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

Saturday, 30 January 2016

INDUSTRY How far have revenues fallen?

The article below details the financial struggles of a range of bands - acts with sizeable followings, radio airplay and critical acclaim. At their level, touring and merchandise still aren't really paying the bills, with minimal money coming in from actual record sales.

They note that even the fees for their music being used in ads has steeply declined. The flipside is the potential of digitisation to slash costs and directly engage with (and monetise) an audience.

Just how far have revenues fallen then? The actual figures are quite shocking - from a global $40bn industry to just $14bn in 15 years as digital piracy took off from 1999.

The music industry has been in steady decline since the early 2000s as illegal downloads and then the rise of streaming took gargantuan chunks out of record sales. The situation is not improving, with global revenue for music dipping below $14bn for the first time in 2014. It was $40bn in 1998. 

Understandably this hits artists not shored up by the big labels the hardest. Nothing in music pays what it once did, and the decline will likely continue.
We’re in an industry where over 90% of releases never recoup the money spent on them,” he says. “The industry underwrites failure as a necessary part of its operation and looks to the supercharged successes of a very small number of artists to cover the losses. That’s pretty dysfunctional. The number one challenge facing a new artist is a financial one: become profitable or cease to exist in the medium to long term.”
Wale believes that by thinking on a more realistic scale, and with advances in technology, it is still possible to make an income from music. “I think now, more so than ever, it’s very possible – especially for a solo artist – to make a cottage-industry scale success without any outside help whatsoever. Obviously this has been facilitated greatly by the internet and the emergence of online networks, fan-supported releases and a number of great discovery platforms. All the tools are really there for someone to go out and do it themselves.”

Friday, 29 January 2016

INDUSTRY How Rihanna represents digitised disrupted new norm

Lengthy feature, packed with highly quotable lines (music video has displaced audio for current generation, Rihanna makes money from social media driven sponsor/endorsement contracts than music sales...)

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

RIHANNA bitch video (post-)feminist or misogynist?

The New Statesman columnist was under no doubt this was a misogynistic video

Some reactions

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Websites I've analysed

All of the following have been analysed in some detail (that's the 'website analysis' tag link)

Pilgrim (student; pop/Indie band) [blog]
LittleMonsters (Lady Gaga fans) [blog]
Sly Antics (UK Indie band) [blog] - note: by unfortunate coincidence, they changed their website almost within hours of my reviewing what is now their old one!

I've also briefly looked at a range of website banners, top links, basic branding, in this post:

  • Adam Ant (US and UK)
  • Alt-J
  • The 1975
  • You Me At Six
  • Charlie Puth
  • Shawn Mendes
  • Bullet For My Valentine
  • AC/DC

WEBSITE add games

The website mimics the TV show...
This is a simple example of the sort of feature that can add an edge to your website, make it a richer experience. I've not looked for any examples at this point, I'm not claiming it as a convention, merely an option.

There are lots of apps and web-based tools that will generate a game for you. I've used the Family Fortunes game builder, for example, to test on some British Cinema terminology knowledge (try it here). You could do a quiz based on song lyrics; video screenshots; track titles (name the tracks from album x)...

If you have any suggestions/examples, please leave a brief description and URL as a comment.

Options from the free web-based Family Fortunes game builder

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Final Cut Pro X getting started

I added some specific tips to the mediatechtips blog: FCPX tag.

I've also added a vodcast in this post, covering most of the basics you need.

FCPX has been around a for a few years now; before doing anything else, I'd check any guides you are about to use reflect the latest version (or the version you are using, which may not be up to date!!!). Use the Wiki.

Apple provides a very clear guide: (I've included the full link as you can see you might need to check for an updated version)

You can also get an Apple manual.

Izzy Video.

Larry Jordan.

Atomic Learning.


SOCIAL MEDIA MySpace and other failed sites

It is axiomatic that a social media presence is vital for any artist, aspiring or established. The perceived impact of Gaga's Little Monsters or Justin's Beliebers, not to mention any number of supposed bedroom success stories, reinforces this.

The fakery of most bedroom successes, their apparent viral success actually fuelled by major record labels' spending, and the pronouncement by the ever tedious Ed Sheeran that he's taking a break from social media to focus on his ... 'art', indicate a flipside to the argument that web 2.0 sites offer a key opportunity and disruption of the established distribution and marketing route through record labels.
Keen has also established an academic narrative against the intrusive, exploitative nature of these data-mining sites who profit from selling user data.

The articles below (with some strong language) are a useful reminder of the volatility of social media, with dominant sites completely disappearing once they lose their fashionability or zeitgeisty status.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

INDUSTRY Universal acclaim down to marketing spend

A truly angry article, packed with useful detail on the monopolised music industry and how the biggest player, Universal, used its vast resources to seal influential critic awards.

A sample quote:
Add in similar costs for a TV and radio plugger, to get the music aired in public and make voters feel that said act really is the kind of label priority worth voting for, and the same again for an online marketing team to make things appear “viral” and “organic”, and you will be lucky to get much change out of £100,000. Labels say that the cost of developing and launching a new mainstream pop act today can be anywhere between £500,000 and £1m. With winning the tastemaker polls seen as the blue chip moment in a launch campaign, it’s clear why an increasing number of chips from a decreasing number of bettors are being stacked on the side of the BBC’s roulette wheel.

Monday, 18 January 2016

REPRESENTATION play gender bingo with Britney, Miley + coupla Daves

Heteronormative, objectifying; male gaze of Axl Rose?
Below: a playlist of various videos which are useful to demonstrate or at least discuss a range of gender representation terms and concepts. As the two fields are so interwoven, terms on sexuality are also included. Task instructions are also included.

There is much more you can discover beyond the short, sharp snapshot of this selection and task.
Judith Butler;
Guns n Roses;
Lady Gaga;
Katy Perry;
Depeche Mode;
(post) hetero-normativity;
(post) Miley: feminist or post-feminist?;
Is there a better example of misogyny? Read post here.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

CONVENTIONS A guide to blogging your research

TBC - this is a NEW guide, replacing the previous post/paper guide
In a new series of posts I will break down the major themes/assessment criteria for Research and Planning in particular into four sections:
WHY is this required/important
WHEN should I do this
WHAT posts/content should I create
WITHIN what do I include within these
I will go on to suggest further sub-headings and themes to explore.

This impacts on several R+P assessment criteria, most directly on 'research into similar products'.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

VINYL Record player Amazon's top Xmas seller

A strong sign of the widening resurgence of vinyl: Amazon's top-selling audio equipment over the Xmas period was a cheap record player, with built-in speakers and software for ripping records. (SOURCE)