Innovation and conformity in music reproduction : A network analytics approach to contestants’ song covering in reality shows in Mainland China and the U.S.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-661
Journal / PublicationInternational Communication Gazette
Issue number7
Online published9 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


Contestants in music reality television shows usually cover songs by other singers; however, excessive song covering is seen as a sign of lacking innovation. Informed by frameworks of innovation, conformity, and cultural capital, this study examines the patterns of song covering practice with a network analytics approach by examining the networks formed by the contestants’ song co-covering practices—an edge is created between two contestants if they cover songs from the same original singer—and how contestants’ positions in those networks are related to their performance outcomes. Examining contestants’ co-covering networks on the U.S.’s and mainland China’s versions of The Voice (an international music reality television show), the social network analysis largely supported the conformity hypothesis: contestants were connected to a certain extent, meaning that most contestants covered songs from similar original singers. Contestants’ betweenness centrality was positively associated with performance outcomes. © The Author(s) 2021.

Research Area(s)

  • Bipartite network, conformity, cultural capital, innovation, music reality television show, social network analysis

Citation Format(s)