The Music Industry & Synergy

Institutions & Audiences – The Music Industry

One of the vital aspects of the exam, synergy, so here are a few things to help.

This first piece is from a Media Studies book and it offers a case study of synergy in the music business. It’s a little dated now but will give you some ideas. Read it through and then apply to your own record label/artist and contemporary industry examples.

The music industry, technology and synergy (end of ch case study 257-267)

Next, check out this post from last year about Santigold’s use of interactive video technology. Here, you can explore synergy and technological convergence.


Then check out this post from last year. This should give some help.

Desperately Seeking Synergy

This article, from the Harvard Business School, states that sometimes,

The pursuit of synergy often distracts managers’ attention from the nuts and bolts of their businesses

Which means sometimes the company, or record company in our case, can get so caught up in the technological aspect of synergy that they lose attention on the actual product or brand.

They also say,

Sometimes, the synergy programs actually backfire, eroding customer relationships, damaging brands, or undermining employee morale. Simply put, many synergy efforts end up destroying value rather than creating it.

And they go to state

Most corporate executives, whether or not they have any special insight into synergy opportunities or aptitude for nurturing collaboration, feel they ought to be creating synergy.

Which means that some managers feel like they HAVE to become involved in synergy, even if the product doesn’t need it or even if it detracts from the actual product.

This is called the Synergy Bias.


UK music industry braced for Brexit

The Music Industry

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 09.32.57.png

Check this BBC article about the music industry as it gives us some fantastic research about the industry, spotify, politics and royalties. It’s solid gold!

When did you last hear live music? Stand up and be counted

The Music Industry

This is a fabulous article about live music in the digital age. Read through the article and click on the links to the UK Live Music Census  to find more research and data. Then you should collate notes on the impact of live music in the Music Industry.

When did you last hear live music? Stand up and be counted

The first ever UK Live Music Census is surveying a day’s worth of live music across the country. In a digital world with ever more ways to listen, is being there still the biggest thrill?

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 10.30.32.png

Record Store Day

Institutions and Audiences – The Music Industry

What is Record Store Day and how can we use it for our case studies? Today I’d like you to find out all about Record Store Day and apply it to your own research. Also, consider alternative arguments for the day, outlined blow.

Click the image to find out more.

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 09.14.08

Record Store Day is thriving – but could it kill our independent shops?

What began as an event for indie labels and stores to flourish has been hijacked by major labels. Now, shops and customers suffer jacked-up prices, says Sonic Cathedral label boss, Nathaniel Cramp. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 09.17.11

A Record Shopkeeper Writes: Why Record Store Day Must End  – The Quietus , March 29th, 2016 10:11

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 09.19.36.png

Music Industry Podcasts

The Music Industry

One enjoyable way of revising for The Music Industry is to regularly listen to podcasts. One of my favourites is the National Public Radio (NPR) podcast, All Songs Considered. They discuss a variety of issues as well as current trends in the music business. You can listen to them for free and download them onto your phone. Click on the images below.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.35.01

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.28.20.png

Technological Convergence

Technological Convergence is an important aspect of understanding how technology has developed. This will be important for Section B: Institutions and Audiences. Essentially, what we’re dealing with here is how one or more aspects of technology are convergence to one piece of hardware. The modern mobile phone and games console are great examples of technological […]

Technological Convergence is an important aspect of understanding how technology has developed. This will be important for Section B: Institutions and Audiences.

Essentially, what we’re dealing with here is how one or more aspects of technology are convergence to one piece of hardware. The modern mobile phone and games console are great examples of technological convergence.

I found this presentation, which outlines it pretty good so let’s take a look:


Our main question next is how does this relate to the music industry. To answer that we must consider how technological convergence affects music producers/artists/labels (the Institutions) and the consumer (the Audience)

From Wikipedia:

Technological convergence is the tendency that as technology changes, different technological systems sometimes evolve toward performing similar tasks.

Media convergence in this instance is defined as the interlinking of computing and other information technologies, media content, and communication networks that have arisen as the result of the evolution and popularization of the Internet as well as the activities, products and services that have emerged in the digital media space. Many experts[who?] view this as simply being the tip of the iceberg, as all facets of institutional activity and social life such as business, government, art, journalism, health, and education are increasingly being carried out in these digital media spaces across a growing network of information and communication technology devices.

Also included in this topic is the basis of computer networks, wherein many different operating systems are able to communicate via different protocols. This could be a prelude to artificial intelligence networks on the Internet eventually leading to a powerful superintelligence[2] via a technological singularity.

Convergent services, such as VoIP, IPTV, Smart TV, and others, tend to replace the older technologies and thus can disrupt markets. IP-based convergence is inevitable and will result in new service and new demand in the market.[3]

When the old technology converges into the public-owned common, IP based services become access-independent or less dependent. The old service is access-dependent.

Convergence culture

Henry Jenkins determines convergence culture to be the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want. The convergence culture is an important factor in transmedia storytelling. Convergence culture introduces new stories and arguments from one form of media into many. Because of this culture a single piece of media content is represented in multiple forms of media.[40][page needed] For instance, The Matrix starts as a film, which is followed by two other installments, but in a convergence culture it is not constrained to that form. It becomes a story not only told in the movies but in animated shorts, video games and comic books, three different media platforms. Online, a wiki is created to keep track of the story’s expanding canon. Fan films, discussion forums, and social media pages also form, expanding The Matrix to different online platforms. Convergence culture took what started as a film and expanded it across almost every type of media.[41]

Bert is Evil (images) Bert and Bin Laden appeared in CNN coverage of anti-American protest following September 11. The association of Bert and Bin Laden links back to the Ignacio’s Photoshop project for fun.[40][page needed]

Convergence culture is a part of participatory culture. Because average people can now access their interests on many types of media they can also have more of a say. Fans and consumers are able to participate in the creation and circulation of new content. Some companies take advantage of this and search for feedback from their customers through social media and sharing sites such as YouTube. Besides marketing and entertainment, convergence culture has also affected the way we interact with news and information. We can access news on multiple levels of media from the radio, TV, newspapers, and the internet. The internet allows more people to be able to report the news through independent broadcasts and therefore allows a multitude of perspectives to be put forward and accessed by people in many different areas. Convergence allows news to be gathered on a much larger scale. For instance, photographs were taken of torture at Abu Ghraib. These photos were shared and eventually posted on the internet. This led to the breaking of a news story in newspapers, on TV, and the internet.[41]

Media scholar Henry Jenkins has described the media convergence with participatory culture as:

…a “catalyst” for amateur digital film-making and what this case study suggests about the future directions popular culture may take. Star Wars fan films represent the intersection of two significant cultural trends—the corporate movement towards media convergence and the unleashing of significant new tools, which enable the grassroots archiving, annotation, appropriation, and recirculation of media content. These fan films build on long-standing practices of the fan community but they also reflect the influence of this changed technological environment that has dramatically lowered the costs of film production and distribution.[42]

Cell phone convergence[edit]

The social function of the cell phone changes as the technology converges. Because of technological advancement, cell phones function more than just as a phone. They contain an internet connection, video players, Mp3 players, and a camera. Another example, Rok Sako To Rok Lo (2004) was screened in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and other part of India through EDGE-enabled mobile phones with live video streaming facility.[40][page needed]

Social movement[edit]

The integration of social movement in cyberspace is one of the potential strategies of social movement in the age of media convergence. Because of the neutrality of the internet and the end-to-end design, the power structure of the internet was designed to avoid discrimination between applications. Mexico’s Zapatistas campaign for land rights was one of the most influential case in the information age; Manuel Castells defines the Zapatistas as “the first informational guerrilla movement”.[43] The Zapatista uprising had been marginalized by the popular press. The Zapatistas were able to construct a grassroots, decentralized social movement by using the internet. The Zapatistas Effect, observed by Cleaver,[44] continues to organize social movements on a global scale. A sophisticated webmetric analysis, which maps the links between different websites and seeks to identify important nodal points in a network, demonstrates that the Zapatistas cause binds together hundreds of global NGOs.[45] The majority of the social movement organized by Zapatistas targets their campaign especially against global neoliberalism.[46] A successful social movement not only need online support but also protest on the street. Papic wrote, “Social Media Alone Do Not Instigate Revolutions”, which discusses how the use of social media in social movements needs good organization both online and offline.[47]

A study title, “Journalism in the age of media convergence: a survey of undergraduates’ technology-related news habits”, concluded that several focus group respondents reported they generally did not actively engage in media convergence, such as viewing slide shows or listening to podcast that accompanied an online story, as part of their Web-based news consumption, a significant number of students indicated the interactive features often associated with online news and media convergence were indeed appealing to them.


AS Media -Institutions and Audiences – The Music Industry

How is the increasing power of artists affecting the modern day record deal – and how will that dynamic shift in future?

Artist lawyer Paul Spraggon, co-founder of SSB with clients including Adele and The Prodigy, knows exactly how he’d like things to change.

Click here to read more. And watch a discussion below: