In this first book of a projected trilogy, the author argues that there are circular paradigm shifts in popular music that is embedded in the principles of commoditization and is directly interweaved within a societal, cultural, artistic, economic and political framework from 1800 to 1950. The understanding of what makes a particular song popular is broken down into the basic concepts of hearing music, song construction (song form) as an artistic expression and as a commercial product, and how it is delivered to the public for consumption. These criteria will then be applied in Book II to a substantive theory of the commoditization of the soul of Jimi Hendrix and his music, and in Book III to a analysis of the misunderstanding of Tupac Shakur and the “Thug Life” that never was. Each of these three books can be read independently of the others. But the trilogy will, when completed, be seen to form a coherent and unified whole.