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 fan girl herself, Jen's enthusiasm is contagious, her experiences as practitioner, scholar and provocateur allowing for nonpareil exploration across a range of societal issues and behaviors. Jen recently signed to Faber & Faber (UK) and Da Capo Press (USA) to write You are Beautiful and You are Alone: The Complete Biography of Nico. Her most recent project, the #1 best seller 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.
It was such a joy to be featured in Jen’s book Why Vinyl Matters- not only because I’m rubbing shoulders with the likes of Henry Rollins, Lars Ulrich and Tim Burgess- but mainly because I got to meet Jen, herself. From one vinyl obsessive to another, I can say that she is a truly passionate music fan and one of the funniest raconteurs with whom I have had the chance to work.
- Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, Classic Album Sundays
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.
You really gave us one of the most fun and insightful interviews we’ve had. Such a pleasure! - Emily, Superorganism
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.
'Jen is a master in her field. She makes you comfortable and open in any environment. She can provoke thought and discussion in an interview and doesn't rely on the same old points a lot of bands get bored of answering. She even got our bass player to talk at length- and that is no easy task, let me tell you!'
- Luke Griffiths, lead singer and lyricist, False Heads
In 2019, Jen's hometown of Santa Cruz declared September 28th 'Jennifer Otter Bickerdike Day' in the beach town.
Jennifer is available to write features and contribute to TV or radio productions on many aspects of music and fan history.
'Jennifer is one of the most hard-working, witty and tenacious people I've ever had the pleasure to work alongside. Her natural talent for writing, endless energy and determination is nothing but captivating.
Really excited to read her new book!'
- Joanne Whitty, Director, Liverpool Sound City