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Star Theory
By Wojciech Koszynski
Richard Dyer’s Theory
The famous theorist Richard Dyer established in his Star Theory that there is a difference
between a pop performer and pop star, which suggests a pop performer is only known for
their music, whereas a pop star is recognised for both their persona and their music but is not
restricted to it. Dyer This is also beneficial as it means it creates a bigger connection with the
fans rather than just their music, so it allows them to open up their persona more and become
bigger worldwide as some controversial or interesting things about the artist could be
remembered for longer than some of the songs. Dyer’s theory suggests that pop stars are
constructed by the record company to give them the persona we know them by, so they
perfectly appeal to a specific audience.
Dyer’s theory consists of 4 main sections that determine the difference between a pop
performer and a pop star, these are Stars as Construction, Industry and Audience, Ideology
and Culture and Character and Personality.
Katy Perry
Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, more commonly known as
Katy Perry was born on October 25, 1984. She is an
American singer, songwriter and actress, she first signed
with Red Hill Records and released her first album Katy
Hudson(2001), which was unsuccessful. She later signed
for Capitol Records in April 2007. She gained fame for
her song “I Kissed a Girl”, which caused controversy for
its homosexual themes. Her most successful most
successful albums are Teenage Dream(2010) and
Prism(2013), these are the albums where Katy Perry
found most fame and in those time periods became a
pop star.
Stars as construction
Dyer suggests that “A star is an image not a real person that is constructed (as any other aspect of
fiction is) out of a range of materials (eg advertising, magazines etc as well as films [music]).” This
shows that for anyone to become a star it takes more than being a good musician but a recognised
person outside of the music industry, thus is the reason why appearances in popular magazines
like Vogue or being a known figure in social media for attention can make an artist more into a star.
Stars are constructed by the record company, even if they are seen as “real people” they actually
have an artificial image made for them to appeal to audiences, Dyer suggests that this a one of the
best ways for firms to make money.
Stars as construction- Katy Perry
In terms of Katy Perry, she has been constructed by Capitol Records to make her look like the sweet
person we know her to be, however throughout the years she has been made out to look like that, by
being constructed by her Record label. This has been done by changing her music genre, giving her a new
name, so it's more recognisable, controversial songs such as “I kissed a Girl” to gain the media spotlight,
relationships with highly recognised stars such as Orlando Bloom and Russell Brand, who she married
during her one of her most successful periods in pop, changes in clothing styles so she look more colourful,
bubbly and fun and appearances on highly popular magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, GQ, VIce and
Elle, which labelled her as many different things that will appeal to audiences.
Katy Perry
Before
After
Industry and Audience
The main purpose for a firm to manufacture these stars is the fact that they can produce tons of
money from the audiences, through various different ways as they respond to the persona of the
star by buying records, merchandise and many other things. Record labels specifically nurture and
shape stars to appeal what they think audiences want, thus is the reason why many boy bands are
similar, these things can be seen through how talent shows such as “The X-factor” shape their
candidates. Dyer suggests that “Stars are commodities” which means they are valuable assets,
which the music industry tries create as many different variations of “commodities” to appeal to
different types of people, one way is to create someone with different music which is fresh, so it
appeals to younger audiences, or by creating a long lasting band, which fans will remember for
decades such as the Rolling Stones, however they clash as they will oppose each other as young
people will be split between old and fresh artists.
Industry and Audience- Katy Perry
Katy Perry has changed a lot from when she started her career in 2001, then she had a tomboy look,
she had nothing special about herself that made her stand out, whereas now she has completely
changed her fashion, style and appearance, making her more recognisable and her unique style of
wearing strange outfits, such as a cupcake bra has made her appear on many different interviews,
magazines and she became approved by audiences by being different. Also, she had a phase of
wearing more unique styles such as colourful wigs, which was used as a USP for fans to instantly
recognise her, which was also used by Nicki Minaj, so fans could recognise her. This crazy fashion is
a way to make fans adore her like Nicki Minaj, as they both gain confidence and attention by being
unique and crazy. Therefore, quite clearly the record companies have shaped these artists to be
these colorful, bright and fun people, so they appeal to audiences, which obviously creates massive
revenue as the popularity status of these artists increases, which is suggested by the fact that she
sold 1.1 million albums and sold 4.4 million copies from just “California Gurls”
Ideology and Culture
Dyer believes that the stars are able to transmit their cultural values and attitudes, as well as certain
ideologies, therefore audiences interested or followers in those values will help enhance the “star quality”,
this is because it creates a greater star persona by sharing beliefs and opinions outside of the music
industry. For example, a certain star may create a fashion trend, this will tend to create several fans to
follow suite by copying their clothing and hair style, this has been clearly shown in the rise to stardom of
Justin Bieber as when first introduced many male followers wanted to have his hair style. In the present day
spreading ideologies is very easy as social media is an absolute powerhouse for people to view certain
things and for stars to establish their own values outside of music.
Ideology and Culture- Katy Perry
Katy Perry promotes several ideologies across all social networks but she also most notably personally helps out with
several charities, which she encourages her fans to support and join in to help. One of her most notable work with charity is
with Unicef, where she works as an ambassador, helping out children in need from poor countries, she gets her fans to get
involved by encouraging them on social media and producing speeches advising her fans to go abroad and help out Unicef
to protect and promote right of all children to build school, train teachers and provide them with everyday needed school
equipment so the children can get a proper education. She also encourages her fans to take pictures of their work with
charities to help interact with her fans as they have something in common. In addition to charities, she has several different
ways of donating, one of most notable ways was giving a portion of the money made from her ticket sales to certain charities
such as the Snowflake gala, Little Kids rock, Keep a Breast Foundation and many more, all supporting good causes. In
overall, all these attempts for support have been successful due to the fact that her fan base is gigantic, especially
considering she one of the most liked and followed person on both Facebook and Twitter.
Moreover, quite recently Katy Perry has been involved in politics in the recent election for US president, where she publicly
endorsed Hillary Clinton to become president by performing at one of her campaign events, also she posted a controversial
video where she appeared naked with her junk censored, where she was promoting people to vote in the election,
suggesting that it doesn’t matter who you are you should still vote. Additionally, she has encouraged feminism and LGBT
rights, which just adds to her persona, which makes her viewed as a heartwarming person as she cares for a lot of different
people, which she does best to support, making her likeable to all and a good role model to the youth.
Character and Personality
According to Dyer, every star begins as a real person, possessing their own aspects, such as personality and character. The
record company’s transition from a pop performer to a pop star makes them a construct, they aim to make the construction
as realistic as possible, however not too fictional as they have to comply to audiences as being themselves, the star is
usually aimed to be part of a particular generation and much of their time and culture to comply to what the audience wishes
to see from them. Stars give the audiences ideas of “what people are supposed to be like”, therefore they tend to support
being that one person, for example, women being thin/beautiful, however some tend to oppose that to show their caring side
to their persona. Due to the fact that stars are highly looked up to fans tend to follow or copy their character and personality,
therefore it is important for the star to be a good role model.
Dyer argues that a pop star’s personality and character is revealed through their performances, music and fashion. The first
album usually shows the star’s real personality, containing deep meanings that indicate their moods, attitudes and hobbies.
Therefore, as stars are constructed, in the transition they might suffer the second album syndrome, where the persona is lost
as the artist is unable to reach the roots of their original personality they gained fame for, thus is the reason why the persona
has to be nurtured carefully to keep consistency
Character and Personality- Katy Perry
Katy Perry’s overall persona has completely changed from when she first started her career, which was clearly for
the greater good. She started in her teens with gospel music, her first album being Katy Hudson(2001) with “faith
wont fall” and “Jesus is saviour” which made her seem sweet, innocent and more adapted to where she came from,
however she was not very successful but she could develop on from this. Alternatively, when she moved to Los
Angeles her genre changed from gospel to pop/rock, which are popular genres that are more likely to succeed. She
managed to sign on with Capitol Records, where she released the controversial “I Kissed a Girl” which gained her
fame and media attention as LGBT rights and acceptance was different in those days, however most importantly it
helped her gain an audience of both males and females as her character kept developing and she kept gaining a
greater audience by appealing to wide range of audiences. She moved on from there to become a more fun,
attractive and crazy person, where she started making more explicit and revealing songs such as “California Gurls”
and “Roar”. As she got more popular she started dating more high profile people such as Travis McCoy, John Mayor
and Russell Brand. Her bubbly, glamorous, likeable and fun appearance and personality made her easily likeable to
all types of audiences, thus is the reason why she has such a large fan base.

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Star theory (1)

  • 2. Richard Dyer’s Theory The famous theorist Richard Dyer established in his Star Theory that there is a difference between a pop performer and pop star, which suggests a pop performer is only known for their music, whereas a pop star is recognised for both their persona and their music but is not restricted to it. Dyer This is also beneficial as it means it creates a bigger connection with the fans rather than just their music, so it allows them to open up their persona more and become bigger worldwide as some controversial or interesting things about the artist could be remembered for longer than some of the songs. Dyer’s theory suggests that pop stars are constructed by the record company to give them the persona we know them by, so they perfectly appeal to a specific audience. Dyer’s theory consists of 4 main sections that determine the difference between a pop performer and a pop star, these are Stars as Construction, Industry and Audience, Ideology and Culture and Character and Personality.
  • 3. Katy Perry Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, more commonly known as Katy Perry was born on October 25, 1984. She is an American singer, songwriter and actress, she first signed with Red Hill Records and released her first album Katy Hudson(2001), which was unsuccessful. She later signed for Capitol Records in April 2007. She gained fame for her song “I Kissed a Girl”, which caused controversy for its homosexual themes. Her most successful most successful albums are Teenage Dream(2010) and Prism(2013), these are the albums where Katy Perry found most fame and in those time periods became a pop star.
  • 4. Stars as construction Dyer suggests that “A star is an image not a real person that is constructed (as any other aspect of fiction is) out of a range of materials (eg advertising, magazines etc as well as films [music]).” This shows that for anyone to become a star it takes more than being a good musician but a recognised person outside of the music industry, thus is the reason why appearances in popular magazines like Vogue or being a known figure in social media for attention can make an artist more into a star. Stars are constructed by the record company, even if they are seen as “real people” they actually have an artificial image made for them to appeal to audiences, Dyer suggests that this a one of the best ways for firms to make money.
  • 5. Stars as construction- Katy Perry In terms of Katy Perry, she has been constructed by Capitol Records to make her look like the sweet person we know her to be, however throughout the years she has been made out to look like that, by being constructed by her Record label. This has been done by changing her music genre, giving her a new name, so it's more recognisable, controversial songs such as “I kissed a Girl” to gain the media spotlight, relationships with highly recognised stars such as Orlando Bloom and Russell Brand, who she married during her one of her most successful periods in pop, changes in clothing styles so she look more colourful, bubbly and fun and appearances on highly popular magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, GQ, VIce and Elle, which labelled her as many different things that will appeal to audiences.
  • 7. Industry and Audience The main purpose for a firm to manufacture these stars is the fact that they can produce tons of money from the audiences, through various different ways as they respond to the persona of the star by buying records, merchandise and many other things. Record labels specifically nurture and shape stars to appeal what they think audiences want, thus is the reason why many boy bands are similar, these things can be seen through how talent shows such as “The X-factor” shape their candidates. Dyer suggests that “Stars are commodities” which means they are valuable assets, which the music industry tries create as many different variations of “commodities” to appeal to different types of people, one way is to create someone with different music which is fresh, so it appeals to younger audiences, or by creating a long lasting band, which fans will remember for decades such as the Rolling Stones, however they clash as they will oppose each other as young people will be split between old and fresh artists.
  • 8. Industry and Audience- Katy Perry Katy Perry has changed a lot from when she started her career in 2001, then she had a tomboy look, she had nothing special about herself that made her stand out, whereas now she has completely changed her fashion, style and appearance, making her more recognisable and her unique style of wearing strange outfits, such as a cupcake bra has made her appear on many different interviews, magazines and she became approved by audiences by being different. Also, she had a phase of wearing more unique styles such as colourful wigs, which was used as a USP for fans to instantly recognise her, which was also used by Nicki Minaj, so fans could recognise her. This crazy fashion is a way to make fans adore her like Nicki Minaj, as they both gain confidence and attention by being unique and crazy. Therefore, quite clearly the record companies have shaped these artists to be these colorful, bright and fun people, so they appeal to audiences, which obviously creates massive revenue as the popularity status of these artists increases, which is suggested by the fact that she sold 1.1 million albums and sold 4.4 million copies from just “California Gurls”
  • 9. Ideology and Culture Dyer believes that the stars are able to transmit their cultural values and attitudes, as well as certain ideologies, therefore audiences interested or followers in those values will help enhance the “star quality”, this is because it creates a greater star persona by sharing beliefs and opinions outside of the music industry. For example, a certain star may create a fashion trend, this will tend to create several fans to follow suite by copying their clothing and hair style, this has been clearly shown in the rise to stardom of Justin Bieber as when first introduced many male followers wanted to have his hair style. In the present day spreading ideologies is very easy as social media is an absolute powerhouse for people to view certain things and for stars to establish their own values outside of music.
  • 10. Ideology and Culture- Katy Perry Katy Perry promotes several ideologies across all social networks but she also most notably personally helps out with several charities, which she encourages her fans to support and join in to help. One of her most notable work with charity is with Unicef, where she works as an ambassador, helping out children in need from poor countries, she gets her fans to get involved by encouraging them on social media and producing speeches advising her fans to go abroad and help out Unicef to protect and promote right of all children to build school, train teachers and provide them with everyday needed school equipment so the children can get a proper education. She also encourages her fans to take pictures of their work with charities to help interact with her fans as they have something in common. In addition to charities, she has several different ways of donating, one of most notable ways was giving a portion of the money made from her ticket sales to certain charities such as the Snowflake gala, Little Kids rock, Keep a Breast Foundation and many more, all supporting good causes. In overall, all these attempts for support have been successful due to the fact that her fan base is gigantic, especially considering she one of the most liked and followed person on both Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, quite recently Katy Perry has been involved in politics in the recent election for US president, where she publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton to become president by performing at one of her campaign events, also she posted a controversial video where she appeared naked with her junk censored, where she was promoting people to vote in the election, suggesting that it doesn’t matter who you are you should still vote. Additionally, she has encouraged feminism and LGBT rights, which just adds to her persona, which makes her viewed as a heartwarming person as she cares for a lot of different people, which she does best to support, making her likeable to all and a good role model to the youth.
  • 11. Character and Personality According to Dyer, every star begins as a real person, possessing their own aspects, such as personality and character. The record company’s transition from a pop performer to a pop star makes them a construct, they aim to make the construction as realistic as possible, however not too fictional as they have to comply to audiences as being themselves, the star is usually aimed to be part of a particular generation and much of their time and culture to comply to what the audience wishes to see from them. Stars give the audiences ideas of “what people are supposed to be like”, therefore they tend to support being that one person, for example, women being thin/beautiful, however some tend to oppose that to show their caring side to their persona. Due to the fact that stars are highly looked up to fans tend to follow or copy their character and personality, therefore it is important for the star to be a good role model. Dyer argues that a pop star’s personality and character is revealed through their performances, music and fashion. The first album usually shows the star’s real personality, containing deep meanings that indicate their moods, attitudes and hobbies. Therefore, as stars are constructed, in the transition they might suffer the second album syndrome, where the persona is lost as the artist is unable to reach the roots of their original personality they gained fame for, thus is the reason why the persona has to be nurtured carefully to keep consistency
  • 12. Character and Personality- Katy Perry Katy Perry’s overall persona has completely changed from when she first started her career, which was clearly for the greater good. She started in her teens with gospel music, her first album being Katy Hudson(2001) with “faith wont fall” and “Jesus is saviour” which made her seem sweet, innocent and more adapted to where she came from, however she was not very successful but she could develop on from this. Alternatively, when she moved to Los Angeles her genre changed from gospel to pop/rock, which are popular genres that are more likely to succeed. She managed to sign on with Capitol Records, where she released the controversial “I Kissed a Girl” which gained her fame and media attention as LGBT rights and acceptance was different in those days, however most importantly it helped her gain an audience of both males and females as her character kept developing and she kept gaining a greater audience by appealing to wide range of audiences. She moved on from there to become a more fun, attractive and crazy person, where she started making more explicit and revealing songs such as “California Gurls” and “Roar”. As she got more popular she started dating more high profile people such as Travis McCoy, John Mayor and Russell Brand. Her bubbly, glamorous, likeable and fun appearance and personality made her easily likeable to all types of audiences, thus is the reason why she has such a large fan base.