Digitisation and Being a PirateJune 24th, 2012 by Paula Lay
This week, we looked at music. It’s been a topic I have looked forward to discussing, as through online platforms like MySpace (which funnily enough, I am no longer a member of), I was able to connect to many commercially successful artists as a fan and able to meet them personally, attend their gigs for free and bring my friends too. In hindsight, you can easily see this was a great way to promote themselves in cities across the world – connect with your biggest fans with followers and let them do the promoting for you (which I happily did with website help, banners and online flyers to get other fans to some unknowns who eventually made it to the big time!). I won’t name names, but without digital distribution and the digital connection to fans, many of todays ‘artists’ (use this loosely Justin Beiber!) would not exist today if they had to go through the traditional gatekeepers of music.
What is great for a lot of talented artists is the level of exposure and promotion by fans who enjoy the music. It’s also a benefit for the traditional gatekeepers who no longer have to travel city to city to hunt for new artists. They don;t even need to pour over and listen to hundreds of tapes that get sent to their office. No. Now they only need to login to MySpace or YouTube, see how many likes and dislikes an artist have, assess their talent and potential to be a commercially viable ‘product’. Digitisation serves up the artists on a plate and their music as a meal for everyone to aurally devour.
It was also a great week to look at the tension between the music industry, it’s fans and the challenges/benefits faced by the music industry. Here is a video for the Lulz, a parody on new technology and the reactions of the music industry:
… annnnnd my very rough responses to this weeks readings and lecture on music:
What do you think are the biggest challenges and benefits to the music industries that come from digital communication and distribution?
- Competition. With lowered costs, easy to use production tools and increased points of entry, music industries need to create more audience focused content to attract the limited time an audience has to listen to their music/content.
- Copyright/Intellectual Property challenges. Digitisation of content means that it is easier to sample, re-use, mash up (whatever it can be called) produced works to create new material. For some commercial artists, this is seen as theft.
- Illegal Downloads, decrease from the sale of physical audio sales.
- Lowered costs, easy to use production tools and increased points of entry.
- Interlinked with social networks, content has the ability to go ‘viral’ in a short amount of time
- Greater chance of discovery by your audiences through social sharing, legal downloads, illegal downloads, podcasts and streaming platforms.
- Greater multimedia experience for the fans of music
In thinking about this it might be useful to consider how would you characterise your own use of digital music files. Do you use them as previews, listening and then choosing what you would like to buy? Does listening to downloads encourage you to see musicians in concert? Do you buy other merchandise if you like the music? Are you a pirate, or does your money still reach the musicians you admire?
Personally, I have both legal and illegal downloads. Legal downloads are from artists that I am already a fan of and enjoy their music enough to buy their albums and attend their live events. Illegal downloads are predominantly from artists that I don’t know much about – have only heard one track and download their entire album to see if I like the rest of their catalogue.
However, nowadays I subscribe to services like Spotify to discover music because the streaming is fast, the collection and access to music is enormous and I am also able to see recommendations made by my friends who are also using the service.I still attend the concerts of the artists I may have downloaded music from – many of whom I would not have discovered without the digitisation of their music, as I very rarely listen to the radio.
More to come on music!