Ms Annabelle Lee

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Personal profile

I have recently completed a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London (Department of Music), where I was funded by a Doctoral Studentship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. My doctoral thesis was about the role of social media marketing within the classical music industry. With the strong practical application of my PhD, I am currently working as the Marketing Coordinator at Lee Abbey London, where I am responsible for devising and developing its social media and marketing campaigns.  

Educational background

Royal Holloway, University of London: PhD in Music (2013–2017)

Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford: MSt in Music (Musicology) (2012–2013)

St John's College, University of Durham: BA (Hons) Music (2009–2012) (First Class Honours)

Berkhamsted School (2002–2009)

Research interests


With the re-emergence of social media in the 2000s and the increased worldwide usage of mobile devices, the impact of social media still cannot be ignored. From corporate businesses to popular culture, social media are now used in many sectors of society. Not least among these is the classical music industry. Artists and organisations have keenly capitalised on social media in the face of increasing budgetary reductions in the arts and long-held elitist perceptions of classical music. In addition, the classical music business has used social media to profit from economic growth, audiences and public profiles, and to market accessibility, relevance and value to a wider audience, notably, younger demographics and non-attenders. As a result, the classical music scene tries to engender technological determinism and digital optimism, ideologies reflecting discourses around Web 2.0/social media. Simultaneously, a so-called 'digital divide' is at risk. Various factors, for example, socioeconomic strata, greatly influence how classical music is marketed and branded on social media networks, however, they are barriers to access and enjoyment of the art, online and offline.

Drawing on these discursive frameworks, this thesis is a critical analysis of social media marketing within the classical music industry. The core of my dissertation is a case study approach: social media branding of opera singer Joyce DiDonato and concert pianist Stephen Hough, social media marketing of a concert hall, namely, Wigmore Hall, and classical music apps. Furthermore, the research questions and broader implications do not just deal with industry marketing approaches or the mechanics of classical music's e-strategy (electronic media strategy) but extend to key scholarly areas: media behavioural theory, sociology, political economics, creative geographies, socio-spatiality, sociotechnology and post-digitality. It is anticipated that my PhD research will be able to instigate public dialogue and debate within the classical music and wider cultural sectors.

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