Dr Jennifer Otter Bickerdike is a rock & roll cultural historian and author, working across music heritage, fandom, broadcast and academia.
Jennifer Otter Bickerdike is a familiar name in the world of pop culture. An academic, writer, presenter and historian, Jennifer has spent her life dedicated to the mistress that is rock n roll. With more than 30 years of experience in the culture industries, ranging from her time as a former music industry executive in the US to surviving three waves of dot com bubble bursting in the Silicon Valley, Jen brings a unique perspective to the discussion of contemporary music and media.
An avid admitted fangirl herself, Jen's enthusiasm is contagious, her experiences as a practitioner, scholar and provocateur allowing for nonpareil exploration across a range of societal issues and behaviours. Jen recently signed to Faber & Faber (UK) and Hachette (USA) to write You are Beautiful and You are Alone: The Complete Biography of Nico.
Her most recent project, the #1 bestseller Why Vinyl Matters, showcases Jen's lifelong obsession with the 12" x 12" format. A manifesto about the importance of vinyl as a cultural object, the book features interviews with a variety of fans, including Tim Burgess, Henry Rollins and Fatboy Slim.
A recovering Anglophile herself, Jen has authored several other books on the topics of music, fandom and celebrity cultism, 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); and the 2016 release Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture.
Jen is often asked to commentate, present and interview on the topics of music, heritage and pop culture, with some recent appearances including Cambridge University, Louder Than Words, Long Live Vinyl, TruTV, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC 4, Camp Bestival, Bestival at Goldsmiths University of London, Channel 4, Bass Guitar Magazine, Absolute Radio, The Guardian, Manchester Off The Record, Liverpool Sound City and Classic Album Sundays .
Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Jen spent time at a variety of record companies, including Sony Music, MCA Records and Universal Music and Video Distribution before becoming the West Coast Marketing Director for Interscope Geffen A&M Records at 25.
She 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 a wide array of creative industry and technology taste-makers, such as Facebook, Dawbell PR, Music for America, Adeline Records and L.A.M.B.
After friend Hunter McPherson was murdered in San Francisco, Jennifer decided to quit her job, sell everything she owned and roll the dice on fulfilling a life long 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 Its Over.
Jen is currently a Global Music Ambassador for BIMM Institute, hosting the podcast Inside the Music Industry, where she has gabbed with a range of artists and industry professionals, ranging from Shaun Ryder (Black Grape, Happy Mondays) to Joel Gion (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) to hip-hop legends Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5 and Jeru the Damaja. In 2013, she won the coveted Student-Led Teaching award for Most Innovative Lecturer and was short listed for the same accolade on a national level by the Times Higher Education.