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March 21, 2019

MoPOP's 2019 Pop Conference Announced "Only You and Your Ghost Will Know: Music, Death, and Afterlife"

Bringing together academics, journalists, musicians, and fans for a collection of conversations around this industry phenomenon, April 11-14

Seattle, WASH. (March 21, 2019)- The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) today announced its 17th annual Pop Conference to be held April 11 - 14, 2019 with more than 160 presenters in attendance -- the largest convergence of its kind -- bringing musicians, fans, academics, and critics into a collective conversation around the central theme of music, death, and the afterlife.

Pop Con kicks off with a dynamic keynote panel "Going Up Yonder: How Music Makers and Writers Confront Loss and Grief." Moderator Ann Powers (writer, author, NPR music) is joined by panelists Ishmael Butler (musician Shabazz Palaces), Daphne A. Brooks (writer, scholar Yale University), David Toop (musician, writer, scholar, London College of Communication), and Efrim Manuel Menuck (musician, Godspeed You! Black Emperor). The Keynote is April 11, doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7:30 p.m. A conference pass is required to attend the event. Passes are available for purchase at

Across genre and language, music continually contends with questions of life, death, and potential resurrection as a central subject matter and metaphor for conversations ranging from the economics of streaming to the health of genres like country and hip-hop.

"Throughout the history of popular music, songs, recordings and musical traditions have expressed both mourning and celebration, and - in some cases - helped envision the possibilities of a continued existence where 'death is not the end,'" said MoPOP Manager of Public Engagement Robert Rutherford. "Beyond the music itself, a wave of recent prominent musician deaths, from David Bowie to Aretha Franklin, has amplified conversations over music's relationship to mortality and the nature of fan mourning in the digital age."

This year's diverse presenters will explore music, death, and the afterlife through diverse topics like memorials, hauntings, inheritance, and figurative rebirths. Full conference details are available at

In addition to the conference schedule, Slate's Hit Parade Podcast is live in Seattle! Join Chris Molanphy (pop-chart analyst, critic and writer of Slate's "Why is This Song No. 1" series) for a live episode at MoPOP during Pop Conference. Molanphy will tell stories from the great beyond: posthumous hits from music legends from Buddy to Biggie, Janis to Freddie, and Otis to Kurt . Enjoy a night of pop trivia and great music - featuring special guests, including luminaries from the worlds of music and criticism attending the 2019 edition of MoPOP's annual Pop Conference.

The Hit Parade Podcast live episode is Saturday, April 13, at 8:00 p.m. (doors 7:00 p.m.) in MoPOP's Sky Church, and is open to the public. Tickets are separate from the conference pass and cost $30.00 ($24 for MoPOP members & Slate members). A ticket is required and the event is open to the public.

$50 - Four-day pass includes access to all Pop Conference events (plus GA admission to MoPOP galleries) including the keynote panel and welcome reception. MoPOP members and students can get a Pop Con pass for $40. Seating is not guaranteed and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. To purchase tickets visit

Facebook - /MoPOPSeattle
LinkedIn- @MoPOP
YouTube - /MuseumOfPopCulture
Instagram - @MoPOPSeattle 

The annual MoPOP Pop Conference, first held in 2002, mixes together ambitious music discourse of every kind in an attempt to bring academics, critics, musicians, and dedicated fans into a collective conversation. As the longest running conference of its kind, Pop Conferences is known as one of the foremost venues for discussion of music in the world. The conference has resulted in multiple publications, including three collections of essays: This Is Pop: In Search of the Elusive at Experience Music Project, Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music, and Pop When the World Falls Apart: Music in the Shadow of Doubt.

2019 Program Committee Members: writer David Cantwell, Michelle Habell-Pallán (University of Washington), Charles Hughes (Rhodes College), Jason King (New York University), Amalia Mallard (independent scholar/The Laughing Archive), Greil Marcus (University of California-Berkeley), Dwandalyn Reece (National Museum of African American History and Culture), Robert Rutherford (Museum of Pop Culture), Alfred Soto (Florida International University/, Karen Tongson (University of Southern California), and writer Annie Zaleski.

MoPOP is a leading-edge nonprofit museum in Seattle with a mission to make creative expression a life-changing force by offering experiences that inspire and connect our communities. For more information, visit 


Michelle S. Leyva, Michelle Sanders Communications
(206) 595-1151