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

Thursday, 16 February 2017


Please take heed of the warning below - this post is about videos/music subjected to censorship, so view/read with caution and not with younger children in sight of your screen.
As I recently returned to this topic, I've added a few more examples below, and I'll develop this further when time permits, perhaps into an exam case study on the mediareg blog (where there are further resources on this). Use the censorship tag to find more on this blog.

Here's a fairly recent example that I've blogged on in detail over on the mediareg blog.

There are many interesting, highly readable books on the topic - I'll add details of some I've read as + when time permits, but you can find examples with a simple 'banned music' search (eg AmazonUK). I'll be reading Southall's book shortly - available on Kindle Unlimited if you're a subscriber.
Brian Southall’s history of the songs, performers, record covers BANNED by ‘the authorities’ includes the incredible facts behind stories such as…
Roger Daltrey trying to perfect Sonny Boy Williamson’s stuttering, Cliff Richard banning himself, the airbrushing out of Alice Cooper’s ‘penis’ on a record cover, and attempts by USA citizens to get Justin Bieber deported to his native Canada.

Did you know that Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus’ was the first single banned from UK’s Top of the Pops and that before that No.1 hit with Jane Birkin he’d completed an earlier version with Brigitte Bardot?
What was the real reason the Sex Pistols were prevented from topping the singles chart with ‘God Save The Queen’ in Silver Jubilee week 1977?
Why did a falling out between Terence Stamp and The Smiths create a collectors’ item in 1984?
Boycotted, banned and the subject of death threats – what exactly was The Dixie Chicks’ crime in 2003?

NB: we also discussed the economic context of the music industry: the concentration of ownership (one of Chomsky's five filters in his propaganda model; filters remove radical counter-hegemonic content before it can shape public discourse or opinion), or consolidation as free market apologists would prefer.

With such scale, the pressure from threats of boycott, often exerted through campaigners targeting advertisers who put ads on some other wing of a conglomerate, can be immense - advertiser power being another of Chomsky (and Herrmann's) propaganda model. Madonna lost a multi-million Pepsi sponsorship when she dared to depict a black Jesus in her Like a Prayer; Time-Warner famously pulled Ice-T's Cop Killer after facing high level political and police pressure, and threats from shareholders. Ice-T now claims the decision was his; he left the record label after the row over this - the Wiki is a short, informative read, but you can find further accounts easily.
When I started out, [Warner] never censored us. Everything we did, we had full control over. But what happened was when the cops moved on Body Count they issued pressure on the corporate division of Warner Bros., and that made the music division, they couldn't out-fight 'em in the battle, so even when you're in a business with somebody who might not wanna censor you, economically people can put restraints on 'em and cause 'em to be afraid. I learned that lesson in there, that you're never really safe as long as you're connected to any big corporation's money. [Wiki]

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Big Three Sony Universal Warners

In film its the big six (7 if you count Lionsgate); in the music industry, following a controversial 2012 $2bn takeover of EMI by Universal, its just the big three: Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. Sony and Universal also combine on the VEVO platform.

See: feature on the big 3; (the spin on this one is a bit odd - that the ENTIRE Indie industry beats any one of the big three individually);; this pdf.

Table from digitalmusicnews.
You can see how the industry has gone through dramatic 'disruption' from digitisation - but with little impact on the market share of the dominant conglomerates:
Source: p.11 of this report (pdf).

Saturday, 11 February 2017

UGC Depeche Mode fan takeover Facebook for a year

Another new twist in the web 2.0/UGC/convergence mode, this one reflecting the pattern that's seen lyric videos go from fan-made to official releases. The "former audience" indeed!

Headline story on Pitchfork - many more sites/e-zines followed suit
Depeche Mode, a huge selling act that comes high up concert revenue charts when they tour, have announced that fans can apply to be one of 365 who get to control their Facebook page for a day - a page with 7m followers.

This announcement has helped gain a lot of free, high-profile publicity.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Spotify chief most powerful figure in music industry

The big three are all represented alongside major management agencies and touring agents, but it's Spotify, seen as responsible for an unexpected rise in music industry revenues, with its 51% share of the US streaming market (a challenge here for Apple, who also feature in the top 10), that tops the pile according to industry magazine Billboard.