Monday, 9 May 2011

Exhibition & 'Exchange'

Exhibition: For the Music case study this might refer to the latest release of a music track and the commercial promotion and marketing of the artist and the track, gigs, stadium concerts, festivals, interviews and appearances, paraphernalia, T-shirts, souvenir etc.

"Exchange": This refers to how consumers access the products i.e. marketing, digital distribution and piracy. Consumption patterns/issues enabled by web 2.0, interactivity, proliferation of fan websites,  YouTube parodies?

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Cult of the Amateur

The 1st speaker

Andrew Keen author of the book ‘The Cult of the Amateur’

Key points; he says the bloggers and podcasters are

·      Debasing and undermining our cultural heritage

·      He talks about the democratisation of media in terms of digital narcissism
·      As worthless and self-indulgent and to creating a form of cultural relativism  (cultural worth in the eye of the beholder)

·      He says that this is having a detrimental effect on the professional media industries such as journalism (newspaper sales, the music industry etc)

·      He talks about a flattened media a phrase coined by Thomas Friedman

Jimmy Wells (founder of the Wikipedia) calls for an ‘online code of conduct’

Other opposing points talk about a culture which is evolving? What do you think?

How much time do you spend on the internet?




Myspace???? Lol we’ve seen you!!!! could you be accused of cultural narcissism?

The term narcissism refers to the personality trait of egotism, which includes the set of character traits concerned with self-image ego. The terms narcissism, narcissistic, and narcissist are often used as pejoratives, denoting vanity, conceit, egotism or simple selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight of others.

The name "narcissism" is derived from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. As punishment, he was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus pined away and changed into the flower that bears his name, the narcissus.

Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities should be understood in terms of his or her own culture. This principle was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and later popularized by students. Boas first articulated the idea in 1887: "...civilization is not something absolute, but ... is relative, and ... our ideas and conceptions are true only so far as our civilization goes." but did not actually coin the term "cultural relativism." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term was first used by Alain Locke in 1924 to describe Robert Lowie's "extreme cultural relativism", found in the latter's 1917 book Culture and Ethnology The term became common among anthropologists after Boas' death in 1942, to express their synthesis of a number of ideas Boas had developed.


Music Industry: blog and links

The Music Case Study: background information

To succeed in this section of the key media concepts exam you need to develop a case study on a particular record label. This institution must be located in the contemporary music industry and it must produce and/or distribute music in the UK. The focus will be on how this institution relates to:

Production: recording music
Distribution: promoting music and getting it into shops, on the radio and downloaded for payment
Consumption: people buying CDs, downloading music, paying for live concert tickets and purchasing related products.

The Music Industry:
Stafford (2007) offers this helpful way of describing what is meant by “the music industry”:

The music industry can be defined as the organisation of the various activities associated with performing and recording music and distributing access to those performances around the world. Because the basis of music production is accessible to everyone with a modicum of talent, the industry is both more ‘open’ than filmmaking and less easily ‘controllable’ than traditional broadcast television. This has led to a longstanding institutional difference between small and ‘independent’ music organisations and a large corporate ‘mainstream’.

While the ‘big four’ are incredibly powerful, there is much more independent activity and success in the music industry than in other media sectors. So we have to think about the industry as being divided into two. One portion (the majors and the subsidiaries they own) is much bigger than the other (the huge number of much smaller independents, who between them make up roughly 20 per cent of the market). In addition, we now live in an online age so we must consider the importance of hardware producers and music distributors like Apple.

The Music Industry and Technology
Like most media sectors, the development of the music industry is inextricably linked to the development of technology, in this case portable hardware for recording, listening and more recently, downloading.
Let’s spend some time charting the various innovations that have shaped the industry. In 1980 compact disc technology emerged and in 1982 CD’S were usable on a PC for the first time. By 1988 sales of the CD had overtaken vinyl and in 1990 recordable CDs became available. In 1997 we saw the emergence of MP3 and in 1999 the infamous Napster service was launched by 18-year-old student, Shawn Fanning, providing the first peer-peer software. This really was a revolution and led to lega battles over copyright, which made public the tensions between the radical rebellious nature of the content of popular music and the corporate context in which it is sold. In particular, the metal band Metallica became highly visible as careful guardians of profits. In 2000, broadband was introduced in the UK and in 2001, Apple launched the iPod and iTunes. By 2003 CD sales had fallen by a third, and in 2005 the iPod shuffle made downloading much cheaper and more accessible.

The iPod now sells at a rate of 3.5 million a month. We cannot understand how Apple operates without looking first at convergence – between the music industry, computing, television and telecommunications. The analogue “switch off” in the UK will allow mobile phone companies to compete for bandwidth, with a view to enabling mass downloading onto mobile devices such as the iPhone, with iTunes acting as the software which allows the whole system to work.

Richard Branson’s recent decision to sell his chain of Virgin Megastores was heralded by media commentators as a nail in the coffin of mainstream music retail. Branson’s business strategy was informed by evidence that only specialist music retail can withstand the competition from iTunes, piracy and supermarket chains undercutting the traditional “record shop”. But there is disagreement over the validity of claims that the high street music store will soon be extinct:

According to ERA figures, in 2006 specialists accounted for the biggest slice of music market with 46.5% of CD album sales by value. Supermarkets had 25%, high street multiples such as Woolworths and WH Smith 12.2%, the internet 11%, mail order 2.5% and others 2.7%.

Vertical integration
Vertical integration has for some time been a developing feature of media ownership, but Sony and Apple have taken this to new levels. Consider Apple for a moment- it designs computer hardware, markets a range of accessories, monopolises the operating software that the user needs to use the computer (just as Microsoft does) and produces a range of software that  broadens the appeal of its system – iTunes, iMovie and Garageband to name but three. Another key element of Apple’s strategy is the resource they have invested in their retail outlets, employment at which is competitive.

This vertical integration strategy is significant for media students because it blurs traditional boundaries between production, distribution and consumption. ITunes is, of course, a legal downloading facility among a range of criminal alternatives. Stafford (2007) foregrounds the centrality of copyright to the development of the music industry. This, of course is much more complex than ever before because of web 2.0 technologies, which allow people to easily share music over the Internet, a practice referred to as “file sharing”.

File sharing and the industry response.

In an interview conducted for this book, Ben Andrews, independent music promoter from Birmingham, offered this extended description of the climate:

Independent music producers and distributors operating in the climate of downloading are now using Paypal buttons on websites to pay for homemade CDRs that are sent in the post, streaming their music from their MySpace or website. In addition, they are loading video files into YouTube, selling vinyl versions or vinyl-only releases at gigs and handmade sleeves of limited edition CDs and LPs. And organising festivals of like-minded musicians who then trade or swap or link up with galleries and visual artists for one-off performances.

As anyone with a decent internet connection can get their music heard and can hear similar music to their own through MySpace, this might seem to inevitably lead to a decline in sales. But there is now no need for a middle-man distributor. Obscure music that would not appear in the standard generic categories at HMV can get out there – examples are the successes of Finders Keepers and Ghost Box – these would fall into the cracks between “film soundtrack’, ‘children’s music’, library sound effects’, ‘electronic’, whatever. As regards small labels, growing success of the subscription website, which only sells small label music, is certainly an advantage. Because the label has no distribution costs, the artist gets a larger percentage of the money.

The technological transformation is clear – iTunes means you don’t need a hard copy of the music and that the consumer can order and reorder their collection in endless overlapping play lists. But the decline of the local record shop also kills off personal one-to-one recommendation as a key factor- it has been killed by file sharing, Amazon and supermarkets. Five years ago people would come in for the latest Radiohead or Coldplay CD and that would keep them afloat, especially as people purchased other stuff when visiting. Now people just buy it from Tesco or online. The other side of this is that music is everywhere now. Glastonbury on Channel 4, special music digital channels.

From a local promoter’s point of view, the music industry has become borderless. Anyone can distribute their music very easily to any one in the world. My space is a giant listening booth where the consumer can sample any type of popular music and explore other people’s friend’s music.

Music Radio

The impact of the ‘MP3 culture’ or the ‘iPod generation’ on music radio is complex – they offer extraordinary challenges, making DJ’s and a one-dimensional play list very old-fashioned yet music radio is currently more popular than ever. The most tangible outcome of music radio’s response to downloading has been to place more importance on the music itself and less on the presenters. This, as Miranda Sawyer (2007) points out in an interview for Observer Music Monthly, is an unexpected victory for the late John Peel. Some stations have dispensed with presenters entirely, while others have made the focus of conversation much more explicitly about the music and the credibility of the music played a key ingredient.   


conglomerate is a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses together into one corporate structure, usually involving a parent company and several (or many) subsidiaries. Often, a conglomerate is a multi-industry company. Conglomerates are often large and multinational.

Global Village

Global Village is a term closely associated with Marshall McLuhan,[1] popularized in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964). McLuhan described how the globe has been contracted into a village by electric technology[2] and the instantaneous movement of information from every quarter to every point at the same time.[3] In bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion, electric speed heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.[4]
Today, the term "Global Village" is mostly used as a metaphor to describe the Internet and World Wide Web.[citation needed] On the Internet, physical distance is even less of a hindrance to the real-time communicative activities of people, and therefore social spheresare greatly expanded by the openness of the web and the ease at which people can search for online communities and interact with others that share the same interests and concerns. Therefore, this technology fosters the idea of a conglomerate yet unified global community.[5]Due to the enhanced speed of communication online and the ability of people to read about, spread, and react to global news very rapidly, McLuhan says this forces us to become more involved with one another from countries around the world and be more aware of our global responsibilities.[6] Similarly, web-connected computers enable people to link their web sites together. This new reality has implications for forming new sociological structures within the context of culture.