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

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Pop: by the posh for proles?

I think I've raised this before: research which claims that production of pop music has become the domain of the privileged, even if its consumption is primarily proletarian (working class).

In a wider article bemoaning/condemning the slavish, unthinking genefluction of so many pop icons to the monarchy, contrasting this to the rebellious antics of The Beatles in the 60s and the Sex Pistols in 1977, Julie Burchill raises the Word magazine survey that claims 60% of our chart acts are public school products [note before reading: her views are strong as is her mode of expression]:
People often yearn back to more innocent times, but more and more, as I get older, I find myself hankering after more jaded days. Surveying the simpering smorgasbord of crooning cretins queuing up to play the Queen's diamond jubilee concert in June, I long for the relative scepticism and sophistication of the mop-top Beatles.
It was back in 1963, at the start of their ascent, performing at the Royal Variety Performance attended by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, when John Lennon said: "For our last number I'd like to ask your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewellery." Yes, it was mild enough, but it did draw attention to the fact that, historically, the posh were only ever day-trippers in the world of popular culture. And, like the rich bitches who went to Harlem in ermine and pearls to get high on the sound of "le jazz hot" played by impoverished junkies, the monarchy was only really relevant to the purveyors of youth music as figures of fun. John Lennon would go on to boast about how the Fab Four had smoked dope in the bogs at Buck Pal and later even returned his MBE.
These are desperate dog days indeed when this otherwise arch-hypocrite – asking us to imagine no possessions while apparently keeping a separate apartment in the Dakota building just to keep his and the missus's vast collection of furs at the "correct" temperature – seems like a beacon of integrity.
"You're still f*****g peasants so far as I can see" – that was another good bit from Lennon's "Working Class Hero". And never are the peasants more revolting than when tugging their forelocks – with such enthusiasm you'd think they were teenage foreskins – to their self-appointed betters. June's sumptuous show of all-singing, all-dancing syncopated sycophancy is just another step in the re-peasanting of this country when it comes to the monarchy – the fall of Great Britain and the rise of the United Kingdom. It is the soundtrack to the reversal of social mobility – and the new dark ages of social unrest that such a failure to launch inevitably heralds.
Fewer than one in 10 British children attends fee-paying schools, yet more than 60% of chart acts have been privately educated, according to Word magazine, compared with 1% 20 years ago. Similarly, other jobs that previously provided bright, working-class kids with escape routes – from modelling to journalism – have been colonised by the middle and upper classes and by the spawn of those who already hold sway in those professions. The spectacle of some smug, mediocre columnista who would definitely not have their job if their mummy or daddy hadn't been in the newspaper racket advising working-class kids to study hard at school, get a "proper" job and not place their faith in TV talent shows is one of the more repulsive minor crimes of our time.
(Find more of JB's writings here)
Burchill is a notorious mouthpiece, and all papers are desperate to generate comments and debate on their articles - so its not surprise that this article can be read partially as an attack on the primarily posh (ABC1) readers of The Guardian!

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