Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Chapter 6: Part 2

Posted by jtodd12 on April 18, 2014

The part of this section that interested me was when it talked about mainstream music. When I was younger, like middle school age, I was obsessed with what was considered a “hit,” and if it wasn’t a hit then I didn’t bother with it. The older I got the less I cared about how popular it was, and just cared more about if it was good music. I’ve noticed that many of the mainstream artists are really not that talented, and have their voices edited constantly. Many artists and vocalists that are not as popular have more talent than those in the mainstream. It has almost gotten to the point to where I will ignore and hate a song BECAUSE it is in the mainstream. Songs that are in the Top 20 Countdown or some other chart are played over and over again to the point where listeners are sick of the song within two weeks. That’s what the mainstream does.

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chapter 6 pt 2

Posted by joshuabarnett522 on April 17, 2014

Because religion has permeated every aspect of our society the last bit of this chapter is a section about how religious music groups are not wanting to their stuff shared for free on the internet. This is contradictory because as Christians they are supposed to be concerned with spreading their message. Some artists say that its not the money its the message that counts but others say its like walking into a Christian book store and stealing a Bible. In this age of the internet artists should expect that their music is going to be listened to for free. Its maybe not an ideal situation for musicians but its the world we live in now. The only thing to do is to step up your game so that people will want to buy your CD’s and merchandise and come to your concerts.

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The Growing (and shrinking) Tail

Posted by topper668 on April 17, 2014

Disclaimer: This is an ornery post. In hindsight I don’t know where it came from. However, if you like current popular music, you won’t enjoy what I have to say.

The Long Tail theory is spot on! There is the question as to whether the “soft” or “hard” theory is more accurate, and even though the book seems to lean towards the “soft” model, I don’t necessarily agree. As long as the tail continues to grow, it can be assumed the niche audience grows with it. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the next few years, but in a world where every form of media is so involved and is quick to evolve, it becomes seemingly impossible to make a prediction. This next statement is an opinion, but mainstream music today is absolute shit. Every now and then, a song comes on the Top 40 that I might enjoy. Perhaps I have my father to blame. Maybe if he never shared with me the popular songs in his day I would be oblivious as I continued to sing along to the repetitive mind-numbing lyrics of today. The songs from these separate generations should never, under any circumstances be compared to a degree in which they could possibly appear in the same sentence together. And with that, I will end my rant.

Forgive me, but that rant has it’s relevance. For I feel many people my age and almost everyone older, (save for a few exceptions) already live by this “hard” model. This line should be drawn when discussing the two ideas of The Long Tail. Any new songs that I have actively sought out in the recent years has either been indie, or older music I had been previously ignorant to. So, as the title of this post suggests, the tail looks different depending on where or even if you chose to draw this line. I do have good news for my readers on the other side of the line, I cannot foreseeably imagine mainstream music getting any worse. So if you have made it this far having people with vastly more money than you determine what’s popular or not, I urge you to keep persevering.

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Apps: Chapter 6, Part 2.

Posted by topper668 on April 17, 2014

I’d like to focus this post to the part of the chapter discussing the Apple App store. The App store is another prime example of a “closed” system in which Apple regulates what is distributed from top to bottom. I stated earlier in the semester how this can be harmful, specifically from a television or broadcasting perspective, as I’m sure my peers are equally aware of. However, for the online realm, my opinion is quite the opposite. Of course there is still the problem that the consumers choice is controlled, or at the very least limited. But that being said, you have to look at the bigger picture before you can determine if what Apple is doing is benevolent or not. There is a beauty in the open system, which is widely used across the internet and the whole industry. But there is a big side effect to this vast openness. Viruses, malware, worms, etc. All these things are essentially of no concern for an Apple user. Because Apple takes complete control, as stated in the text.

So the choice a consumer has to be wary of is exactly what they want to get out of the internet and how they want to use it. As a responsible consumer, it’s too late to complain about the lack thereof after you have already made the decision, Mac vs. PC. Apple makes there business model clear, security is just as important as openness. I disagree with what the book stated that tensions between these two models will grow. I see quite the opposite. Hopefully in the not so distant future there will be some sort of merger between these two ideas. Since openness and security are the absolute most important attributes to the online realm. As technology keeps advancing at the current rate, it will become increasingly difficult to establish one of these attributes without the other in an open OR closed system.

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Chapter 6 Pt. II

Posted by scottjones27 on April 17, 2014

The part of this chapter that interested me was where it was talking about how audiences gain benefits from the strategies through increased access to niche content. It talks about how producers collaborate with other producers to expand their horizons and try to get people’s attention. For example, Nicki Minaj is one of the biggest name out there these days with her crazy hair and outfits but just a few years ago she was a girl from the Bronx that was trying to make it big like other rappers out there. She started trying to be different in order to stand out which attracted attention from bigger name rappers like Lil Wayne and started to collaborate with them, throwing in some of her rapping in their songs. After many collaborations she came out with her first album that included Super Bass which inevitably gets stuck in your head if you even hear a small part of it. She is now one of the biggest female rappers out there and biggest rappers in general! 

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Later Part of Section 2

Posted by marshalldm on April 17, 2014

Music, in general, is an interesting topic. Local music, The Billboard Top 100, and the Grammys are all judged and thought about completely differently. What makes certain songs go so mainstream? One of the first reasons is obviously who the artist is. A song from Katy Perry could easily go mainstream. One of the most interesting main stream songs for me is the song “Lights” by Ellie Goulding. That song had been out for years and then became one of the biggest songs of the year. I think a lot of the songs that become popular go into the mainstream media due to marketing. So much of pop culture is influenced by how things are marketed. I also feel like any type of music has the potential to go mainstream. For example, the song “Ho-Hey” by the Illuminiers become extremely popular. The band and the song itself was very different than what mainstream music is usually thought about.

I feel like this blog post was very random for me, but it was just all of my thoughts.

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Posted by 1lajarvis on April 17, 2014

Being that I am a huge connoisseur of music, I believe that I have a good ear for what may be good for radio purposes and what might not be your everyday radio song. I feel as if not every song that makes it out as mainstream is not always the best to be consider a big hit. There are only a handful of artists such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Future, Kanye, & Taylor Swift who can put out any song and it becomes an automatic hit every time. Going back to what one of my colleagues stated about the Grammys, I don’t see how Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had a better album than Kendrick Lamar. I’m not being biased or anything because I actually liked Macklemore’s album but I know for a fact it was not better than Kendrick’s Good Kidd MADD City album.
Some times I believe that the people who listens and reviews what is consider as top 10 or top 100 aren’t very music savvy.
I think that when certain artists release mixtapes here and there they’re way better than their albums…and I sometimes question why didn’t they put a specific song on an album so that it could make the billboards if it hasn’t already.

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pos for 4/17/14

Posted by anthonybrickey446 on April 17, 2014

The section in this chapter on crowd sourcing really interested me. I remembered a recent Kickstarter campaign to fun a movie recently. First of all I think it’s great to be able to contribute to the production of something instead of just paying for the final result because although we may not really have much control in the production, we have a say in whether or not to contribute to that production and this is especially important when we are fans of something that might not get produced at all if we don’t. Secondly, I don’t particularly see anything wrong with the term crowd sourcing, but I see why people would, and maybe something like fan funded may be more appropriate. Anyway the campaign I recently contributed to wasn’t for the movie itself to be made but or the story board, production reel, and whatever else they needed to get the film funded by an actual studio. I remember the guy asking contributors not to donate large amounts of money and instead have a lot of little donations to make their goal because this would show that not only could they get this funded by the fans, but that there were enough fans to have a viable market for the film.

The section on Christian music was also interesting. Recently in my Sociology of Religion class we had a Baptist preacher come to give a presentation. He listed off several “prominent Baptists”, most of which were authors. After reading this chapter and realizing that these authors probably weren’t on any secular best seller lists, it caused to me wonder if maybe they’re taking advantage of their audience. I remember when I went to church when I was a child with a friend the preacher kept pausing to suggest that everyone buy this book or go see The Passion of the Christ and now I realize that using this religion people are able to promote, market and sell media to people who are convinced that they need it to fit into that religion. I know this happens in other contexts in advertising, especially beauty, and I knew that it happened in a religious context, but I just never realized how strong it was.

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Posted by ayteedee on April 17, 2014

Elberse analyzes that “hits” are hits because they offer an alternative to niche content. I don’t know if I agree with this. I’m not certain what the point of mainstream content is. It’s like they put out these songs in the Top 100, that are mostly dumbed down lyrics and typical beats. Quite a few of the artists aren’t even talented when their voices aren’t edited. Why does this exist when there’s so many artists and beautiful music that we can find on our own. Some even play on the radio too, so niche content could be hits as well. Also like she says, niche content helps us find our best friends. Mainstream can help us out at a party or public event, but that’s only because it’s what we’ve been taught. I guess our society is mostly given to us anyway, we wear what we see people in California wear, we listen to what’s top on iTunes or what our celebs tweet about, and our opinions are often formed from someone elses. Life is mainstream…

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Chapter 6 Part 2

Posted by Sarah Alford on April 17, 2014

I think this chapter was interesting in that it talked a lot about the business models of companies, basically arguing that there’s a few types for these media companies to be. But I think Elberse is wrong (what does she know about Bizet?), mainly because it’s very clear that the top hits on the radio definitely aren’t the best music being made. I mean, just look at the Grammy’s. They didn’t give it to Taylor Swift just because she had 5 hits off her album; they gave Album of the Year to Daft Punk. Granted, I’m not a big listener of either, so I have no real say on the matter, but I think that the top artists aren’t necessarily the most talented, except for like Beyonce. Just because something is mainstream doesn’t make it good. That just means that people have access to it, and maybe they like, or even love it. I just don’t think that the best stuff is available to all people, and you really have to go looking for it. But I do agree with her on the fact that we’re social creatures, so listening to the same music and watching the same media helps us bond. 

I like that Anderson’s model implies that we have this giant barrage of media, and we have to find what we like. I think Pandora is great, mainly because I never would have found some of my favorite artists otherwise. And in the sense that niche media creates “best friends,” I know that to be true, since I’ve found my closest friends usually like the same weird stuff that I do, or we have similar favorite artists (alt-j), or we both like to watch the same show (SVU) or movie, whether the media is that mainstream or not. One of my best friends showed me Gentlemen Broncos, which is just this indie film, and we bonded purely on the fact that he showed be this amazing movie that I had never even heard of, even though it starred the amazing Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords. 

On the topic of Christian music, though I am a Christian, I’ve never actually listened to any of it. Our neighbor was in this Christian music band, and I think they were nominated for a Grammy one year, but they didn’t win and it was in a category no one really cared about. He was also the music director at one of the local churches here in Bowling Green. But now, he’s a solo country act, and he was on The Voice. I think he just realized he could make more money and get a larger audience that way, but then again, I feel like he gave up his Christian roots for fame and money. I understand that making a living is important, but I definitely don’t agree with trading in your message for a paycheck. I mean, look at Katy Perry. She released a couple of albums as a Christian singer Katy Hudson a while ago, realized she wasn’t gonna get famous, so now she’s Katy Perry, international pop star with a huge fanbase and tons of money. I think people can do what they will, but then again, I try to prioritize lots of things over money.

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