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Star Theory
By Wojciech Koszynski
Richard Dyer’s Theory
The 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. 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 and become bigger
worldwide as some controversial or interesting things about the artist could be
remembered for longer than some of their 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
Katy Perry has been constructed by Capitol Records to make her look like the sweet person, however
throughout the years she has been created 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. Also
controversial songs such as “I kissed a Girl” to gain the media spotlight and relationships with highly
recognised stars such as Orlando Bloom and Russell Brand have made her more popular in the media.
Also, her changes in clothing styles so she looks 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 vast sums of
money from the audiences, through merchandise and memorabilia. Record labels specifically nurture
and shape stars to appeal to what they think audiences want, this 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
contestants.
Dyer suggests that “Stars are commodities” which means they are valuable assets, which the music
industry tries to exploit. They try to create different variations of “commodities” to appeal to different
types of people. Record companies expect star bands to have a shelf life and are willing to drop an act
once they have become unprofitable.
Industry and Audience- Katy Perry
Katy Perry has changed a lot from when she started her career in
2001, since then she has gone from tomboy to a glamorous star with
a strong and unique appearance. Previously she had nothing special
about herself that made her stand out apart from her voice, whereas
now she has become more unique to other pop artists by expressing
different fashion styles. For example, she wore a cupcake bra in an
interview and magazines showcased this unique look. Also, she had
a phase of wearing more varied styles such as colourful wigs, which
was used to help fans emulate her style quite easily as they are easy
to acquire.
Therefore, quite clearly the record companies have shaped her to be
this colorful, bright and fun person, so she appeals to audiences,
which is made clear 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 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.
Ideology and Culture- Katy Perry
Katy Perry has spread an ideology of what every middle class mother would want their
daughter to be, which is someone who spreads good American values. Also, being
someone that is caring and supportive, whilst being attractive and not off the rails.
She has spread these values through social networks, most notably she 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 encourages her fans on social media to join
and produces speeches advising her fans to go abroad and work with charities to provide
children with the necessities they lack. She also encourages her fans to take pictures of
their work with charities, this helps her interact with her fans as they have something in
common. In overall, all these attempts for support have been successful as she is one of the
most liked and followed person on both Facebook and Twitter, which shows she is a well-
respected person. Also her work makes her viewed as a heartwarming person as she cares
for a lot of different people, which ultimately makes her 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. 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. Stars
are highly looked up to by fans, so they tend to follow or copy their character and personality, therefore it is
important the star is 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 persona has 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 but she wasn’t successful.
She changed her genre to pop, this helped her sign on with Capitol Records, where
she released the controversial “I Kissed a Girl” which gained her fame and media
attention as LGBT rights were different in those days. However, most importantly it
helped her gain a greater audience by appealing to a wide range of people. She
moved on from there to become a more open, fun and attractive 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, which
opened her to a wider audience. All these factors put together made her easily
likeable to all types of audiences.
Before
After

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Star theory (2)

  • 2. Richard Dyer’s Theory The 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. 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 and become bigger worldwide as some controversial or interesting things about the artist could be remembered for longer than some of their 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 Katy Perry has been constructed by Capitol Records to make her look like the sweet person, however throughout the years she has been created 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. Also controversial songs such as “I kissed a Girl” to gain the media spotlight and relationships with highly recognised stars such as Orlando Bloom and Russell Brand have made her more popular in the media. Also, her changes in clothing styles so she looks 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 vast sums of money from the audiences, through merchandise and memorabilia. Record labels specifically nurture and shape stars to appeal to what they think audiences want, this 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 contestants. Dyer suggests that “Stars are commodities” which means they are valuable assets, which the music industry tries to exploit. They try to create different variations of “commodities” to appeal to different types of people. Record companies expect star bands to have a shelf life and are willing to drop an act once they have become unprofitable.
  • 8. Industry and Audience- Katy Perry Katy Perry has changed a lot from when she started her career in 2001, since then she has gone from tomboy to a glamorous star with a strong and unique appearance. Previously she had nothing special about herself that made her stand out apart from her voice, whereas now she has become more unique to other pop artists by expressing different fashion styles. For example, she wore a cupcake bra in an interview and magazines showcased this unique look. Also, she had a phase of wearing more varied styles such as colourful wigs, which was used to help fans emulate her style quite easily as they are easy to acquire. Therefore, quite clearly the record companies have shaped her to be this colorful, bright and fun person, so she appeals to audiences, which is made clear 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 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.
  • 10. Ideology and Culture- Katy Perry Katy Perry has spread an ideology of what every middle class mother would want their daughter to be, which is someone who spreads good American values. Also, being someone that is caring and supportive, whilst being attractive and not off the rails. She has spread these values through social networks, most notably she 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 encourages her fans on social media to join and produces speeches advising her fans to go abroad and work with charities to provide children with the necessities they lack. She also encourages her fans to take pictures of their work with charities, this helps her interact with her fans as they have something in common. In overall, all these attempts for support have been successful as she is one of the most liked and followed person on both Facebook and Twitter, which shows she is a well- respected person. Also her work makes her viewed as a heartwarming person as she cares for a lot of different people, which ultimately makes her 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. 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. Stars are highly looked up to by fans, so they tend to follow or copy their character and personality, therefore it is important the star is 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 persona has 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 but she wasn’t successful. She changed her genre to pop, this helped her sign on with Capitol Records, where she released the controversial “I Kissed a Girl” which gained her fame and media attention as LGBT rights were different in those days. However, most importantly it helped her gain a greater audience by appealing to a wide range of people. She moved on from there to become a more open, fun and attractive 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, which opened her to a wider audience. All these factors put together made her easily likeable to all types of audiences. Before After