So, keep an eye out for stories about viral vids, bedroom artists whose YouTube upload or Facebook profile has circumvented the record industry and seen them breakthrough by directly linking to fans. There are a lot of stories about the terminal decline of CDs, which still dominate record companies revenues but over time are losing out to downloads. Apple's latest Macbook doesn't have a CD/DVD player as they're confident that most of us are switching to non-physical media.
You'll notice I didn't mention MySpace there - just 2-3 years ago this was seen as the most important social media tool for music acts, but while seemingly every ad for a tour, single or album features a Facebook link, the MySpace logo is increasingly rare. New media is a fast-moving ruthless platform highly prone to changes in fashion.
We should also be sceptical about some of the claims made about viral success stories - was Lily Allen's breakthrough via her MySpace efforts really free from corporate effort and finance?
Personalise your blogging, reflect on your own consumption and that of your friends: do you still buy CDs? When was the last time you bought one? How do you access music: iTunes, BitTorrent/illegal downloads, Spotify and other streaming sites, a phone-based subscription, radio ... or even CDs?!
EXAM + COURSEWORK LINKS TO 'NEW MEDIA'
From the R+P marking criteria: "There is an excellent level of care in the presentation of the research and planning.
There is excellent skill in the use of digital technology or ICT in the presentation."The 4th Eval Q: "How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?"Q1a of your exam has digital technology as one of the 5 concepts you may be asked to explore within a comparison of your AS and A2 work; you have to show how you advanced with your A2 work.
Some reading for youTo aid your learning on this here's just a few useful articles:
What impact is piracy having on the music industry, and are downloads replacing money lost to CD sales? Here's an excellent Aug 2011 Guardian analysis.
Just as good, and arguably your best starting point for an overview of the major issues and debates around new media's impact on the music industry, is this comprehensive overview from Jan 2011 on how the biz has struggled to adapt.
2007 Guardian article on Radiohead releasing their album In Rainbows via web-only at first, and asking for buyers to pay what they think its worth; also cites the Arctic Monkeys/Lily Allen and MySpace breakthroughs
Lady Gaga's manager: 'If it was up to me, I'd give away the next album...' - it seems ever more clear that the social aspect of music is seen as key to the future; Gaga's manager here joins Spotify and Clear Channel execs at the annual Facebook conference [see also the reproduced article after this list] in arguing that future revenues depend on enabling conversations to happen around music listening.
Facebook to transform into an entertainment hub - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces Spotify and Netflix tie-ins, as competition from Twitter and Google prompt move
Kate Nash - another MySpace breakthrough. (also: wiki)
Lily Allen + her MySpace breakthrough
Arctic Monkeys + their MySpace breakthrough - a fan posted their demos on MySpace - the group were not web-savvy themselves
Guardian Downloads microsite: weekly articles about music online, fantastic resource
2006: early analysis from Guardian on MySpace after Arctic Monkeys' breakthrough
Sky takes on iTunes with downloads service (2009) - the competition for iTunes will continue to grow, but in 2011 they still maintain a near-monopoly
iTunes wiki - worth reading
The alternatives to iTunes (Gdn art, 2010)
Google set to launch an iTunes rival?
Beyond Oblivion, part-owned by News Corp, set to challenge iTunes (Aug 2011) - smartphone streaming service
iTunes + control freakery? Many in the industry hate iTunes, specifically because Apple set prices and take so much of the revenue from every track sold. Here's an article about the FT side-stepping iTunes. We will see increasing focus on just how fair/legal Apple's astonishing grip over the music industry is over the coming year.
Still...getting people to pay for music was a near-miracle, this 2011 art argues.
Newspapers find Apple just as bad when it comes to their fees for iPad apps.
Glee downloads dominated iTunes charts in 2009
Viral video chart (weekly Gdn blog), with music/music vids often to the fore
Vevo Revolutionary - I've blogged on this: Vevo is the link-up of 3 of the world's biggest record co's, and its vision is based on a future of ad-funded music streaming. This is the sort of thing you absolutely must show awareness of!!!
The film industry faces similar issues, with revenues from downloaded film not matching that of the DVD sales this replaces
'We crave a popstar who is authentic, who thrives because of their talent, not PR. So when you stumble across someone like Lana Del Rey – her popularity apparently born online and growing per YouTube click – it's hard not to be sceptical as to whether she's actually too good to be true. Surely it can't be that after posting just one song online, this brand new artist sold out a London gig in half an hour?' - excerpt from article on Lana del Ray, YouTube sensation. Here's a lighter look at del Ray's vids
Did you know that Justin Bieber holds the record for most-viewed vid on YouTube, with 500m hits ... or that he surpassed Lady Gaga's Bad Romance to claim this crown? Read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_impact_of_YouTube
The following is bang up to date, and should get you thinking about how you're going to get aud feedback, but also, later, on some of the features to include in your ancillary texts. (You could, as a group, set up a joint Fb account specifically for your vid)
Article link: Ben Perreau, 23.9.11 at http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2011/sep/23/facebook-changes-music-fans
What do Facebook changes mean for music fans?Facebook's new announcements have the potential to revolutionise music listening – although it could spell bad news for iTunes
The world will Listen … Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg
At Facebook's annual geek-con, F8, the internet giant announced some its most significant changes yet. Now intent on becoming a platform for your whole lifestyle, Facebook will try to turn the web on its head and rewire it from "Search" to "Social". But what will this mean for music?
It's more than just "Like", now it's all about "Listen".Facebook is broadening its lexicon. Eighteen months ago Facebook launched the now ubiquitous "Like" button, which quickly took hold. Now, they're taking it a step further, "Listen" buttons will start to replace the familiar "Like" button where there's something to hear, along with "Watch" and "Read" (presumably that's just the start). The new buttons will work in a similar way to the old ones, but send a message out to your friends via your profile "Ben Perreau just listened to Good Vibrations", these buttons will be one of the ways of actively logging any song, artist or radio station you've been listening to and wear it on your profile like a badge of honour (until somebody cooler notices and you remove it).
It's building a music community of 800 million people.Facebook wants you to be using Facebook all the time. One of the most exciting features is "listen with your friends". This means Facebook is inviting you to share your listening and join in with others. So if you have friends across the globe who are still lamenting the loss of REM, you can now howl uncontrollably over "Everybody' Hurts" en masse. More importantly, you'll be able to do it all in real-time, and have a discussion in the context of what you're listening to. Get ready to sound knowledgable: "I 3>'d their first album." This is a great idea for artists who want to create special events with discussions around their new music, gather feedback and, crucially, get friends to discuss the music and share it. It's also great for broadcast radio, where there's a virtual community of people listening at once. With Facebook the hits can ripple across the world as people share them with each other.
Facebook will track your listening, automatically.Facebook is desperate to display a record of your life over time, and that includes your music habits. Unsurprisingly, they're calling this new profile a "Timeline". Facebook will publish all your listening habits to this Timeline (it's brilliant for late-night navelgazing). You'll simply have to authorise a music service once, to monitor your listening and send it all to your Timeline automatically. But watch out, if you've been listening to the same song on repeat, you'll soon get found out by your friends when they go snooping around your profile. You'll find this similar to Last.FM, which tracks your listening and presents it back to you in a visual way.
Discovering new music is going to be great fun.If you logged into Facebook earlier this week you'll have noticed the ability to "Subscribe" to people you're interested in. So if you want to find some new music to listen to, you'll just need to know of somebody who has great taste (my profile is facebook.com/ben.perreau). You'll also find that friends who listen to similar artists are more visible to you on Facebook, thanks to their increasingly clever algorithm.
It's not good news for download stores. It's even worse for CDs.But we knew that. Facebook's new features are going to help to establish what you "listen to" as the currency that record companies care about, not the MP3s gathering digital dust on your hard-drive.
So accessing a broad range of music that gets logged by Facebook (and seen by all your friends) is probably going to be much easier with a service such as internet radio (because it's free), than a subscription music service such as Spotify (which costs), but it's going to be really tough for old download services such as iTunes where your listening habits are isolated from the Facebook experience. This is a masterful move for Facebook, who can persuade you to hang around for longer (showing you ads while you visit), while music services such as Spotify continue to pay royalty cheques.
It looks as if Facebook is nudging deeper into our lives with every innovation. It has the potential to give internet radio listening a boost as demand will grow for free, connected listening experiences that people can discuss. Whereas Apple may be forced to make iTunes more open, possibly by introducing a scrobbler-type app that logs the music you listen to on, say, your iPod and sends this info to your Facebook page (RIP Last.FM?). Basically, you should get ready for your music tastes to be tracked and strewn across the web like a bad breakup – Facebook wants to collect a visual biography of your life, and it won't stop until it is tracking every bit.