cannot remain unaffected by the inequalities that stain modern life. Through this critical defense of music, a variety of theories and approaches are brought together. In doing so, Hesmondhalgh provides a distinctive and valuable perspective on the general subject of music that builds on previous research from a variety of fields but also goes beyond them in instructive new ways. The result is a landmark study of the social value of music and an indispensable contribution to a variety of intersecting fields, written with enormous clarity, by a leading music scholar.