‘I was made for loving you': 'kiss' as perpetual capitalist entertainment product

Kieran James, Bligh Grant

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Bryer (1994, 1995, 1999, 2006) writes that the goal of accounting under capitalism is to serve capital by the regular reporting of the rate of return on capital to equity holders. For Jinnai (2009), following Karl Marx, accounting is the ‘brain’ or the ‘self-consciousness’ of capital as a living organism. This paper is a collective effort on the part of the authors to remember ‘Kiss’, one of the greatest shock-rock bands of the mid- to late-1970s. The Corporate Kiss Machine turned over USD111 million in calendar year 1978 alone, equal to that of a Fortune 500 company, half of which was from merchandising. In accounting and financial terms the Kiss of the mid- to late-1970s was a huge success, achieving the goal of capitalist self-valorisation to an extent previously unimaginable. Kiss branched out beyond sales of musical product to sales of a vast array of merchandise and memorabilia which nearly certainly has not been surpassed by any band in terms of the quantity and the range of items sold. Kiss showed how far it was possible to extend and exploit the concept of a band for the purpose of capital accumulation. This paper also looks at the band’s use of ‘American Dream’ ideology to assist its success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-468
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Critical Accounting
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Marxism
  • Kiss
  • rock music
  • popular music
  • popular culture
  • capital accumulation
  • authenticity
  • capitalism
  • commodification


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