Archive for April, 2011

 The rise of Web 2.0 (a newer version of the World Wide Web which allows users to interact and collaborate with each other)[i]  has challenged established communicational practices for reporting news events. It is interesting to look at the role social media has had in providing news stories to the rest of the world, particularly Twitter as a key social media communicative tool.

Today, new events are not limited to being reported by newspapers alone as social media has enabled new ecologies of practice. Twitter for example, provides a transversal between newspapers and the online community, as it transforms the way in which audiences consume news. Take a look at the recent earthquake and tsunami aftermath disaster that occurred in Japan recently. The Social media platform of Twitter provided breaking news, images and video coverage of the disaster via organised tweets and feeds.

I think the below short Youtube video “2011 Japan Earthquake as seen through Twitter”,[ii] provides a great example of the immense power Twitter has had in not only providing news to the rest of the world, but shows the magnitude of which information can be shared and consumed.

As seen in the video, in just one minute over 2300 tweets were filtered containing the key word “earthquake” following the disaster in Japan which offered the Twitter world breaking news and well-wishers offering support. This example of the 24-hour news cycle shows how valuable social media platforms are as a communicative tool and reinforces Nikki Usher’s idea from her blog How Egypt’s uprising is helping redefine the idea of a “media event”:

“The combination of social media, Internet streaming, and mainstream coverage represents a shift from simple documentation to interactivity — and a new turn in how historic events can unfold.”[iii]

[i] O’Reilly, Tim (2005), What is Web 2.0? http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html

[ii] 2011 Japan Earthquake as seen through Twitter (2011), <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrPnDhX8mgc>

[iii] Usher, Nikki (2011), ‘How Egypt’s uprising is helping redefine the idea of a “media event”’, The Nieman Lab <http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/02/how-egypts-uprising-is-helping-redefine-the-idea-of-a-media-event/>


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Framing music

Is the battle between record labels and digital music over? If so, who has won the war in the rights to music ownership and sales and is music piracy really such an issue anymore for the music industry?

The current state of the music business and thus the answer to the questions posed above has been somewhat framed by the digital media. Essentially, we can simply Google the word ‘music’ and a number of media platforms on the Internet  – blogs, news articles, websites, etc., not only provide gateways into accessing music, but also commentary on the state of the music industry today.

The title of a review in The New York Times by Dwight Garner, “When Labels Fought the Digital, and the Digital Won”, says it all. Garner comments on the main findings from Steve Knopper’s book “Appetite for Self-Destruction”, that is, “record companies could have adapted to the Internet’s brutish and quizzical new realities and thrived”[i].

The arrival of the digital age thus destined the arrival of digital music. The music industry has moved away from its original framework as a tangible item in the form of a record or CD.  New realities faced by the music industry are music file-sharing sites. Frostwire and BitTorrent are file-sharing programs that allow large amounts of music data to be easily downloaded at the click of a button. These peer-to-peer file sharing programs are examples of transversality, that is, the moving and connecting between frames[ii], in a technical form and change the way music is distributed.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald article “Music piracy war: are the big labels wasting their time?”, record labels have failed to embrace the digital age and instead continue to fight the war on piracy. Record music sales have declined in value by 31 per cent globally[iii], whilst digital music sales have boomed. Stating that there is no evidence that the decrease in sales is solely attributed to file-sharing sites and programs, the article suggests record industry “should instead focus on harnessing such technologies”[iv]. Whilst the article goes against the negative connotations associated with piracy and file-sharing, the blog, “A musician’s perspective on music piracy” assures us that piracy is still an issue for the music industry, when the blogger states, “music ‘piracy’ has given young and aspiring artists yet another headache by turning the music industry on its head and denying many of them who lack the business nous a future in music”[v].



[i] Garner, Dwight (2009), The New York Times, When Labels Fought the Digital, the Digital Won, <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/books/07garn.html?_r=2>

[ii] Murphie, Andrew (2006) ‘Editorial’, the Fibreculture Journal, 9 <http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/>

[iii] Moses, Asher (2011), The Sydney Morning Herald, Music piracy war: are the big labels wasting their time? <http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/music-piracy-war-are-the-big-labels-wasting-their-time-20110328-1ccrl.html>

[iv] Moses, Asher (2011), The Sydney Morning Herald, Music piracy war: are the big labels wasting their time? <http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/music-piracy-war-are-the-big-labels-wasting-their-time-20110328-1ccrl.html>

[v] Bradley, Dwight (2010), Sciencetext, A musician’s perspective on music piracy, <http://www.sciencetext.com/social-networking-for-musicians.html>

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