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What’s in a thang? Dancing to brand image with Miley Cyrus’ multimodal dance spectacle

George Rossolatos (Department of English, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize how Miley Cyrus’ brand values are projected through the multimodal semiotic structure of the live performance of the song Do my thang (from the Bangerz album (2013)).


Sociosemiotic conceptual framework in conjunction with an interpretive videographic method of analysis, facilitated by the multimodal qualitative discourse analytic software ATLAS.ti.


Four major territories were identified as regards the spectacle’s latent axiology, namely, freeplay, polymorphous sexuality, neo-burlesque, and hyperdifferentiation.

Practical implications

Attending to structural couplings between signs and modes in the context of bespoke artists’ brand languages constitutes a priority for managing an artist as brand, and, concomitantly, for safeguarding relevance for a fandom. A multimodal reading grid is offered to this end.


From a branding point of view, this study constitutes the first one that theorizes the live show spectacle as the manifest discourse whereupon brand image and brand values are edified, with an emphasis on the dance mode, over and above the verbal/visual modes that dominate the advertising/branding literatures.



The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of Arts Marketing for their stimulating comments.


Rossolatos, G. (2017), "What’s in a thang? Dancing to brand image with Miley Cyrus’ multimodal dance spectacle", Arts and the Market, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 101-130.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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