Tuesday, 23 November 2010

How does the modern audience consume music and music videos?

Due to post modern ideas of identity the audience demographic has become hugely fragmented and is no longer one large group. People as a whole used to divulge themselves in music through only one way which would be in concert because technology simply couldn’t permit any other way, however technology has recently taken off and a huge amount of new gadgets are now available at affordable prices to make the consumption of music portable and widely available.

Not so long ago a mass concert would be put on for the fans where you could go to see your favourite artist or group. This method is still used however there are now thousands of venues huge and small to accompany the niche audiences which have seized the music industry. The reason that music wasn’t such a massive industry and why there were only a select number of audience demographics is because only very successful bands and artists could afford to advertise and put on a concert. The appeal for a concert was massive for several reasons: no two live shows are the same down to location and the atmosphere of the crown. Fans all share the same experience, the feeling of a live concert cannot be replicated through technology. Concerts grant the ability for the artist to hold a close relationship with their audience.

The audience began to consume music in different ways when the technology available began to change. The first invention was the television this provided fans to watch music videos from the comfort of their own homes with the family for a minimal cost, the viewer could also re watch their favourite artist over and over again. This looses the uniqueness and the close relationship the artist had with the fans. However the more channels dedicated to music videos means that less known artists get their chance to become known to the audience’s. Bands now have a new way of advertising them selves. This development began to increase the amount of concerts being put on for smaller and larger bands giving the audiences more choice as to who they want to watch and become involved with. However one problem is the music that can be viewed was heavily mediated and controlled by the broadcasting company which meant that only the popular music genres would be played. For example a metal band wouldn’t gain any coverage so there was still a massive whole in the market which needed to be developed.

When the technology age hit there was a boom in gadgets specifically designed for music and video. The music age is now fully portable and the audiences can carry around a gate way to anything and everything available in the world. I am going to refer to Apple’s I phone as an example of the audiences new found consumption method. The I phone is a mobile telephone designed and distributed by the company apple. However this piece of technology is much more than a phone. It has a camera so the audience can take pictures of the world as they see it. It also has an instant connection to the internet meaning the audience can search for anything they desire or research on the music they like and find out about other bands which they are not familiar with. It also serves as a media player with a regular 3.5mm headphone jack the audience can upload their favourite music and music videos and watch them alone or using the inbuilt speaker with friends and family. When entering ‘music’ into an online search engine the response is incredible there are millions of dedicated music sites where audience members can either listen to music or buy the music and add it to their media players. Unsigned or unheard of artists can now advertise themselves on websites and get the coverage they want, there are also thousands of niche genre websites dedicated to one specific genre. The audience now has full control over the music they consume; they can tailor specific play lists and share them with the world through the click of a button.

Even though technology has dramatically improved the original methods are still hugely popular there are hundreds of music dedicated channels on the television, which can even be watched on demand and recorded and watched back. But perhaps the most successful method still used is the live concert. Currently the music festival scene is incredibly popular. With a huge amount of choice provided and locations. There are a handful of large commercial festivals but more surprisingly hundreds of niche festivals the development and popularity increase in festivals is down to the audiences demand to see their favourite artists live on stage. Walking down the street in any city you can see the colourful entrance bands around thousands of people’s arms; this is a signifier for how popular the festivals are. The fragmented demographics have provided a need for more and more festivals and websites dedicated to promoting artists. And concerts to allow the fans to have a relationship with their audiences


  1. I missed this blog post, Harley.

    You've used concepts of audience well to explore how media/ music consumption has shifted. Good understanding shown.

    One sentence I'd like you to look again at: "Due to post modern ideas of identity the audience demographic has become hugely fragmented and is no longer one large group." This sentence implies that the change has taken place BECAUSE OF ("due to") postmodern ideas of identity. This needs rephrasing: it is not postmodern ideas that caused this change, but rather postmodern ideas are a way of understanding the change. So perhaps rephrase in terms of "A postmodern understanding of identity and audience consumption would argue that..." and then examine the fragmentation of audiences.

  2. Harley - Below are the comments I gave you back in late October about your audience research. Note the grade and also the final sentence: you need your audience profile to be on your blog by Thursday lunchtime if you are to raise this grade. That is the final deadline.

    Harley Evans – D- grade
    There is some good reflection on the marketing of different ska bands but this is underdeveloped and does not fully examine the representations or how you can draw upon this to promote your own act. You need to put your own act within the context of other ska acts. Audience profile is absent, and the grade is consequently suppressed as a result.