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

Monday, 29 September 2014

Vloggers + UGC rivalling studios + conglomerates?

Certainly not a new topic this, although I haven't completed adding tags to the entire archive of posts, you'll see that 'UGC' (user-generated content) is a common topic (and I'll have a look to add 'vlogger' where appropriate: video-based bloggers).

Gradually being updated - use the tag clouds!
I blog again on this as its a topic we've been discussing in recent lessons, and I've reflected on in recent posts. As Media students today, the demands on and expectations of you are higher than in the past - with the technology at your fingertips, there is an expectation of at least 'prosumer' levels of quality, ideally there being no clear indication (or anchorage) of your work as student productions at all.
Fragment of a past post on this topic.

The skills you're developing are highly marketable and valuable:

Friday, 26 September 2014

YOU/audience are the product: Julian Assange

When we consider audience theory in Media Studies, the degree of flux and changing views on this is quickly evident, and a major theme in itself. Which, if any, of the long-established audience theories continue to hold true in the digital age, the web 2.0 era? Is it enough to write of "the former audience", Dan Gillmor's (2011) striking phrase? David Gauntlett even went as far as to declare the "end of audience studies" (2007, 2011), although Julian McDougall's (2009, in a very readable, student-friendly book) more moderate point that audiences are fragmenting, making it more difficult to meaningfully analyse or discuss/define audiences, is perhaps more useful.

There are those who see the blurring of the audience/producer line as full of democratic promise, not least Gillmor, though Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture (2008) is perhaps the most striking statement of this.
Is Jenkins too utopian, optimistic? [image source]

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Baudrillard's 'simulacra': Weezer's Buddy Holly eg

A short post, just reflecting a discussion today on the postmodern philosopher Baudrillard's contentious (but ingenious?) concept of the simulacra, which argues that as we now exist in an endless sea of signifiers, or chains of signifiers with no concrete starting/reference point, we cannot claim to know of any actual 'reality'. So, Disneyland is the real America; the Gulf War, supposedly fought on our TV screens in 1991, never really happened, to take two of his most infamous proclamations.

Its a concept which often and readily applies itself to music video, with many videos influenced by other videos which may have been influenced by other media (especially TV/film) in turn. Weezer's Buddy Holly, directed by Michel Gondry, is an exemplar - it is a representation of a 90s band as part of a 70's TV show about 50's America, which heavily influenced perceptions of that decade (so, the long chain of signification in which any perceivable reality has been utterly lost, and is rendered unknowable)

Below the video I've uploaded a photo of p. 175 from the excellent Money For Nothing, Austerlitz's history of the music video; he describes the video, for example, as 'a pastiche of a pastiche'. We would later see Nirvana and other acts (see Outkast's Hey Ya at the end of the post) copy this idea of inserting the act into an old TV show (and the Beastie Boys, of course, created their own affectionate pastiche of the 70/80s cop show with Sabotage).

Austerlitz on the Weezer vid

Postmodernist French social theorist Jean Baudrillard argues that a simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own right: the hyperreal. Where Plato saw two steps of reproduction—faithful and intentionally distorted (simulacrum)—Baudrillard sees four: (1) basic reflection of reality; (2) perversion of reality; (3) pretence of reality (where there is no model); and (4) simulacrum, which "bears no relation to any reality whatsoever".[7] In Baudrillard's concept, like Nietzsche's, simulacra are perceived as negative, but another modern philosopher who addressed the topic, Gilles Deleuze, takes a different view, seeing simulacra as the avenue by which an accepted ideal or "privileged position" could be "challenged and overturned".[8] Deleuze defines simulacra as "those systems in which different relates to different by means of difference itself. What is essential is that we find in these systems no prior identity, no internal resemblance".[9]

See the ProdEval blog for more on this and other media theories.


Following other blogs

Not just mine/group members, but any interesting blogs you encounter - instructions in this post.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Queens, Kittens + QR Codes: Film about Media coursework

The DVD is not for sale, but is available with a requested donation of £1 or more to cancer charity Movember for each copy; every penny received will be donated to Movember. Please contact myself, Mr Burrowes (david.burrowes at [at = @; I don't want to be getting spammed!]), or Ilkley Grammar School; copies are held at the school reception and in the Media classroom.
NB: Most DVDs have been packaged in a slimline case

A Bit of Background on the IGS Media 2014 DVD
In June 2014 I decided to put together a 2nd feature-length film on my A-Level Media Studies students' work; in September 2014 it was finally completed, and this post takes you through what it is all about, what to expect and what specifically is included.
Click to enlarge; some info on what Movember is for