Deadlines/Brief

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

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Anita Elberse (2013) Blockbusters - must-read book?

"Because people are inherently social," the Harvard business professor Anita Elberse points out, "they generally find value in reading the same books and watching the same television shows and movies that others do." What's more, and equally understandably: "People have a taste for winners: if, say, a book is popular and has been widely discussed in the media, consumers have more reason to read it." [from Guardian review]
Scroll down for sample quotes and review snippets, such as Bloomberg's fairly critical view
Use the look inside feature for a preview
I'd recommend at the very least sampling this, a book that basically argues that the tentpole strategy (or blockbuster as she terms it) is vital for any and all modern media/entertainment giants. Her examples take in music, film and other media, but also widen out to incorporate 'entertainment' industries such as football, looking at the examples of Barcelona and Real Madrid, and the latter's 'galacticos' strategy.

She very convincingly picks out examples of major conglomerates that have tried more austere, penny-pinching approaches ... and shows, with forensic financial detail, how disastrous this invariably proved.

Interesting that she's not simply referring to production, but also as much about distribution, and the marketing muscle and capacity to make very widely available and prominently placed a given release, Lady Gaga being one such example she dissects.

You can preview some samples by using Amazon's 'look inside' feature, or GoogleBooks (add keywords related to cinema, music or whichever industry you're most interested in to get the most relevant sections), and its for sale as a Kindle book too.

Here's a few snippets from various articles/reviews:
"Because people are inherently social," the Harvard business professor Anita Elberse points out, "they generally find value in reading the same books and watching the same television shows and movies that others do." What's more, and equally understandably: "People have a taste for winners: if, say, a book is popular and has been widely discussed in the media, consumers have more reason to read it." [Guardian review]

Fanbase not Audience the future say YouTube

Various web 2.0 theorists have signified the end of the old analogue/early digital producer-consumer paradigm through such bold statements as "the former audience" ... now one YouTube's top honchos says we should abandon the very term audience, with its links to scheduled programming, and think in fanbase terms instead...
Simon Cowell and Disney are picked out as exemplars of the new more copyright-flexible order, in which UGC is seen as benefitting copyright-holders, not cannibalising their revenue streams.
“An audience tunes in when they're told to, a fanbase chooses when and what to watch,” said Carloss at the MIPTV television industry conference in Cannes. “An audience changes the channel when their show is over. A fanbase shares, it comments, it curates, it creates.”
...
He also praised Simon Cowell’s You Generation brand, a YouTube-focused global talent show, and Disney for the way it encouraged fans of its film Frozen to post their own cover versions of its songs on YouTube. One by musician Alex Boy√© has been watched more than 30m times.
“The studio could have very easily issued copyright claims against this video and any others and taken them down, but they made a different choice: a fan-friendly choice. They chose to let those videos stay,” said Carloss, suggesting that the buzz around Frozen on YouTube contributed to its strong performance at the box office.
“Creators everywhere can make the choice Disney did. Allow fans to pay tribute, and you will see the incredible benefits of their passion.”
A lot of this closely echoes some of the arguments put forward by Anita Elberse (a Harvard economist) in her fascinating (a highly recommended read) book Blockbusters, published in December 2013.