Dr Jennifer Otter-Bickerdike

Music Ambassador

Dr Jennifer Otter Bickerdike is a media and music academic, specialising in fan culture, the cult of dead celebrity, pop culture and music.

She has written and presented extensively on fandom and media, using her experience as a former American music industry and Silicon Valley executive to explore a range of societal issues and behaviours.

Jen is often asked to speak on TV, radio and at festivals, with recent appearances including  the BBC, Channel 4, TruTV, Bestival and Cambridge University. In 2018, Jen was signed to the aspirational Faber & Faber Publishers, who will put out her forthcoming book on Nico of the Velvet Underground. Jen also currently hosts and books guests for BIMM’s Inside the Music Industry, a bi-weekly podcast pulling back the curtain of the inner workers of the field.

A ‘recovering Anglophile’, Jen has released several books about fan culture, including 2014’s Fandom, Image and Authenticity: Joy Devotion and the Second Lives of Kurt Cobain and Ian Curtis (Palgrave MacMillan); 2015’s The Secular Religion of Fandom (Sage); 2016’s Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture and Why Vinyl Matters: A Manifesto from Musicians and Fans.

In 2013, she won the coveted Student-Led Teaching Award for Most Innovative Lecturer and was shortlisted for the same accolade on a national level by the Times Higher Education.

Originally from California, Jen spent time at a variety of record companies, including Sony Music, MCA Records and Universal Music before becoming the West Coast Marketing Director for Interscope Geffen A&M Records at 25.

Jen toured with and devised marketing and branding campaigns for major international acts including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Dr. Dre, Gwen Stefani, U2 and Eminem, before leaving to start her own consulting company, working with an array of creative industry and technology tastemakers, such as Facebook, Dawbell PR, Music for America, Adeline Records and L.A.M.B.

After the murder of her friend Hunter McPherson in San Francisco, Jen decided to quit her job, sell everything she owned and roll the dice on fulfilling a lifelong dream of living in England. Her ‘story of transformation’ was picked from thousands and featured in New York Times best-selling author, Marlo Thomas’s book, ‘It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over’.

Jen‘s last book about the importance of vinyl records, Why Vinyl Matters, was a #1 best-seller.  A manifesto about the importance of vinyl as a cultural object, the book features interviews with a variety of vinyl fans, including Tim Burgess, Henry Rollins and Fatboy Slim.

© 2021 BIMM Institute
British and Irish Modern Music Institute