Assignment 1: Blog 5 – Music and The Moving Image

Since the world’s first talking picture in 1927, the electronic mediation of music has been integral in moving images and impacted the consumption of recorded popular music around the world (Negus, 1996). In addition McCabe (1998) states the film Performance paved the way for future film and give voice to the sounds and meaning of its moment. However while ‘spotting’, the paradox for directors and composers is making sure audio and visual sync and complement each other so the music accentuates and enhances the dramatic narrative.

Kaplan (cited in Negus 1966, p. 87) had presumed the image dominates the music and this was, therefore, a concern for musicians. However, I would argue music psychologically heightens suspense when visual cues are placed at specific points, adding emotional impact. I would also add that music in moving images has contributed to the popularity of different genres and engages audiences, increasing viewership and music consumption. Kassabian (2008), cited in Scott (2009) states the cue sheet is an important tool in its own right and should be as detailed as possible. Film scores and soundtracks draw the audience’s attention creating to the symbiotic relationship between visual and audio media. Similarly Kassabian (2008; 2009) states it “…offers a more expansive palette”.

The return of much waited for planet earth 2 narrated by Sir David has, transformed documentary film making and juxtaposes the “…conventional documentary style” Grimes (2015). The use of musical scores in planet earth especially trailer are vivid expression of atmosphere conveying different types of moods. This evokes grandeur movement, aggression, tension, anticipation and other mood narratives. Nonetheless, it is ‘passive’ rather than ‘active’ listening. I also refer to the much talked about nail-biting scene with the newborn baby marine iguanas, being chased by a slew of racer snakes. “Music in film is powerful. It enhances emotion, signals danger, accompanies epiphany, and depicts movement. It forms the aural element of an invented world, contributing to its authenticity and it vitality (Gengano, 2013, p.vii).

“Thanks to the radio and recording technologies, music is now the soundtrack of everyday life and no law is going to change that” (Frith cited in Clayton 2012, et al, p.150). The meticulous use of ‘serious’ music with its salient effects helps the viewer/audience to reimage scenes guiding them to understand wildlife with a new perspective. The audiences are taken on a journey around the globe to places and landscapes (Islands, mountains, Jungles, deserts, grasslands and cities) that one could never have imagined possible with accompaniment from the well-orchestrated music by Hans Zimmer, a well-acclaimed composer, and original music written by Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe.

I would argue that the style and tone of music alters how a scene is perceived if used properly otherwise it may overpower the visual, narrative and be a distraction to the audience. According to Kassabian (2008), cited in Scott (2009) a cue sheet should reasonably answer the questions;

  • What do we hear that we don’t see?
  • What do we hear musically that we don’t hear verbally?
  • What do we hear musically before hearing it verbally or seeing it?
  • What is the audience perspective?

 

References

Clayton, M., Herbert, T. and Middleton, R. (2012) The cultural study of music: A critical introduction. 2nd edn. New York: Routledge.

Gengaro, C. L. (2013) Listening to Stanley Kubrick: The music in his films. Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press.

Grimes, M. (2015) Call it crass but there is no authority but yourself: De-canonizing punk’s underbelly. Punk & Post Punk, 4(2), pp. 189–204. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/punk.4.2-3.189_1.

McCabe, C. (1998) Performance. London: BFI Classics.

Negus, K. (1996) Popular music in theory: An introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Scott, D. B. (2009) The Ashgate Research Companion To Popular Musicology. London: Ashagte.

 

Bibliography

Björnberg, A. (1994) Structural relationships of music and images in music video. Popular Music, 13(01), p. 51. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s026114300000684x.

Clayton, M., Herbert, T. and Middleton, R. (2012) The cultural study of music: A critical introduction. 2nd edn. New York: Routledge.

Gengaro, C. L. (2013) Listening to Stanley Kubrick: The music in his films. Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press.

Grimes, M. (2015) Call it crass but there is no authority but yourself: De-canonizing punk’s underbelly. Punk & Post Punk, 4(2), pp. 189–204. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/punk.4.2-3.189_1.

McCabe, C. (1998) Performance. London: BFI Classics.

Mundy, J. (1999) Popular music on screen: From the Hollywood musical to music video. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Negus, K. (1996) Popular music in theory: An introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Scott, D. B. (2009) The Ashgate Research Companion To Popular Musicology. London: Ashagte.

Assignment 1: Blog 4 DIY Music Cultures and Activism

In these exponential times, digitalisation of media has been reshaped drastically, with production, distribution and consumption reaching a much wider audience “a positive boom” (Jones, 2012, p. 189). Desperate Bicycles inspired other bands saying, “it was easy, it was cheap-go to it!” (Spencer, 288-289 cited in Dunn, 2012, p.220). I would highlight the availability of online software and platforms for production and sharing such as SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, tidal, Vimeo, Google play make this possible.

Drawing on the documentary video relating to the inception of grime music ‘The Business of Grime”.

The rise and emergent of Do-it-Yourself (DIY) and Do-it-Together (DIT) music culture discourses play an important role within the music industries (Dunn, 2012) inspired by punk’s attitude. The propagation of these underground ‘resistance’ cultures is through a DIY approach and operates via collaborative groups rather than individuals as they rely on each other’s skillsets in decentralized production and distribution. DIY and DIT cultures manifest themselves in different ways through music, videos, pirate radio studios ‘zines as the big multinationals would not let grime in, “…given the genre a level of self-sufficiency” (Jones, 2012, p.187).

Research findings by Grimes (2016) suggest that fanzines or ‘zines’ are not only vehicles of subcultural communication, but also promote ‘zine editors’ as ‘organic intellectuals’ who emerge from the group to disseminate cultural work. I would add that DIY/DIT practice are vertically integrated.

Creation of not for profit autonomous spaces that are non-hierarchical allows file sharing (Manson, 2008) cultures to thrive. These cultures of ideas & ideologies reaffirm and sustain cultural identities, which challenge mainstream society and culture. Historically ‘gatekeepers’ were responsible for determining and nurturing the number of cultures that should develop around music The DIY/DIT culture arguably gives control back to the artist.

I would argue that DIY/DIT discourses provide a feasible alternative as they are developed outside the hegemonic culture and society. Furthermore it is about being true to oneself & valuing authenticity, expression, ideology & non-materialism: commercialisation is not the prime motive, the DIY protagonists Crass say. DIY/DIT cultures face co-option by mainstream music industries when they excel, as grime was once it was popularised through MOBO awards. Dunn (2012) argues it is always a struggle engaging in counter-hegemony when global capitalism seems absolute. However, music is a business and these artists will need to generate an income to operate and sustainability relies on capital if they are to make a living above all the noise where music is ubiquitous.

Grime, through its lyrics Bramwell (2015) was a way to vent anger, frustration and raise awareness for the young black minority: an anti-establishment expression of identity nothing to do with America (Collins and Rose 2016) and community borne of disenfranchisement from urban society. “Pow!’ was made out of pure frustration” (Lethal Bizzle cited in Collins and Rose 2016) Grime musicians acknowledge that they are the punk of their times, and are also synonymous with the avant-garde in music, Sabin (1999), Berger (2006) and Cross (2007) cited in Grimes, 2015, p.191). Like punk, grime also defies ceding power to the corporates by ‘going DIY all the way’.

DIY/DIT cultures are essentially political discourses empowering and giving voice to the voiceless; educational tool for particular cultural values that are outside mainstream media. “Music provides an idea of how song works on an audience “a powerful way to express experiences…ideas and emotions.” (Coertzee Life 7 cited in Drewett 2007, p. 43)

References

Bramwell, R. (2015) UK hip-hop, grime and the city: The aesthetics and ethics of London’s rap scenes. United Kingdom: Routledge.

British GQ (2016) The business of grime: Full documentary I British GQ. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_2AVogIb5c [Accessed 1 December 2016].

Collins, H. and Rose, O. (2016) This is Grime. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Drewett, M. (2007) The eyes of the world are watching now: The political effectiveness of ‘Biko’ by Peter Gabriel. Popular Music and Society, 30(1), pp. 39–51. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007760500504929.

Dunn, K. (2012a) Anarcho-punk and resistance in everyday life. punk & post punk, 1(2), pp. 201–218. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/punk.1.2.201_1.

Dunn, K. (2012b) ‘If it Ain’t cheap, it Ain’t Punk’: Walter Benjamin’s progressive cultural production and DIY punk record labels. Journal of Popular Music Studies, 24(2), pp. 217–237. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1533-1598.2012.01326.x.

Grimes, M. (2016) From Protest to Resistance: British anarcho-punk ‘zines (1980-1984) as sites of resistance and symbols of defiance. Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research Birmingham City University. Birmingham, .

Jones, M. L. (2012) The music industries: From conception to consumption. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Noisey (2014) The police vs grime music – A Noisey film. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW_iujPQpys [Accessed 1 December 2016].

 

Bibliography

Alvarez, L. (2008) Reggae rhythms in dignity’s Diaspora: Globalization, indigenous identity, and the circulation of cultural struggle. Popular Music and Society, 31(5), pp. 575–597. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007760802188272.

Bramwell, R. (2015) UK hip-hop, grime and the city: The aesthetics and ethics of London’s rap scenes. United Kingdom: Routledge.

British GQ (2016) The business of grime: Full documentary I British GQ. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_2AVogIb5c [Accessed 1 December 2016].

Burning Them Down (2011) CRASS | there is no authority but yourself. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LQ1CvwF7BQ [Accessed 1 December 2016].

Collins, H. and Rose, O. (2016) This is Grime. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Drewett, M. (2007) The eyes of the world are watching now: The political effectiveness of ‘Biko’ by Peter Gabriel. Popular Music and Society, 30(1), pp. 39–51. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007760500504929.

Dunn, K. (2012a) Anarcho-punk and resistance in everyday life. punk & post punk, 1(2), pp. 201–218. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/punk.1.2.201_1.

Dunn, K. (2012b) ‘If it Ain’t cheap, it Ain’t Punk’: Walter Benjamin’s progressive cultural production and DIY punk record labels. Journal of Popular Music Studies, 24(2), pp. 217–237. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1533-1598.2012.01326.x.

Grimes, M. (2016) From Protest to Resistance: British anarcho-punk ‘zines (1980-1984) as sites of resistance and symbols of defiance. Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research Birmingham City University. Birmingham, .

HARRISON, A. K. (2006) ‘Cheaper than a CD, plus we really mean it’: Bay area underground hip hop tapes as subcultural artefacts. Popular Music, 25(02), p. 283. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0261143006000833.

Jones, M. L. (2012) The music industries: From conception to consumption. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Noisey (2014) The police vs grime music – A Noisey film. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW_iujPQpys [Accessed 1 December 2016].

Assignment 1: Blog 3 – Pop Culture In Politics: Clinton and Trump brand themselves with music in presidential campaigns (Music and Meaning)

Certainly, when music is played at a certain time or occasion it evokes different emotions, memories, and mood, always telling a story, creating history and meaning to different people over different eras. Popular music is a universal language understood by all “the art of thinking in sounds” Jules Combarieu cited in Frith (1998). Standardisation, of pop music, means it is no surprise that it is in the midst of the recent USA presidential elections, being used as a commodity within the culture industry for mass consumption predominantly to influence voters. “Music possesses a unique power to inspire, motivate and energize a camping” (ASCAP, n.d).

In this blog, I will discuss how Donald Trump and Hillary Clintons who in an endeavor to appeal to a wider audience/voters they would not otherwise reach, try and show their personality and identity institutionalised through sound, which taps into the voter’s emotions subliminally and passivity. However, Clinton and Trump are not the first to use popular music in campaigns, reflecting on Tony Blair’s song of choice, “Things can only get better” by D:Ream in his 1997 campaign in speaking and giving meaning to the nation.

According to the Guardian (2016), Trump’s selection of artists and genre bares no links between them. Throughout her campaign, Clinton embraced the notion of being the first female president hence as desperation set in she used mostly powerful female-led pop ballad bangers opposed to ‘serious’ music listening. (Longhurst, 1995) states this music is transforming and transcendental experience where nothing is ever the same with form and content and requires concentration, whereas the chosen pop music is the opposite of that as it sweeps individuals into passivity without using reason or engage in active listening, “the music does the listening for the listener Ardono (1941). Does his music have anything to do with their proposed policies?

Clinton’s campaign selection is based on what Ardono refers to as “sell out popular music” with pop artists who seem to have found ‘the hook’, and Gendron (1986) refers to it as resembling repetition & compulsion so characteristic of childhood behavior & that serious listening is not required as this is listening purely for entertainment.

Clinton’s choice of music gives meaning to the audience of varying ages 18 – 40s who can relate to the likes of Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Jenifer Lopez, and lady Gaga. Those above 50 could relate to Madonna Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen, these musicians according to Ardono do have their own variations but are nevertheless still standardised products. The pseudo-individualisation or uniqueness of these artists is only a surface effect, but it works. Standardization is considered not only as an expression of rigidity but also as a source of pleasure Gendron (1986). The music chosen by both candidates has repeated catchy chorus that does not require the voters to actively listen.

“In popular music, the mere recognition of the form virtually guarantees full understanding, in serious music one does not achieve full understanding, until one has struggled to concentrate. (Gendron, 1986, p.iv

Music has a way of connecting with listener’s feelings at a particular time, therefore the meaning of music affect emotions both mentally and body movement, and probably deceives when actually it is the music that is doing it for them through false consciousness of the soul as it were. ‘The hook’ (Wall 2013) in this case plays an import role to lodge the song into the listener’s mind. Musical meaning is created through blocks standardised pop music where content and form play an integral part that changes thoughts, feelings and able to sway people in ways they would not otherwise do in normal circumstances.

In these campaigns, music is used like a commodity as described by Adorno (1941) where he used the analogy of the way cereal is consumed. Trump does not seek permission from musicians as is the norm, culture industry standardising the music as objects for mass consumption during his campaign rallies. A particular favorite “You can’t always get that you want” was again played soon after his acceptance speech. “Music notation is, therefore, just one among several vehicles of communicating musical thoughts” (Shutz, 2008, p.83).

screenshot-2016-11-25-17-13-05

@MickJagger (2016)

It is fair to conclude judging by the way artists (Adele, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith Steve Tyler sending a cease-and-desist letter citing that it ‘gives a false impression’) (BBC, 2016), vehemently refuse for their music and voices to be used by Trump on the campaign trail. Musicians and songwriters are primarily responsible for creating meaning in music and adding value to it. Other musicians deliberately change the content/lyrics over during the campaigns. Musical knowledge is transmitted from those upon whom the prestige of authenticity and authority has been bestowed, Shutz (2008).

 

References

BBC (2016) Rolling stones tell trump to stop using their music. BBC Entertainment & Arts, 5 May. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-36210829 [Accessed 25 November 2016].

Frith, S. (1998) Performing rites: On the value of popular music. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Frith, S. and Goodwin, A. (1990) On record: Rock, pop, and the written world. London: Routledge, 1990 (2000 printing).

Jagger, M. (2011) Mick Jagger on Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/MickJagger [Accessed 25 November 2016].

Jamieson, A. (2016) Pop for politics: How candidates brand themselves with music. The Guardian, 13 November. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/mar/01/rock-and-folk-tunes-on-the-campaign-trail [Accessed 24 November 2016].

Longhurst, B. (1995) Popular music and society. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Political campaign (2015). Available at: https://www.ascap.com/-/media/files/pdf/advocacy-legislation/political_campaign.pdf [Accessed 24 November 2016].

Wall, T. (2013) Studying popular music culture. 2nd edn. London: SAGE Publications.

 

Bibliography

ABC News (2016) Donald Trump VICTORY SPEECH | full speech as president elect of the United States. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qsvy10D5rtc [Accessed 24 November 2016].

BBC news (2016) http://www.bbc.co.uk. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38103511 [Accessed 23 November 2016].

Klinger, M. (2012) A summary of Adorno and Horkheimer’s quite interesting and staggeringly pretentious views on art. 24 November. Available at: https://themaxklinger.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/a-summary-of-adorno-and-horkheimers-slightly-interesting-and-staggeringly-pretentious-views-on-art/ [Accessed 24 November 2016].

Shuker, R. (2013) Understanding popular music culture. 4th edn. New York: Routledge.

Welsh, C. (2017) Mick Jagger responds to trump playing ’you can‘t always get what you want’ after victory speech. Available at: http://www.factmag.com/2016/11/09/mick-jagger-donald-trump-the-rolling-stones-you-cant-always-get-what-you-want/ [Accessed 25 November 2016].

Assignment 1: Blog 2 – Identity Crisis Haunts Jan Prayzah – Music and Identity

 

Chikowero (n.d) Zimbabwean music can in some ways be seen as multifaceted as opposed to one identity. The country’s postcolonial nativist structure of various ethnic groups has influenced the innumerable genres that are built on traditional music that is the ‘backbone’ and also shapes compositions and meaning through semantics.

Music has this ability to change moods the past, the present, and social activities in the different light of nostalgia. More importantly a tool for identity and structure Hesmondhalgh (2008) a positive resource of self-identity.

Mukudzeyi Mukombe AKA Jah Prayzah (JP) a multi-award winning artist and a crooner currently viewed as ‘the man of the moment,’ in Zimbabwean popular music, where he has a wide audience to communicate to. On entering the music ‘scene’/industry I would argue he created a self-image boosting his self-esteem in the hegemonic culture using the ‘mbira,’ a powerful instrument in a quest for acceptance and identity within the pervasive traditional music subculture in Zimbabwe. “Individuals utilize music to construct collective identities and ritualise identity process” (William, 2006 p.2). Furthermore music therefore plays the role of creating community identity.

“Music, then, represents a remarkable meeting point of the private and public realms providing encounters of self-identity”(Hesmondhalgh, 2008, p.4). I would add that JP wants to be unique and maybe in a way does not want to be defined by a particular genre. However, this is raising concerns amongst communities both home and diaspora who feel JP is becoming disconnected and lacking in his role as representative of national identity, compared to the way he had begun. Africa Pulse (2016) quotes JPs fandoms as saying “His music preserves our culture and our pride.” Williams (2006) states that when listening to music, individuals locate themselves in specific subcultural formations.

JPs latest song Watora Mari, with its video reaching 1 million views in just two weeks after its release (Prayzah 2016), indicates perfectly in my opinion, the notion presented by social constructive theorists that we are not stuck in a single core identity, and that this identity is continually constructed and reconstructed and changes depending on the different times we live in. Bruner (1990) states that we have a set of identities triggered through our interaction with other people through autobiographical narratives.

After only 4 years in the music industry Jah Prayzah’s identity has been fluid without staying within any particular genre. I would  describe JP as style-surfing (Polhemus 1996) hence he could be called TRUBUS (Maffesoli 1996) and is ‘mashing-up’ different cultures. JP creates an identity that is no longer just linked to the traditional music of Zimbabwe or to the role of fostering community as a priority of tribe or neo-tribes. However, manipulating and applying ideas, styles, and groups from different subcultures he states that he would like to appeal to the international audiences satisfy his individual needs, moods and identity to suit the ever-changing society. “Rather authenticity is a claim made by or for someone, thing or performance and either accepted or rejected by relevant others” (Peterson 5005, 1086) cited in Williams 2006

Music as a business where the genres and identity are merely useful in conceptualising relationships within music cultures – though not wholly adequate Hesmondhalgh (2005) as people do not always reflect outwardly their taste in music. In an interview (JP, 2016) justifies himself, “There are a few songs on the album where people will question if it was really me, just like I did on Hello.” McKerron (2003) Identities are constructed from the individuals within the group, experience, knowledge, and creativity, from the past, present and expected future.

I would also ague that JPs current identity fits with the notion that identity rather is “constructed’ rather than ‘given’, and fluid’ rather than ‘fixed’ Bennett (1999). This process of becoming (Shuker, 2013) is convenient “catch –all’ term applied to any aspect of social life in which style and music intersect.

Frivolous as music may seem, it is nonetheless wholly ubiquitous, and plays a huge part at the centre of Zimbabwe’s lifestyle, culture and tradition, and still continues to shape and address daily social discourse. Self-identity is expressed through consumption, indicating membership of constituencies (Shuker, 2013), and music is a symbolic connotative panorama of shared identity crossing all social, political, gender, ethnic, & disability boundaries.

 

References

AfricaPulse (2016) Zimbabwe: Identity crisis haunts Jah Prayzah. Available at: http://www.africapulse.com/2016/07/26/zimbabwe-identity-crisis-haunts-jah-prayzah/ [Accessed 18 November 2016].

Bennett, A. (1999) Subcultures or neo-tribes? Rethinking the relationship between youth, style and musical taste. Sociology, 33(3), pp. 599–617. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/s0038038599000371.

Chikorero, M. et all (2013) Music, performance and African identities. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

Chikowero, M. (no date) ‘I too sing Zimbabwe’: The conflict of ethnicity in popular Zimbabwean Music. Anon: Africa Research. Available at: http://www.africaresearch.org/Papers/Np02Cwr.pdf [Accessed 16 November 2016].

Jah Prayzah ft. Diamond Platnumz – Watora Mari (official video). Directed by Jah Prayzah. YouTube, 2016.

Polhemus, T. (1996) Style surfing: what to wear in the 3rd millennium. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Prayzah, J. (2016) Blog. Jah Prayzah. 24 October. Available at: http://www.jahprayzah.com/blog/ [Accessed 18 November 2016].

Shuker, R. (2013) Understanding popular music culture. 4th edn. New York: Routledge.

Smith, C. (2008) The nee African journal of new poetry. Canada: Lulu publishings.

Williams, J. P. (2006) Authentic identities: Straightedge Subculture, music, and the Internet. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 35(2), pp. 173–200. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0891241605285100.

 

 

 

Off The Record Conference and Showcase – (Manchester)

When we were informed of this event to take place on the 04th November ’16 in Manchester I was excited at the lineup of events on the website. – It was jam packed with all that I could not a have imagined. I was like a child in a candy store as I was torn apart in trying to decide what talk or workshop I would start with as the workshops and talks were running concurrently. Everything looked exciting and informative on paper and this was so on the actual day. A lot of thought clearly was put into organising the event. This was not the only thing that fascinated me, as I had not been on a train in over 15years!

 

img_6592

The event covered many aspects and issues in the music industry. Whether you are a fresh newcomer or an old hand in the industry, there was definitely something for everybody. The one thing I did not anticipate was being handed information, literally, on a silver platter, that was crucial to completing my assignment, which was due in a couple of days. This killed two birds with one stone (as they would say). This goes to prove that information is not only acquired in a lecture room.

This also gave us time as a group to get to know each other and not think about the mountains of suggested readings, assignments, and deadlines – hahaha!!. It was also perfect as we got time to speak with Matt our Lecturer and address any issues, concerns or elaborate on course content and anything we were not quite sure of (more like an extended tutorial).

After the talks and workshops we were treated to free drinks; a student’s dream. To cap it all, there were 30 bands performing live at 6 different venues all within walking distance and scheduled to run until 4am. These were upcoming artists in varying genres that could be your next favourite band or musician. Well, you cannot finish any other way on a music conference, just the cherry on the cake! ‘Superb’ and very educational.

Line up – Conference Talks and Workshops

  • How to get over the noize
  • If you are gonna do it do it right-Putting a gig on properly
  • New music from an old friend – making the most of the help that’s out there
  • In conversation with Shadez the misfit
  • Summer of love –how to get on the festival circuit
  • The label of love – In conversation with Tim Burgess and Camille Bennett
  • A match made in heaven – exploring the musician / manager relationship
  • Its more fun to compute
  • In conversation with Brian Cannon and Davis Drake
  • Q&A with Andy Burnham and Steve Rotherham
  • My generation – breaking the industry
  • In conversation with everything
  • Beginners guide to the music industry
  • Thinking beyond the chart position
  • How to land a sync deal in 9 steps
  • Seven keys to success
  • The off axis gig to network
  • Manchester MIDI school workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assignment 1: Blog 1 – Music of the times (music and materiality, listening, identity and consumption)

For years there have been debates on the minuscule royalties or remuneration to artists from online streaming (The Guardian, 2015) and downloading a freemium model, that allow access anytime anywhere. There is a lack of transparency and appreciation of musicianship and artistic integrity creating a value-gap. Robinson (2013) argued that art is coming to resemble economic production, albeit at a delayed pace, connected to the idea of authenticity. This encompasses the issue of music and materiality – physical object vs cyberspace lists. (McCourt, 2005)

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Source; http://www.nch.com.au/golden/

Music signified as a ‘thing’ has personal significance to individuals and centrality in everyday life there is never a day that ends and I haven’t had interaction with music through; alarms, driving, worshiping etc. According to Bennett and Rogers (2015), say sound has an ambient presence in our lives. Both in space and time. The idea of a ‘music industry’, ‘consumer society’ and ‘identity’ engage aspects of social discourse around how music is produced, packaged and listened to. However, Walter Benjamin (1968) argues that when something becomes mass-produced it loses its aura (value). Similarly, Ardono (1947) argued that art and industry cannot be intertwined and considers this passive culture or low culture

The inextricable short history of musical recordings and palpable mediums such as vinyl (LP)-Cassette-CD-iPod-MP3 in the past fast eclipsed each other within the music business. I grew up in a home with a large collection of vinyl which am proud my parents have kept unfortunately due to technological advancement we have nowhere play these but each one carries precious memories. For forty odd years, vinyl had been an obsolete medium having lost commercial clout and value. However, different music sub-cultures in various locales such as Jamaica, New York, Detroit, Manchester, and London reshaped and invigorated the survival of the vinyl record as an essential medium and object of consumption in the recycling and flowering of music genres such as Dub reggae, Hip-hop, Trance, and Hardcore. Bartmanski and Woodward (2014) describe the vinyl as a ‘cultural’ and ‘auratic’ object. “Records are inanimate until you put a needle in the groove, and then they come to life” (Eisenberg, 2005, p.3).

According to McCourt (2005) the controversial disembodying digitalised interfaces, (which impact resolution), this is like photocopied document), however, allows reproduction of music into various forms, impacts what we hear, our perceptions, and engagement. Commercialisation means consumers will accept inferior ‘goods’ (Ardono, 1998) as these alter the sound quality, compression, bit-rate in order to achieve a reduced tactile and visual aspects, which in the modern society, can be viewed as more practical, portable and fits in a pocket. Research by Taylor (2015) shows that most people actively make a conscious choice to purchase vinyl and cassettes as it correlates with the notion that it is a retro-cool and a hybrid artefact that adds emotion by carrying a story. This connects with the culture and practice of Physicality, collectability, convenience and participation in the scene. Concurrently Miller (2012) states its important to understand how and why people consume, in order to understand the kinds of cultures they inhabit and create. These views have also been echoed has also been Frances Moore chief executive of IFPI in their 2015 annual report.

Re-emergence of vinyl and cassettes as physical objects are to be kept for memorabilia, nostalgia and sentimental reasons giving meaning and identity through a historical connection, which I can relate to our own collection. Collecting (archival) and deliberately purchasing these, appreciates and recognises the creator, musical and artistic integrity, however, this ritual experience in now lost in the modern generation of downloads and streaming.

screenshot-2016-11-13-20-33-10

Source;www.gizmodo.com

In light of this online (downloads and streaming) allows musicians to organically grow, reach a wider audiences and,- creates followers at the click of a button. However, this adds extra work for musicians, as they have to create schedules and consistently upload content on various social networking platforms to engage audiences in keeping with the times. This ‘Catch 22’ situation leaves musicians in a predicament to offer music that is of poor quality because of the sampled information, compromising the artistic integrity and authenticity this is something most people don’t realise that there is a distinct difference from analogue and digital. In my opinion the Intangible media like downloads and streaming which are infinite cyberspace list restricts the income to artist. In contrast physical objects like vinyl or cassettes bring greater benefit to the creators (merchandise) they also have more intimate listening experiences for fandoms.

 

 

References

Adorno, T. W. and Simpson, G. (1998) On popular music: I. The musical material. 2, pp. 17–48. Available at: http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/SWA/On_popular_music_1.shtml [Accessed 10 November 2016].

Bartmanski, D. and Woodward, I. (2013a) The vinyl: The analogue medium in the age of digital reproduction. Journal of Consumer Culture, 15(1), pp. 3–27. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1469540513488403.

Dredge, S. (2016) How much do musicians really make from Spotify, iTunes and YouTube? The Guardian, 13 October. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/apr/03/how-much-musicians-make-spotify-itunes-youtube [Accessed 11 November 2016].

Eisenberg, E. (2005) The recording angel: Music, records and culture from Aristotle to Zappa, Second edition. 2nd edn. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

iainataylor (2015) From analogue to digital, from pragmatism to symbolism – the cassette tape as a hybrid Artefact in contemporary popular music. 1 July. Available at: https://iainataylor.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/from-analogue-to-digital-from-pragmatism-to-symbolism-the-cassette-tape-as-a-hybrid-artefact-in-contemporary-popular-music/ [Accessed 10 November 2016].

McCandless, D. (2016a) How much do music artists earn online? — information is beautiful. Available at: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/how-much-do-music-artists-earn-online/ [Accessed 11 November 2016].

McCourt, T. (2005) Collecting music in the digital realm. Popular Music and Society, 28(2), pp. 249–252. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007760500045394.

Miller, D. (2012) Consumption and its consequences. Malden, USA: Polity Press.

Robinson, A. (2013) Walter Benjamin: Art, aura and authenticity. 14 June. Available at: https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/walter-benjamin-art-aura-authenticity/ [Accessed 10 November 2016].

 

Bibliography

Adorno, T. W. and Simpson, G. (1998) On popular music: I. The musical material. 2, pp. 17–48. Available at: http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/SWA/On_popular_music_1.shtml [Accessed 10 November 2016].

Barlow, S. and Schofield, S. (2015) Cover Taylor Swift photo. . Available at: http://www.ifpi.org/downloads/Digital-Music-Report-2015.pdf [Accessed 11 November 2016].

Bartmanski, D. and Woodward, I. (2013a) The vinyl: The analogue medium in the age of digital reproduction. Journal of Consumer Culture, 15(1), pp. 3–27. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1469540513488403.

Bennett, A. and Rogers, I. (2015a) Popular music and Materiality: Memorabilia and memory traces. Popular Music and Society, 39(1), pp. 28–42. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007766.2015.1061339.

Dredge, S. (2016) How much do musicians really make from Spotify, iTunes and YouTube? The Guardian, 13 October. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/apr/03/how-much-musicians-make-spotify-itunes-youtube [Accessed 11 November 2016].

Eisenberg, E. (2005) The recording angel: Music, records and culture from Aristotle to Zappa, Second edition. 2nd edn. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

iainataylor (2015) From analogue to digital, from pragmatism to symbolism – the cassette tape as a hybrid Artefact in contemporary popular music. 1 July. Available at: https://iainataylor.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/from-analogue-to-digital-from-pragmatism-to-symbolism-the-cassette-tape-as-a-hybrid-artefact-in-contemporary-popular-music/ [Accessed 10 November 2016].

McCandless, D. (2016a) How much do music artists earn online? — information is beautiful. Available at: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/how-much-do-music-artists-earn-online/ [Accessed 11 November 2016].

McCourt, T. (2005) Collecting music in the digital realm. Popular Music and Society, 28(2), pp. 249–252. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007760500045394.

Miller, D. (2012) Consumption and its consequences. Malden, USA: Polity Press.

Morgan, B. (2016) Four key digital challenges for the music industry in 2016. Available at: http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/01/25/four-key-digital-challenges-for-the-music-industry-in-2016/ [Accessed 10 November 2016].

PEIM, N. (2008) Walter Benjamin in the age of digital reproduction: Aura in education: A Rereading of ‘the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction’. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 41(3), pp. 363–380. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9752.2007.00579.x.

Pocket-lint and Betters, E. (2016) High-res audio: What is it and which streaming services offer it? Available at: http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/133842-high-res-audio-what-is-it-and-which-streaming-services-offer-it [Accessed 11 November 2016].

Robinson, A. (2013) Walter Benjamin: Art, aura and authenticity. 14 June. Available at: https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/walter-benjamin-art-aura-authenticity/ [Accessed 10 November 2016].

Smith, J. A. (no date) Music has its destiny on collecting audio in a digital age. . Available at: http://www.iaml.info/sites/default/files/pdf/jeremy-smith.pdf [Accessed 10 November 2016].

 

 

 

 

 

Popular Music Heritage and Archiving

It has become apparent for years that popular music heritage culture of the past present and future is at risk and faces a slow desolate death yet ironically music plays and integral part in everyday life with so much talent, memories both tangible and intangible. Music heritage more so amongst the ‘ordinary’ people (as you don’t have to be rich or famous to make or enjoy music) is important in understanding, remembering; moods, social, cultural, places, lifestyle, food, fashion, language or types people during a particular era. It is worth noting that as music history does not only happen in buildings but encompassed a whole plethora of activities and events surrounding music making. Compared to other forms of heritage most institutions in countries all over the world music heritage is one that is never given its fair share of care, love and treatment it so deserves and is the least of priorities.

screenshot-2016-10-25-07-21-08

There are two distinct types of music archival practices; the first and probably the conventional is physical locations and these are also divided into 2 categories; physical authorised and physical do-it-yourself (DIY) a term coined by Baker and Huber (2013a) cited in Collins and Baker (2015). The second music archival practice is digital and online with three salvaging activities; online institutional (officially authorised), online community (self-authorised) and informal (unauthorised). Collins (2016) argues use a bottom-up approach of “doing-it-together” (DIT) and DIY philosophy connecting through FB that allows prodigious amounts to content be shared with a broader view. In each practice the latter has community has no economic attachment rather built on passion, personal experience as a collective usually started by activist archivists the likes of Birmingham-born Jez Collins.

One wonders whether is it the musician’s fault, institutions or the public at large. It goes without say that it is a challenge and almost impossible to create comprehensive archives for collecting, preserving, sharing that is sustainable in the long-term. Zimbabwe, as mentioned in my previous blog, suffers economically without a currency of its own at present and many other issues that make it difficult for musicians or volunteers to venture into any form of activity that may not raise eyebrows from the government, however genuine. The folk music (archive of the memory) was passed from generation to generation these intangible archives are also at risk in this age of technology. History and culture are written through lyrics in music making, understanding of one’s own history allow inspiration and influence. Legendary musicians like Oliver Mtukudzi have created a Facebook (FB) pages and Twitter where he shares his recordings, flyers etc., however, upcoming musicians are also doing the best they can using online resources Zee Guveya and Heritage survival band.

Other enthusiasts the likes of Professor Fred Zindi, Joyce Jenje Makwenda to name a few, have written books to preserve some this musical heritage culture. There are also other physical authorised archives such the International Library of Afrikan Music founded by Hugh Tracey (now attached to Rhodes University in Grahamstown). However sad to note, that a country so rich with musical heritage culture would not have much to show for it.

Social Media

There are barriers and limitations with digital and online archiving due to copyright law. There are different approaches to collecting, archiving and preserving, which proves a to be a real challenge. There are not enough volunteers or custodians available to Mann and maintain these spaces. They require time, funding. Should anything happen to these aging generations, be it ill health, death aging or if the owners of the corporate site such as FB, MySpace, Soundcloud, twitter, blogs, Facebook, YouTube decides to pull the plug, go bankrupt or crash a whole history will be wiped from the face of the world in the blink of an eye. (Baker and Huber 2012; cited in Collins 2015). States…also at risk is the accumulated vernacular knowledge and expertise held within the communities that form and are sustained by these practices. Musicians, enthusiasts and activist archivists have their own reservations when it comes to handing over their archives institutions for fear that they are notorious for breaking collections, burying collections, losing, and subsumed. Hence sustainability remains a challenge for both physical and digital archiving it is, however, impossible to archive everything that pertains to popular music culture this can only be partial or selective.

 

References and Bibliography

Baker, S. and Huber, A. (2013a) Notes towards a typology of the DIY institution: Identifying do-it-yourself places of popular music preservation. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(5), pp. 513–530. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367549413491721.

Baker, S., ed. (2015) Preserving popular music heritage: Do-it-yourself, do-it-together. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

Baker, S. and Collins, J. (2015) Sustaining popular music’s material culture in community archives and museums. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 21(10), pp. 983–996. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2015.1041414.

Baker, S. and Collins, J. (2016a) Popular music heritage, community archives and the challenge of sustainability. International Journal of Cultural Studies, pp. 1–16. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367877916637150.

Baker, S. and Collins, J. (2016b) Popular music heritage, community archives and the challenge of sustainability. International Journal of Cultural Studies. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367877916637150.

Celebrating Birmingham’s popular music history (2016) Available at: http://www.birminghammusicarchive.com [Accessed 17 October 2016].

ILAM (no date) Available at: http://ilam.africamediaonline.com/page/aboutus [Accessed 17 October 2016].

International library of African music (ILAM) (2015) Available at: http://musicinafrica.net/directory/international-library-african-music-ilam [Accessed 17 October 2016].

Heritage survival (no date) Available at: http://www.heritagesurvival.co.uk/default.html [Accessed 22 October 2016].

new, 2016 and require (2016) Tuku Musik official. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/tukumusik/ [Accessed 16 October 2016].

Posted and Baker, S. (2012) Jez Collins on ‘activist archivism’. Available at: http://diyarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/jez-collins-on-activist-archivism-at.html [Accessed 17 October 2016].

Rhodes (2015) ILAM, Rhodes university. Available at: http://www.ru.ac.za/ilam/ [Accessed 17 October 2016].

User, S. (2016) Roof contact Info. Available at: http://www.archives.gov.zw/index.php/sections/records?showall=&start=1 [Accessed 18 October 2016].