Digital Media Convergence Essay- Assessment 1- Maureen Elvy, Student Number: 42885914
Digital media convergence can be described as the merging of technologies for media consumption and according to Jenkins (2006:2) consists of the “the flow of content across multiple media platforms”. A combination of innovative technologies involving the internet, personal hand held devices such as the iPhone and applications are contributing factors in a shift in how society is now consuming media. This is evident in the world of the music video. Some academics would argue that the consumption of music video on Australian television is as strong today as it was in the 1980’s, however the choice to obtain multiple services on a single platform or device, or multiple devices for a single platform is revolutionising the digital music video and changing the online music video from the ground up. Online music and music video is bringing the artist closer to the fans, reinventing how music videos are created, marketed and giving the unheard a voice.
Internationally it is the view of some that the music video is slowly dying as the home of music video MTV adopts more and more Reality TV content. Short of its glory days of the big spectacular music video production being aired on the television, music video has joined the realms of the online virtual world. In order to survive it has been forced to adapt to changing trends in technology, culture and application. It has moved from the small screen to an even smaller screen of personal hand held devices such as Mp3 players, smart phones and tablets. This has not come at the detriment of the consumers but on the contrary has enabled easy consumption of Music TV with the creation of these multiple platform portable devices. Having functions that provide the consumer amongst other things an “anywhere on the go TV in your pocket” (Orgad 2009: 197), they enable easy access of content that would have been restricted to traditional television viewing. Music Video’s suitability for the even smaller screen may be due to its length. It is able to be viewed on demand quickly and easily on the massively successful platform of YouTube, amongst others. A multitude of Music Videos are able to be downloaded at the touch of people’s fingertips, transcending culture and global position.
YouTube and other platforms are also presenting a brewing stirring pot between the ‘commercial marketplace’ and the ‘marketplace of ideas’ (Dee 2008:8). Marketing and music executives are racking their brain to come up with new ways to embrace the new forms of media and technology of change. In order to remain they are embracing the revolution that is media convergence. Online parodies on YouTube of high production music videos are marketing gold and have the ability to become an instant online hit. They can boost the exposure of a song rapidly across the globe unlike any other medium. Millions of people can view and be exposed to the song at no extra cost to the music and marketing companies. An example of this is the highly successful ‘What makes you beautiful’ Music Video by One Direction. It has an astounding 221,438,169 views (as of 29.08.12). It’s Parody by ‘No direction’ has even had hits equivalent to nearly ¾ of the population of Australia at 17,128,735 (as of 29.08.12). Combined the global exposure to this song is incredible and what bands and executives dream of. Who’s to say if the original music video clip helped promote the parody or the parody helped promote the original video clip, regardless many eyes have been watching and ears listening.
Online Music Video as a part of media convergence is also having revolutionary effects on the artist within the music industry. It is creating opportunities, from artists been exposed to record label executives and being signed, to bridging the gap between unsigned artist and fans. It is allowing artists to retain control of ‘ownership and rights’ by cutting out the middle man (Sen 2010: 1). In conjunction with other platforms such as forums, YouTube comments and even twitter artists are able to communicate directly with fans. Due to the no need for Hi-Fi production for Music Video on YouTube artists are able to make cheap Low-Fi productions. This allows exposure to musical artists of all economical positions, opening up an array of material that may not have been on offer to the public. An example of this is the hilariously simple music video ‘Here It Goes Again’ by ‘OK Go’. It is the epitome of Low- Fi creation, exposure and marketing. It brings the artist to the audience and the audience to the artist. With an iTunes link attached to their particulars on YouTube the public are able to purchase the track.
Media convergence has changed multiple aspects of the music video industry. It has broadened the way we consume music video. No longer are we tied to a stationary device burdened by inconvenience. Innovations in technology with internet, hand held devices and applications have created an on demand online viewing experience that has revolutionised our music consumption culture. We can get the type of music that we want whenever we want. The merging of audio visual music and internet platforms such as YouTube has created opportunities in all areas of the music industry. Consumers are now spoiled with choice with a variety of music that transcends cultural and global positioning. Record labels and marketing agencies are living the dream when there artists are subject to online global exposure at little or no extra cost to them. Some artists are benefiting with the return of the reigns of control in music and music video production, exhibition and distribution. The little artists now have a voice and opportunity to compete against the large record companies. It is an exciting time for music culture and thanks to media convergence many eyes are glued to the online music video.
Dee, J. (2008), ‘Fingerprints, grace notes and YouTube: the problematic relationship between convergence and copyright laws’, Conference Papers- The National Communication Association, http://web.ebscohost.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=f241313a-d737-4d79-8ae2-b5085049892a%40sessionmgr14&vid=2&hid=15 downloaded 27 Aug 2012
Jenkins, H. (2006), Convergence Culture, New York, New York University Press, pp 1-24.
Orgad, Shani. (2009), ‘Mobile Tv: Old and new in the construction of an emergent technology convergence’, The Journal of Research into New Media, vol 15. No 2:197-214 http://con.sagepub.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/content/15/2/197.full.pdf+html downloaded 28 Aug 2012.
Sen, A. (2010), ‘Music in the digital age: musicians and fans around the world “come together” on the net’, Global Media Journal: American Edition, Vol 9, No 16:1-25 http://web.ebscohost.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=f113bc8f-d599-4fa1-a74f-92716897f283%40sessionmgr15&vid=1&hid=15 downloaded 27 Aug 2012
No Direction (2011), ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, Barely Political http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7CHfqg0wd8
OK Go (2009), ‘Here It Goes Again’, Emimusic, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTAAsCNK7RA
One Direction (2011), ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, Sony Music Entertainment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJO3ROT-A4E