Rachael Sharp - 42853796
Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to one of the following: Advertising & New Media or Music Video Online.
‘Digital Media Convergence’, is a phrase often thrown around when addressing the changing media landscape. But what does it actually mean? Dwyer (Media Convergence, 2010) defines the concept as “ the process whereby new technologies are accommodated by existing media and communication industries and cultures.” Furthermore, it is about the consumer becoming the producer hence breaking this barrier. This movement has come about due to the increasing popularity of the Internet and Web 2.0. Web 2.0 has had a significant effect on all media types and laid the foundations for a convergent culture. Yet, this new convergent culture is entwined with both positives and negatives. One of those negatives is the effect on Music Video. Music Video due to the impact of convergence has made the move to online through social media websites like Youtube. Ultimately, eradicating the music video channels like MTV. Despite this however, the industry remains strong in Australia due to the public broadcaster ABC and their show Rage. This raises the question as to why Music Video remains a successful industry in Australia despite this convergent culture? Nonetheless, digital media convergence has changed the media whether it has been for good is a question yet to be answered.
Web 2.0 and its significance on media convergence
The Internet has had a significant role in the concept of digital media convergence. Since, its beginnings in the 1990s the Internet has continued to change and progress improving both media and communication industries. But it is only since Web 2.0 that the power of the Internet has been noticed. Caroline Bassets in her article “New Maps for Old?: The Cultural Stakes of ’2.0′”, describes the 2.0 model as an extension of earlier forms. She acknowledges that what set the model apart was its convergent nature and its ability to turn the consumer into the producer. Web 2.0 allows for increased online interactivity as people could “now routinely create, borrow, share and even steal content that has been created by others” (Nightingale and Dwyer, 2007). This in itself holds both positives and negatives. As a result new consumers became active. A key development to this approach is the emergence of social media sites like Facebook and Youtube. Youtube specifically, has allowed consumers to produce original content as well as watch and share content from the television or other media areas. This convergent nature allows the consumer to receive and watch media information when and where they want. They are no longer restricted by broadcasting schedules or producers. For example, mobile TV, has increased the mobility of all consumers. Despite these clear benefits, digital media convergence also has had negative impact on many broadcasting industries particularly that of music video.
Music Video- the movement to online?
Digital media convergence has facilitated the decline of some traditional broadcasting methods, due to the convenience and speed of new media. This movement has had a significant effect on the music video industry especially channels such as MTV. When MTV launched on August 1st 1981, it opened up a new industry that was a “new means of extending the unique aesthetic possibilities of the avant-garde formerly restricted to independent film-making and video art” (Kinder, 1984). Not only did music video help the success of the music but also it often launched the artists into stardom. Key music video artists like Michael Jackson and Madonna became music video icons. Michael Jackson in particular with his video Thriller (1983) revolutionised MTV itself, which before was “white dominated” (Dr Liz Giuffre) and also developed the demand for music video. Yet as the industry developed, music video became a professional industry and required massive production budgets. The highest exceeding, US $7,000,000, for Michael and Janet Jackson’s music video Scream in 1995. Hence, to make it onto MTV, videos were expected to be of a certain standard. Due to digital media convergence and the movement to online, the music industry could no longer sustain these huge production costs. MTV, therefore, was required to adapt, now no longer playing the music video’s they used to. Online was simply easier, faster and could be done lofi. Music videos that were made specifically for online were all about the “gimmick and spectacle” (Dr Liz Giuffre), an example of this is Vampire Weekend’s Cousins. Online allows for unknown or alternative artists to enter the music industry. However, this was at the loss of MTV.
Despite, this shift to online across the globe, Australia’s music video industry remains successful and is in fact thriving. This ultimately leads to the question, why? In Australia, the industry has been making music video’s since the 1970s and has a number of successful programs, from GTK to Countdown and finally to Rage. All three of these programs were launched on the public service broadcaster (PSB), ABC. This in itself is significant, as a PSB “should be operated only in the ‘public interest’” (Jacka, 2006). Hence, are more likely to show budding artists. In addition, due the Australian music industry lack of funds in comparison to the US, there has always been a place for lofi and low budget videos on television. However, this is not the main reason Rage remains relevant in Australia. It is its ability to adapt to the new convergent landscape. Rage isn’t just music, it has entered into a number of diverse and new platforms including online, mobile, radio, DVD and apps. It captured this digital media convergence trend and used it to its advantage. Ultimately allowing Rage to remain significant in the Australian media and music landscape.
The phenomenon of digital media convergence has changed the media landscape around the world. It has allowed for a level of interactivity and consumer control that has never been seen before. The consumer ultimately has the power, through the Internet and Web 2.0, to produce, watch and share media media content whenever and wherever they want. Despite the obvious benefits with this shift for the consumer, digital media convergence has also led to the decline of some previously successful industries. A key example of this is the music video industry. Here, it is apparent, due to MTV no longer showing music videos as the cost of production is to high and the rise of online music video. Despite this it is not only the fault of this new phenomenon but the channels hesitation to adapt. As music program Rage successfully did in Australia. Through this example it is clear that digital media convergence has had both positive and negative effects. Hence, it ultimately comes down the individual or company to use it to their advantage.
Basset, C. (2012) New Maps for Old?: The Cultural Stakes of '2.0'. The Fibreculture Journal, (13)
Dwyer, T. (2010) Media Convergence, McGraw Hill, Berkshire, pp 1-23
Hilderbrand, L. (2007) 'Youtube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright Converge', Film Quarterly, Vol 61, pp 48-57
Jacka, Elizabeth (2006) “The Future of Public Service Broadcasting,” in Stuart Cunningham and Graeme Turner (eds) The Media and Communications in Australia (second edition), Allen & Unwin, Sydney, pp 344-56
Jenkins, H. (2006) Convergence Culture, New York, New York University Press, pp 1-24
Kinder, M. (2012) Music Video and the Spectator: Television, Ideology and Dream. Film Quarterly, 38 (1), p.2-15
Juxtaculture (2010) Top 3 creative low budget music videos. | This Thing Might Be Cool.. [online] Available at: http://mightbecool.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/top-3-creative-low-budget-music-videos/ [Accessed: 27 Aug 2012]
MJJ Productions (1995) Michael Jackson Scream. [video online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P4A1K4lXDo
watvhistory.com (2012) Internet TV. [image online] Available at: http://watvhistory.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/InternetTV.jpg.
XLRecordings (2012) Vampire Weekend Cousins. [video online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e0u11rgd9Q.