During the one class without a midterm this week, we watched an episode from the Netflix adopted series, Black Mirror. A brief overview of the episode displayed a world of hyperbolic social media. People rate each other on a scale of one to five based solely off social interactions. While this wouldn’t be important if the rating scale only determined popularity on social media, but in this society having higher ranks can give you more privilege. Privileges such as being able to rent nice cars and being extra accommodated in a place of service. The episode also exaggerated a new social norm in the world that personally bothers me.
People nowadays broadcast a highlight reel of their entire lives on Instagram and Facebook and twitter through captions, photo sharing, and microblogging. Instagram especially comes under fire due to it’s photo/live-story sharing structure. These platforms where people are plastering their happiest memories and their grandparent’s passing are allowing us to become more aware of what others are doing versus what we ourselves could be doing. When viewing the Instagram story of your favorite influencer, recording artist, or your best friend on vacation in the DR – you’ve got envy in your eyes. Social media began conversations about people’s day to day without them even bringing it up. Social media, being the highlight reel that it is, also makes people feel extreme FOMO (fear of missing out). Youth culture is full of parties, romance, and your overall prime. Instagram stories featuring happy couples inspire and heartbreak the lonely, parties broadcast live make the ones at home feel left out, and sharing photos of your gorgeous vacations around the world make your friend who can’t afford to travel rather jealous.
Media, like any other industry, needs some form of financing to keep itself afloat. Media industries is a broad term encompassing how film, music, television, video games, etc. are financed. Media’s strength in the eyes of advertisers is the fact that media is what appears instantly on the screens that are always in front of our faces. Media hold the power to send influential messages to whoever opens that specific app, television show, or YouTube channel. Advertisers want to advertise where there message and their 30 second ads can be shown to you before you get to the content you’re actually wanting to watch. The freemium model has also been shown to becoming even more effective in the media industry. Video games and apps are the main perpetrators of this. The freemium models take media content that is originally free and ass built-in optional purchases to enhance your gaming experience. Clash of Clans has its lengthy wait times, free PSN games have purchasable add-ons, and all comes with their own form of cryptocurrency that can only be used in-game and cannot be refunded. Music services such as Pandora and other music streaming apps are free to use as long as you don;t mind the commercial breaks as if you’re listening to FM radio. A premium account, however, with a monthly fee can wipe all those ads ff your listening as well as let you skip as many songs as you don’t like.
This week the regulations of media industries was examined. Overall, regulations is a term that is an umbrella term for every law, policy, or guideline that need to be followed by media companies. The regulators, those who make sure regulations are being followed, are governments, international governments, and government-allowed self-regulation. The American government has set up specific agencies to catch any swaying from the regulations. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates content and industry’s involving in ownership and licensing. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), however, watches over the industry like a hawk to prevent any monopolies, price gouging, or monopolies formed by collaboration.
Soon in the music industry, the president, with Kanye West by his side, is expected to sign the Music Modernization Act. The details of The Act aren’t yet revealed but it builds upon existing language originally created in 1972 guaranteeing artists 50% of performance royalties from SiriusXM. The Act’s significance is due to the fact that any pre-1972 recordings on SiriusXM’s satellite weren’t eligible for royalties at all. The newly signed Act will be put in place until 2027 where it will be reviewed once again.
This week in class we wrapped up our discussion on media economics and began talking about grassroots media organizations and participatory culture. When I think of grassroots media organizations – I cant help but think of smaller independent record labels. There are huge media conglomerates, such as Sony, that have record labels attached to their company. Independent labels, or indie labels, are much smaller and focus on creating and generating content for their musical artists. Artists such as Adele, Young Thug, Jack White, and Arctic Monkeys are all signed to independent record labels.
Participatory culture is a big contributor to the music industry. Millions of people cover famous songs and upload them across the internet. Not only does this allow for the content to be interactive, but the attention that some cover artists get will inevitably circulate back to the original song. Music often inspires art as well. Songs can inspire artists and attribute inspiration to a song. And, while going to a concert doesn’t exactly fit the definition of participatory culture, because it’s an event fans are attending not creating content, it does allow for unique content to be created. Concerts are the closest and most intimate most fans can get with their favorite artists and they’ll want to document the experience on their cell phone. Artists, while on stage, will occasionally communicate with fans and talk to them from behind the microphone. Breaking from their own discography, artists might also cover songs that aren’t their own while on stage which allows for truly unique content to be created (and most likely spread) among the fandom.