Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Characteristics of a Music VIdeo

I've copied this across from another blog:

Listen to this article. Powered by

Characteristics of Music Video

Ultimately we will advocate using cultural models for the rhetorical analysis of music video. To fully understand how a cultural model facilitates rhetorical criticism of music video, it is first necessary to explore the unique features of the genre. Music, particularly rock, has always had a visual element. The album cover, the "look" a band strived for in performance, concert staging, and promotional publicity have all helped create a visual imagery for rock (Goodwin, 1992). The use of video to stimulate album sales and the birth of MTV as a continuous outlet for viewing simply served to enhance the visual potential present in rock.

Viewers typically do not regard the music video as a commercial for an album or act. Aufderheide (1986) describes the connection of viewer to video."With nary a reference to cash or commodities, music videos cross the consumer's gaze as a series of mood states. They trigger nostalgia, regret, anxiety, confusion, dread, envy, admiration, pity, titillation--attitudes at one remove from the primal expression such as passion, ecstasy, and rage. The moods often express a lack, an incompletion, an instability, a searching for location. In music videos, those feelings are carried on flights of whimsy, extended journeys into the arbitrary." (p. 63)

That music videos present compelling mood states that may claim the attention of the viewer is not a matter of happenstance.
Abt (1987) states that "directors of videos strive to make their products as exciting as the music. In the struggle to establish and maintain a following, artists utilize any number of techniques in order to appear exotic, powerful, tough, sexy, cool, unique" (p. 103). Further, Abt indicates a video must compete with other videos.

"They must gain and hold the viewer's attention amidst other videos; help establish, visualize, or maintain the artist's image; sell that image and the products associated with it; and perhaps, carry one or several direct or indirect messages . . ." (p. 97).

Music videos may be further characterized by three broad typologies: performance, narrative, and conceptual (Firth, 1988).
These types describe the form and content selected by the director or artist to attract viewers and to convey a direct or indirect message.

Performance videos, the most common type (Firth 1988) feature the star or group singing in concert to wildly enthusiastic fans. The goal is to convey a sense of the in-concert experience. Gow (1992) suggests "the predominance of performance as a formal system in the popular clips indicates that music video defines itself chiefly by communicating images of artists singing and playing songs" (pp. 48-49). Performance videos, especially those that display the star or group in the studio, remind the viewer that the soundtrack is still important. "Performance oriented visuals cue viewers that, indeed, the recording of the music is the most significant element" (Gow, 1992, p. 45).

A narrative video presents a sequence of events. A video may tell any kind of story in linear, cause-effect sequencing. Love stories, however, are the most common narrative mode in music video. The narrative pattern is one of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Action in the story is dominated by males who do things and females who passively react or wait for something to happen (Schwichtenberg, 1992).Conceptual videos rely on poetic form, primarily metaphor (Firth, 1988). The conceptual video can be metaphysical poetry articulated through visual and verbal elements. "These videos make significant use of the visual element, presenting to the eye as well as the ear, and in doing so, conveying truths inexpressible discursively" (Lorch, 1988, p. 143). Conceptual videos do not tell a story in linear fashion, but rather create a mood, a feeling to be evoked in the experience of viewing (Firth, 1988).

Conceptual videos contain the possibility for multiple meanings as the metaphor or metaphoric sequence is interpreted by the viewer.
"Thus the metaphorical relations between images structured according to musical and visual rhymes and rhythms play a suggestive role in soliciting multiple meanings from us, the viewers/listeners, that resonate with our experience--something we can feel and describe" (Schwichtenberg, 1992 p. 124).

A given music video may actually have elements of more than one category. Goodwin (1992), in describing Madonna's videos, suggests that the essential narrative component of a music video is found in its ability to frame the star, "star-in-text," as all Madonna's videos seem to do. A story exists solely for its ability to create, or in Madonna's case recreate, the star's persona. This blending of elements can also enable a type of music such as rap to have cross-over appeal to a wider audience.Although we may profitably interpret the message potential of music video using these three categories as a basis for content analysis, certain limitations exist if we remain on that path. "Analysts of music video narrative have been all too eager to freeze the moment and study videos shot by shot, but here the problem is that this generates not too much but too little knowledge, because the individual narrative is highly intertextual" (Goodwin, 1992 p. 90).

As a blend of video technique and imagery from film and television, music video offers us a new perceptual agenda by providing allusions to and incorporations of old iconic imagery from film, allowing us to reconstitute the pieces of the 20th century information explosion (Turner, 1986). The brevity of the music video has created a new grammar of video technique particular to this miniscule video form.

"Visual techniques commonly employed in music videos exaggerate . . . Interest and excitement is stimulated by rapid cutting, intercutting, dissolves, superimpositions, and other special effects, that taken together with different scenes and characters, make music videos visually and thematically dynamic." (Abt, 1987 pp. 97-98)

Born of an amalgam of commercialism, television, and film, for the purpose of selling rock albums, music videos frequently employ well-established verbal and visual symbols in telling a story or making a point. If no such symbols exist, music videos coin their own which, given the ubiquity of the medium, quickly find their way into the vernacular.How then to best understand the rhetorical properties that such a media form has for the audience? Schwichtenberg (1992) suggests that what critics should consider "is how music videos are woven into a complex cultural context that includes performers, industries, and diverse audiences who attribute a wide variety of meanings to the music and visuals" (p. 117).

These characteristics suggest that the most methodologically appropriate approach to understanding how music videos might function as rhetoric is to view them as cultural acts, intertextually located in the viewer's own experience. We define culture, with a little help from Bruce Gronbeck (1983), as a complex of collectively determined sets of rules, values, ideologies, and habits that constrain rhetors and their acts. This complex leads a society to generate meaning through various message forms to establish a series of societal truths. The extent to which any form of communication such as a music video plays a part in the process of truth-making is what the rhetorical critic attempts to discover through criticism.

Karyn Charles Rybacki and Donald Jay Rybacki Northern Michigan University

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Coens on using Final Cut for Oscar-nommed True Grit

Useful not only to put into context the work you undertake here (with A2 moving up to Final Cut from iMovie at AS), but also as a detailed example and analysis of how even at the very top level, digital technology of the sort you are using in Media Studies in a West Yorkshire school is being used by legendary, critically acclaimed auteurs at the top of the Hollywood ladder!
We had to get the movie done in a very short period of time.  Final Cut Pro, because of its efficiencies and speed, enabled us to meet that deadline. - Joel Coen
This comes from Apple's site, so of course is part-designed as a plug for their software and kit, but still very insightful:

Straightforward storytelling is the last thing anyone expected from the Coen brothers, more famous for tight filmic twists and dark comic turns. But in their new feature film, True Grit, based on the classic novel of the same name by Charles Portis, the Coens deliver precisely that. The movie’s narrative line is as unwavering as its precocious hero, 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), whose determined pursuit of her father’s killer in the post-Civil War Indian territories drives and directs the plot.
Making the film was anything but straightforward. The Coens, in their fashion, co-produced, co-wrote, and co-directed True Grit. They also co-edited the picture in Final Cut Pro, which ultimately gave them frame-by-frame control of its pace and direction. But before they got to the cutting room, the brothers chased the project far and wide with a trusted posse of veteran production talent.

Talk This Way

In writing the script, the Coens stayed very close to the novel. “It’s such a good story, a very simple and compelling story, about a young

Sunday, 20 March 2011

M.LANG filmicVid eg: Big Bad Moon

Posted a day late, but here's an archetypal 80s metal vid which links nicely into the moon story over the past few days (closer to Earth than for some years if you were unaware); note the filmic influences: Angel Heart, The Lost Boys and Trick or Treat

Saturday, 19 March 2011

DIGIPAKS: the small details

Most of the examples I've seen have failed to include the small print that features in most - track writer, copyright etc (often 'with thanks to' list). You really do need to be sat with actual examples to guide you - it would also be an idea to have a copy of one of the band's albums too!!!
I don't have a scan to hand, so here's an eg of the type (and scale) of small print material that might be included (its long, so click 'read more' to see it all).

re-release of "I Do Not Want.." special edition PDF Print
There will be a re-release of "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" including a few special tracks that are hard to find or unreleased.
Here are the details I got from EMI Music:

Music Industry conference Leeds March 30th

Again, thanks to Beth for passing on info on this: at you can find details of a day-long conf on the music industry. Student tickets £20
Too close to exams, and not enough time anyway to organise a trip, but some of you may wish to explore this independently


I've asked a forum for Media teachers for any info on competitions for student music vids, but Beth has already come up with one: see
You can find the application form here.
Interesting competition: a group enters an example of their work and the (multiple) winners get to workshop with a band to create a fresh vid, with guidance from pro's along the way. Here's a vid about the comp

Any more suggestions for comps, please pass on info as a comment below

Album as bonus with gig ticket

HUGH CORNWELL is putting together a special limited edition album of cover versions to be made available to VIP ticket holders on his forthcoming tour. The album, 'ou’re Covered!', will be limited to just 250 copies and features ten tracks, each one a song that Cornwell considers an influence. See GIGS for a list of forthcoming shows. See NEWS for the full album tracklisting.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Spike Jonze's short film for Arcade Fire vid

Watch: Trailer for Arcade Fire/Spike Jonze Film

A sneak peek at Scenes From the Suburbs

Watch: Trailer for Arcade Fire/Spike Jonze Film
Scenes From the Suburbs, filmmaker Spike Jonze's short film companion piece to his video for Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs", is set to screen later this week as part of SXSW's film festival. The Playlist points out that a trailer for the short film has hit the Internet; you can check it out below.

Posted by Larry Fitzmaurice on March 14, 2011 at 9:45 a.m.
Tags: , , ,

Music vid, web and film collide: David Lynch directs Duran Duran webcast


Obviously, this is a perfect illustration of the process of CONVERGENCE...

Monday, March 14

David Lynch to Direct Duran Duran Webcast

David Lynch to Direct Duran Duran Webcast
"American Express Unstaged" is a live music webcast series that teams up big-name bands with big-name movie directors. Last year, they got Terry Gilliam to direct a webcast of an Arcade Fire show, and Spike Lee to direct a live stream of a Roots/John Legend show. And now the series has its most out-there artist/director pairing yet: On March 23, Duran Duran will play at L.A.'s Mayan Theatre. And David Lynch will direct the webcast.
Duran Duran's new album All You Need Is Now drops March 22, via S-Curve. The next night, the band's live show at the Mayan starts at 10 eastern time, and you'll be able to watch it at Duran Duran's Vevo page.
In a press release, Lynch says, "I am very excited about this opportunity to experiment with the band, Duran Duran, at the Mayan Theater on March 23rd. The idea is to try and create on the fly, layers of images permeating Duran Duran on the stage. A world of experimentation and hopefully some happy accidents." If you see Simon Le Bon holding a frozen smile for just a few seconds too long, you should probably blame this guy.
Below, watch a suitably ominous trailer for the show, and check out Duran Duran's forthcoming tour dates.

Eg of re-[digi]packaging old albums + tour: SUEDE

90s Britpoppers Suede provide a useful eg of bands reissuing repackaged versions of their albums, with bonus DVDs; this is part of the article from; the full article gives complete CD/DVD listing. Suede are touring to support this release, playing a classic album each night, which links into your digipak ads in most cases...

Suede Reissue Details Revealed

Suede Reissue Details Revealed
As previously reported, reunited Britpop leading lights Suede will release expanded editions of their five studio albums in May and June, via Demon Records. Each of the records has been remastered and expanded to include B-sides, demos, and previously unreleased songs, as well booklets and bonus DVDs featuring recent interviews with the band members and more. The entire band, including once-estranged original guitarist Bernard Butler, worked on the reissue project.
The expanded edition of the band's 1993 self-titled debut is due May 30, with 1994's Dog Man Star following June 6, 1996's Coming Up out June 13, 1999's Head Music arriving June 20, and 2002's A New Morning due June 22. On Record Store Day, April 16, Suede will release a limited edition single featuring demo versions of their first single, 1992's "The Drowners" b/w "To the Birds". In addition, The Best of Suede, which came out last year in the UK, will be released digitally in the U.S. on March 22.
Over the next few months, the band will also play shows in Europe, North America, and Asia, including a set at Coachella and a couple of three-night stands where they'll play a classic album in full each night. Below, we've got the tracklists for each of the reissues, as well as the band's tour dates and their video for "The Drowners".

Radiohead changing music biz models

Radiohead have been pioneers in challenging and changing the traditional way the industry works, which has long been seen as heavily weighted against the artist and in favour of the record labels.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Final Vinyl? LPs + Indie record stores

A few links + resources on 2 often intertwined areas of the industry: Independent record stores and vinyl records, not so long ago thought to be on the point of extinction but now making a rapid recovery from the very jaws of rigor mortis (to stretch a metaphor) on the back (...) of collectible limited releases particularly beloved by students (dance records had maintained a grip, but now rock/Indie vinyl is growing again).

The film High Fidelity (and, indeed, the UK-based Nick Hornby novel) are good places to start - you might even ask your parents (or other token 'old' people!) of their memories of buying, and playing vinyl, a much different experience than acquiring digital bits (MP3s etc). There are few stories about MP3 tracks you acquired, but I'm far from alone in having memories tied into particular tracks I bought as singles way back when!

This is one reason why I've suggested to many your ad includes a mention of a 'special edition vinyl' release.

This article centres on a new documentary about this seemingly doomed sub-culture:

Vinyl countdown: how crowdfunding helped tell the story of the last record shop in Teesside
Jeanie Finlay, a young documentarian who got the public to pay for her to make a film about life at the last record shop in Teesside, talks crowdfunding, Status Quo and David Cameron

Sound It Out
Got any Dolly Parton? … Sound It Out. Photograph: Jeanie Finlay

You'd think the press room at the Austin convention centre would be something of a mecca for film-makers keen to flog their wares. Yet only a handful have seen fit to stick up a poster on the grey canvas walls which the people who could offer them publicity stare at for inspiration.
  1. Sound It Out
  2. Production year: 2011
  3. Directors: Jeanie Finlay
  4. More on this film
One of them is Jeanie Finlay, whose ingenuity in promoting her documentary about the last record shop in Teeside, an area in the north-east of England, is a natural extension of its organic conception and crowdfunded journey to the big screen. There are tie-in gigs and panel events and parties. There's endless flyers and customised earrings by Tatty Devine. Battery-powered record players came along in her luggage, so the soundtrack could be heard the way musos intended. Even the website looks charmingly homemade.
"We tried to translate that whole vibe into every aspect of the movie," explains Finlay, who persuaded 257 people to part with cash via IndieGoGo in aid of the project. They did so in three waves of fundraising: first for the shoot, then the post-production and another to get to SXSW. In return, backers get a pre-release DVD, an associate producer credit on IMDB and a whole heap of stickers. It's crowdfunding on co-operative lines, but Finlay is also canny about the marketing possibilities of such a strategy. "In the process of getting the money to make it, you're also selling the film and connecting with your audience."
That audience is likely to be sizeable. The film has been chosen as the official movie of Record Store Day, and plays out like a winning combination of High Fidelity and American Splendor. But the music itself, thinks Finlay, is a bit of a red herring. "It's about men and collecting. Whether someone's telling you about their wallpaper or their record collection what they end up telling you about is their most intimate secrets. You ask someone: 'Why is Caroline by Status Quo the anthem to your life?' and you get good answers. We have a guy in the film who works days at B&Q and spends his savings following Quo on tour. And that's fine. They've made his life better."
Finlay's next project is more conventionally backed: a BBC documentary called The Great Hip Hop Hoax. But the subject, feel and ingenuity of Sound it Out put it in the frame to be one of SXSW's surprise hits. "I don't want to say it's been a fairytale: it's a hell of a lot of work, without the cushion of cash, or a crew. But it is really exciting and liberating."
That said, she's hesitant about the idea of being a poster girl for David Cameron and his much-mocked idea of the big society. "That fills me with disgust. But I do think that thinking creatively about film-making independently is probably the only way it's going to go."

Female Singer-songwriter who ran Epic Records...

Tale of an outsider brought in to add creative spark to one of the big names in the music industry

Contains some strong language

Amanda Ghost: not in Kansas any more
No one was more shocked than singer-songwriter Amanda Ghost when she was asked to run Epic Records. She talks about what peeking behind the music-industry curtain taught her 


"I have this dual personality where I get up every morning and I breathe music – but I also like the hustle and bustle of the business," Amanda Ghost says. "It's dramatically changed from when I started, but what hasn't changed is the culture of 'No'; the culture of, 'We're fucked. In the good old days we made some money, now it's all fuckin' over.' As an artist, I was very fascinated by the business, but my advice to artists now is: don't be fascinated by the business, concentrate on the music."
Cynicism, snark and small-mindedness have swirled around Amanda Ghost for years. Her career path has been jarring and unexpected: a singer and songwriter from London whose biggest hit peaked at No 63 in 2000, yet became president of a major label eight years later. Along the way, she wrote some of the decade's most ubiquitous singles, but the co-author of James Blunt's You're Beautiful also made leftfield solo records that melded classic songwriting with avant-garde electronica.
Amanda Ghost
'You've got to have perseverance' … Amanda Ghost.
Her 18 months during 2009 and 2010 as the head of the Sony imprint Epic, based in New York, have been derided as a failure. Yet Epic almost doubled its market share during her tenure, even as the record industry's economics continued to crumble. Those who view her as a failed artist turned failed executive may be surprised by the people keen to work with her. Liam Howlett had her guest on the last Prodigy album and encouraged her to take the Epic job, and she will be writing this year with Florence Welch (she of the Machine) and the xx. Similarly, her views on the ailing industry will confound those who have assumed her appointment to the Epic presidency was little more than a sinecure for a corporate stooge.

There's nothing new in genre-mixing

See also Series: Tom Ewing on music
Article source:
There's nothing new in genre-mixing
Hybridisation is a basic tenet of art-pop and purists lurk at the margins in a strange hothouse full of exotic blooms 
primal scream 1991
Primal Scream in 1991 … 'Screamadelica joined the dots between types of music in a way that made bleary but beautiful sense.'


Primal Scream's Screamadelica is 20 this year, and celebrates with the inevitable doorstop reissue. It ought, perhaps, to be 21 – the album's moment was aptly sprawling and drawn out, from the release of the first single in February 1990 to its winning the inaugural Mercury prize more than two years later. Loaded heralded the high-tide of indie-dance – by the time Screamadelica emerged, that moment had gone. It's testimony to the record's strength that it is remembered as a blissful peak of genre-splicing despite turning up so late to its own party.
What Screamadelica did – join the dots between types of music in a way that made bleary but beautiful sense – feels like a really 90s thing. Certainly the decade was full of music that was sold and praised on the basis that there's something inherently thrilling about genres swapping spit down at the indie disco. Beck finagled an entire career from it, Moby sold the notion to advertisers everywhere, the Prodigy played rave like it was rock, and rap-metal provided an appalling hangover to the whole polystylistic party.
But of course genre-mixing was nothing new. What made rock music so strong during its 60s and 70s heyday wasn't its attitude so much as its adaptability – it constantly, omnivorously renewed itself, drawing from any genre it could. Blues, folk, country, soul, jazz, even classical – rock mated with them all. Purism has always been an exception, delighted borrowing the rule. But those were all musics that predated rock, and lent it authenticity. From the 80s onwards, it was having to accommodate the styles that succeeded it – such as disco, synth-pop, hip-hop and dance music. The results were awkward enough that successes got treated as breakthroughs.
These days, genre-blending is again just part of the landscape. Eleven years ago, Radiohead's two-footed lunge into intelligent dance music on Kid A had critics gasping at their boldness. Now they cross-pollinate their sound with dubstep or Afrobeat and receive a polite nod or a muffled yawn. But that isn't to say critics want purity – far from it. From the xx through Janelle Monáe to Animal Collective, almost every acclaimed act works towards forging a sound by taking cues from a mass of other styles. Hybridisation is a basic tenet of art-pop, and purists lurk at the margins, vainly pointing out that perhaps you might want to listen to R&B rather than, say, the Dirty Projectors's etiolated, angular take on it.
For many of these acts, the moment they perfect their blend is also the moment they break through to a wider critical – and sometimes public – consciousness. So music coverage often feels like a strange hothouse, full of exotic blooms that may never flower so fully again. Refine a sound and it risks becoming predictable; change it and you lose what makes you special.
It's in this overheated context that two of my favourite records this year shine – both of them exercises in deliberate genre-shifts by performers who've been around a while. The artists could hardly be more different: Detroit garage punks the Dirtbombs, whose Party Store is a collection of classic techno covers, and Düsseldorf composer Hauschka, whose forthcoming Salon des Amateurs finds him trying to make a minimal dance record using contemporary classical piano music.
Both these records could have been dreadful: both succeed wildly, as Hauschka and the Dirtbombs each seem enlivened by the challenges they've set themselves, adapting their sounds to the rhythms and structures of techno. On Party Store, rough-cut, spartan riffing turns out to be a great fit for the 25-year-old future dreamed up by Cybotron and Derrick May, bringing out the music's harsher qualities but preserving its drive.
On Salon des Amateurs, meanwhile, Hauschka trades in his usual genteel, prepared piano miniatures for something surprisingly banging. Track titles such as "NoSleep", "TaxiTaxi" and "Girls" set the tone, and sharply plucked strings combine with double bass and piano fragments to create momentum. Like the Kompakt tracks that apparently inspired it, Hauschka's album is good at establishing hooks then subtly shifting their musical setting, letting peaks emerge from repetitive structures. Like the Dirtbombs – and like Screamadelica way back when, for that matter – the record is the sound of people using genre-mixing to stretch their identity, not just create it.

Market for retro music

Most of you are working on vids for tracks from a decades ago, so this (and many more like it  on the MusicGdn site) should be helpful...
A brief extract from the article:
The pop that the self-consciously futuristic Human League helped predict, an ideologically defiant non-rock combination of glamorous spectacle, abstract visuals and electronically constructed pop sensation, now dominates what is left of the commercial mainstream, but the group poignantly spend their time exiled from fashion, appearing to ironically lose touch with modern realities.

Gorillaz download album to get physical release

I'm sure, as you all know to keep an eye on the MusicGuardian site, you'll be familiar with this story...

Gorillaz are to start charging for The Fall, an album they released as a free download on Christmas Day. The band have announced that the record will be issued on CD and vinyl, as well as a paid download, next month.
The Fall was made during Gorillaz's 2010 US tour, with Damon Albarn claiming it was recorded on an iPad. Last December, Gorillaz teased fans with details of the album via a digital advent calendar; on Christmas Day, fanclub members were provided with a link to download the LP. The album is still there, and even if you haven't joined the Gorillaz fanclub, you can stream it for free.
This may be about to change. Yesterday, Gorillaz announced The Fall will be released on 180g vinyl on 16 April, International Record Store Day. A CD release will follow, as well as a paid download, on 18 April. It is not clear whether the free stream will then be taken down.
Gorillaz did issue a press release, but it was scarce on details. Instead, the group's fictional frontman, 2D, offered his thoughts on the Plastic Beach follow-up. "The Fall, is mostly just me," he said, "something more gentle and just ... well ... it's just me and an iPad really mucking about ... trying out some stuff. Just looking at America and then tapping on the screen ... I'm not really concentrating too hard on it ... So, right, each album got all of us on it somewhere, but each time it's ... more of one of us than the others ... Well, that's how I see it anyway."

Sunday, 13 March 2011

MP3 killed the album?

An extract from's rundown of the top 100 albums of the 1990s; are they right to say the album is dead ... do YOU still get/listen to whole albums, or listen to single tracks outwith the context of the album they were released in?
001: Radiohead
OK Computer
[Capitol; 1997]

The end of the 90s will be seen as the end of the album. The rise of MP3 technology and file downloading returned pop music consumption to collective pre-Beatles mindset, where songs are judged as singles. Radiohead's Kid A and Amnesiac were shallowly criticized as B-side collections because they were downloaded and assembled as such on home computers. "Treefingers" and "Hunting Bears" were torn apart, not a piece of a 60 minute or so record, but as worthwhile 34-minute download times (this, remember, was right before DSL/Cable). The resurgence, and arguable final entrenchment, of manufactured Pop Stars by their handlers over supposedly more artistic fare-- and more importantly the acceptance of such common pleasures by critics-- razed the significance of the complete album. Which is why OK Computer , and it's Best Albums Ever companion Loveless , eternally top these polls: somehow we doubt we'll ever see their like again.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


I'll cross-post this on the prodeval blog; useful piece from Germaine Greer, legendary feminist, about 'what art is'; a snippet:
A week ago I confused 1,500 sixth-formers by attempting to answer the non-question: "What is art?" The students found a lot of what I said surprising. I hope too many of them didn't ditch their portfolios and start new ones on Lady Gaga, because I rather think their teachers found what I said even more confusing than they did.
What is art? Art is anything an artist calls art. An artist is someone who makes or does something she or he thinks of as art.

Production Diary vid: an example

Featuring some flashing lights, here's an example of a vid diary from the League of Modest Gentlemen...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Tescos and the industry

Few quick links here on how Tescos has challenged the traditional music retail business, pushing and squeezing the record labels...
Jan 2004: Report on a court case to stop online retailers undercutting set UK prices through 'parallel importing' compares the action to a case against Tesco's importing of jeans.
30th March 2008: They try to change the fees paid by retailers to record companies. This is a gr8 article for info on how the biz works
22nd Feb 2010: launch own record label, signing Simply Red
21st Oct 2010: In a busy year for 'Scos, they enter a row with Warner Bros, threatening to de-stock all their releases as they try to strong-arm the industry giant into giving them more favourable terms (The S*n headline: Tescos at War-ner with record label)
Dec 2010: They also signed Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud...but she flopped
7th March 2010: As reported on BBC Radio 5 Live's 'Drive' programme at 6.45pm, Tescos is now seeking to reverse the traditional model of retailers paying £7 or £8 upfront for albums...instead paying just 50p! The move will strongly reinforce the power of the majors and devestate many Indies, and threaten small-scale music retailers too. See Musicweek,, or for more.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Screenshots and screen recording

We can't quite afford the most popular choice for this - Camtasia - but there is software built into the Macs to capture screenshots (there are also keyboard shortcuts for this, blogged on earlier) and record the screen: "Grab"
This is the most effective means of showing how you've utilised software