Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Record Labels - Major vs Independent...

In Wednesday's lesson, we looked at record labels. We studied and compared the difference between major and independent record labels…

We were given this quote and asked to analyse it and find out the jobs record labels do for their artists.

"Record labels are media institutions and they are also commercial organisations"

This quote to me, means that a majority of record labels care mainly about the money they can make from their artists, more than the comfort and treatment of their artists. As long as their artists are doing what the label are saying, money will be coming in and the label are happy.
After giving our opinion, we researched into record labels and found out how they actually do business and treat their artists. The following points are what we found out Record Labels do:

-Firstly they use talent scouts to find new artists which they can sign for there Record Labels. Yet again, sadly, it is not always on their talent that they are signed up, but if they fit the criteria of an artist who will sell.

-They then help with the management of the bands/artists to help find gigs and shows to do with them. This is to gain them confidence and get them heard.

-They then help with the production, manufacture and distribution of records and albums which the band/artist releases. Unfortunately, again the band may not have much of a say on how they produce their records.

-Also the marketing and promotion of the records and albums with things such as music videos, which are fully funded for by their Label.

-And then they also give the band/artist copyright protection, which stops people using any thing affiliated with them unless they are paid for. Still, their key aim of making money.

Major Labels

The three biggest and most prolific labels are; 

  2. Universal Music Group 
  3. Warner Music Group  

These labels are known/recognised as 'The Big Three'. These three labels own so many subsidiary labels, that at one point, they actually owned over 75% of all music released within a year.

Independent Labels...

The other type of record label which there is the minor or independent record labels, these are the much smaller record labels which work without the use of the big four funding them. These record labels tend to have more artists which are beginning their careers as they allow the artist much more freedom and control.  

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Jay-Z music video. Goodwin analysis

The following points are key elements to Andrew Goodwins theory. I am now going to analyse Jay-Z's video to his song '99 problems'.
  1. Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics (e.g. dance routine for boy/girl band).
  2. There is a relationship between lyrics and visuals.
  3. There is a relationship between music and visuals.
  4. The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close ups of the artist and the artist may develop motifs which reoccur across their work.
  5. There is frequently reference to notion of looking (screens within screens, telescopes, etc.) and particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body.
  6. There is often intertextual reference (to films, TV programmes, other music videos etc.) 
Goodwin's theory suggests that the lyrics in a song constantly make references to the visuals on the screen as they reinforce what the lyrics say. Genre and characteristics are mentioned in Goodwin's theory, and these are depicted as the certain traits associated with a particular music genre. For example, in a rock video you will expect to see a live performance of the band playing, along with the characteristics being a lot of black clothing, long hair, boots and other smaller things such as tattoos. Along with the genre characteristics, there is also music videos being narrative based. This means that aswell as what the artist/band is wearing and doing in the music video, the narrative brings the whole video together and explains the story of the music video which is especially important for the audience so that they understand what is happening.            

Straight away, the audience can tell that this song fits straight into the 'rap' genre just from the costume worn in the video. Items of clothing such as baseball caps, baseball jackets and baggy jeans, as well as accessories like diamond earrings and chains are on show.

The video has an overall 'gangster' feel to it. We get this feeling as the whole video is shot in black white. There is no colour in the video which gives it a dark and almost dangerous feel to it. The 'gangster' feeling is portrayed an many other ways too. It is set in Brooklyn, where Jay-Z is from. This gives the feel as if he has gone home, and what we see in the video, are memories he is reminiscing from his childhood. Brooklyn is famously known for being a rough place, swarming with gang crime and other criminal related elements. This is proven from the content in this video. Within the video, we also see dog fighting and women flaunting their sex appeal. This exemplifies the lower-class area and danger of Brooklyn.


Throughout the song, there is a strong relationship between the visuals and lyrics. For example, one lyric in the song is "I try to ignore, I talk to the lord". When these lyrics are sung, an image of a chrome Lord Jesus appears. 

Also, whenever the word 'bitch' is said, a majority of the time, a woman or women will be shown. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Adorno & Horkheimer...

Adorno and Horkeimer are philosophers from Germany who are renowned for their work on the Culture Industry and their book "Dialectic of Enlightenment" which is also mostly about the cultural industry.

Adorno and Horkeimer wrote a book, in which featured content of their argument that the culture industry exhibits an "assembly-live character which could be observed in the synthetic". This means that the culture is made through the culture industry and are created like mass created factory products on an assembly line. They are made in a certain way and the big corporations have a planned method of turning out its product. 

They believe that products produced by the culture industry have standardized features within them all. And they believe there is nothing different or spontaneous about each individual one and that it has become a routine operation that can be done by anyone with the "specific formulae".

Adorno and Horkeimer both notice that most products released now days become standardized, relating to this Adorno has also said songs become more successful over time because of standards and because of carefully thought out sequences which frequently recur in songs like patterns. Which make the songs all similar in a certain way.  

Adorno and Horkheimer also believe the culture industry allows people to become "masses" and be easily manipulated by capitalist corporations and authoritarian governments. They believe that they have control over the cultural norm. Which in my opinion is true, this can be seen all around the world as from when a small trend come out it starts to become the cultural norm because everyone has to have it for example a new pair of Nike shoes or even the iphone this is all being backed and pushed further by the big capitalist corporations who stand to make money from the cultural trends of the world. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A brief summary of our project...

For this years assignment, I need to create a music video for a song that was released at least 5 years ago. I am working with Sam Donovan and will be creating a music video for a track in the 'indie' genre. We are still yet to decide. We also have to create a profile for an artist who will performing the song in our video. For the artist, a digipak and poster will be created to really bring our artist to life.