what’s wrong with the music industry?

Does technology control our lives? do we change the way we work around technology or does technology change as we need it to? technodeterminism is a term that implies that technology controls us. it controls what we do, it controls society and suggest that changes in society only come about because of technology. but how true is this? i believe neither extreme is the correct answer. we change technology to suit us but we also adapt our techniques and ways of thinking when new technology is introduced into our lives. think about it, before the days of the cellphone, people would never even consider being able to speak to someone on the go. same with the age before the portable music player, the only way to hear music was through a cd player and before that a record player. we evolve technology to suit our needs but then we evolve ourselves to work with the technology, its part of our culture. even the word technology is part of our culture, the word itself didn’t even exist a mere few centuries ago and now it’s everywhere we look. it just goes to show how quickly things change in society and how quickly our culture adapts to this change.

this notion of culture changing along with society is similar to a point from a few weeks back that adrian made that context does not survive. everything we have today can only really be analysed within the context of today, because in the past we did not have these technologies and so everything was created with a completely different view and way of thinking, as will be everything in the future.

this leads me (kinda) into my topic of discussion today, what’s wrong with the music industry? this is all stemming from our discussions in class last week. i don’t really remember how we got onto it but it ended with us (well, mainly me) hating pretty heavily on one direction. i’ll try not to do that too much here but i’m warning you now, it might go there. first off for me is the huge difference between “pop” music that we have today and the pop music from 20-30 or so years ago. it just seems to be of a completely different calibre. to see what i mean, check out this picture which compares beyonce’s “run the world” with Queens “bohemian Rhapsody” (which is the best song ever! not to mention best karaoke song). i mean, come on!!! that song has pretty much just one line!!and it took 6 people to write it? what is happening world? but, as i’ve been mentioning, it’s difficult to compare because they were made in completely different times with different cultures and different ways of life. for some more depressing facts about music comparisons (between now and good music/artists), check out this site here. its pretty sad thinking that K$sha’s “tik tok” sold more copies than any beatles’ song but again, different times. back when the beatles were big, the music industry was different (and in my opinion, better). music broadcast wasn’t as widespread, you couldn’t download you music. music players weren’t as easily accessible. there are a whole range of excuses one can come up with. but at the end of the day, has the music changed?

i myself have never been the hugest fan of pop music. i’m more of an alternative/punk/rock kinda listener. my favourite songs off an album are very rarely the singles that are released for radio.and to me that’s because they just have that different quality, an attempt to be more marketable. the single needs to sell or no one will buy the cd.

here are some quick dot points of stuff that our class discussed in regards to the prolifity and repetition of the same crap on the radio today:

Current media songs written in metaphor, they never specify a person, its always “you”.

  • for example: Katy perry: firework or one direction: you don’t know you’re beautiful
    • These songs can be adapted to anyone/anything so that everyone can think it’s about them
    • this makes it more marketable – because its attractive to anyone, everyone will listen and buy it
    • they never makes the subject of the song specific
    • and are structured to have the broadest possible appeal
    • this is to maximise sales
    • they want to find the most efficient way of producing popular music (least amount of cost and effort for most amount of sales)
    • Thats what the music industry is: its an industry.
and this is where shows like Idol (american or australian) or the X factor or the Voice or whatever other singing competition shows are out there come in. they exemplify this, a lack of connection with music. or even a lack of real music being produced. because today, pop stars are not writing music because thats what they want, or because they love music, but because they want to make money. and their songs reveal this, they don’t have meanings, the lyrics don’t truly connect because there is nothing behind them, they have just been written to please the masses and make the sales. the winners of these competitions are given records, they are given music and are given lyrics and simply told to perform, but there is nothing behind it. what’s the different between one direction and the Beatles? well, aside from the time gap, the beatles were a band and one direction is a boy band. the beatles wrote and played their own music (granted, it got kinda razy and drug infused towards the end. and i’m not saying their song’s weren’t ambiguous and lovey) while one direction are just 5 random boys (i won’t deny that they can sing though) who were put together instead of being eliminated and have songs written for them. it just feels as though emphasis is being taken away from working hard and putting yourself into the music and placed on making as much money as you can. and so now every series of X factor is trying to create the next supergroup of random teen boys to keep that money rolling in.
sorry, it got a bit intense there. now you can see why i don’t listen to pop music. i’ll stick with my rock bands, let the world keep pumping out the same commercialised songs one after another. after all, there wouldn’t be the long tail without the part at the front.


oh, and back to the “does media control our lives” question. check out this article about a teenager who died from playing 2 days straight of playing video games. very sad.

apples and psychics

so, last week’s networked class started off like your typical normal class. you know, discussion of the readings, the lectures, the network. then it kinda got turned a bit sideways. who do we have to blame for that? i guess just me mostly. i’m a terrible influence. i was the same in high school, i liked to make classes fun but that often happened at the expense of the other students’ learning. mah bad.

so, may as well start off with the actual content of the lass discussions, before my, let’s call it immaturity, took hold. well, we were responding to the topic raised in the symposium about games and narratives and hypertext. i think the problem with discussing games in this context is that there are so many different types of games, it’s impossible to put any one label on them or place them in a specific group. all games are different, from board games like chess where the aim is to win, to simple games like Tetris where you just don’t want to lose to more complex games like (here we go again) kingdom hearts where you follow a narrative which drives the game. but i spoke about all that last week. what i thought was most interesting in our class discussion was the inclusion of a type of game that i had never considered…. sports games.

there are so many different types of sports too. are they all games? you can have a footy match, thats a game. but is a running race a game? you still want to win it, just like a footy game. is there anything other than games that we want to win? i guess competitions. but are those games? you know, like the lottery. well, i guess they could be. anything could be game if you want it to be a game. just as we were asking, “but is sport, like a running race, really a game”, someone in class brilliant mentioned what we all call “the olympic games”. i guess i’d never thought of them actually as games. but that’s what it is, one giant game with every country trying to win.

so, how can a sports game like that be a narrative? well, a sports game has a beginning, middle and end. but not sure how much further their similarities go. i guess there are just too many types of games to ever be able to definitively decide whether or not it can be a hypertext narrative. but i’m gonna go with it cant’. i mean, maybe some can, but definitely not all of them.

as for the rest of class, well, this won’t really be funny unless you were there. but we were put into new groups and this time got to choose our own niki subject. yeah, goodbye calculator inventor from the 1800’s and random guy from this century that no-one has ever heard of (i’m looking at you david gauntlett). we got to choose our own topic. well, most of the good ones had been snatched up by then (curse whoever took facebook) but there were some good options left, like apple. and someone else in my group thought medium would be interesting.

but there i stopped him. what is medium?? i mean, medium is really just a word (as apple is not only a company but a fruit, but we’ll get to that). there are lots of different meanings of the word medium and i couldn’t even be sure which one of those was intended by whoever put medium on the niki index (probably adrian). i mean, i looked up medium, and theres a blog website/forum/something-or-other called medium (which, lets be honest, is probably what adrian wanted), then there’s medium as in, something that delivers a media. you know, like a tv, or a radio, or a cinema, or a computer or phone or really anything. in this sense of the word, almost anything could be a medium!!!!!! (just so you understand, we were having a very vocal conversation about this in class with elliot. i’m pretty sure if he didn’t think i was crazy before, he does now) And then there’s the other form of medium which is…. psychics!!!! you know, like the tv show… medium!!! and so, just because i really don’t like this entire niki project, and i was so annoyed at the ambiguity of the entire “medium” option even being on that list, i somehow managed to convince my group to do our niki entry on psychics communicating with ghosts to solve crimes to do with the online network. don’t even ask. i am insane. and i know it. and now my whole class knows it too.

oh, and if you were wondering where i was going with the whole “apple” thing, i was still annoyed at this whole project and wanting to do something that they didn’t want us to do. so with apple i was completely planning on making the entry about the fruit itself (and, you know, the network of apple trees, the different types of apples, and the fruit business) instead of apple the company. i think it’s a pretty good idea. to bad i got so excited by the psychics idea that i got sidetracked. who knows, still 1 niki left to do!!!!




so, the title of this blog post will only make sense to bec skilton but to us it’s a pretty relevant summary of our activites in class last week. i would explain it to you, but it just wouldn’t be funny. and you’d probably end up just thinking i’m crazy (or crazier than you already thought i was). but, considering that there’s probably no one actually reading this, i don’t really have to explain myself anyway.

back to the actual point of this blog post, our class discussions. for some reason, most of them tend to involve a lot of rebuttal against stuff that’s been said during that week’s lecture. and last week’s class was no different. the main point that people didn’t like was adrian’s claim that context cannot survive the text. i both agree and disagree with this (i guess what i’m really saying is, everyone made good points so i’m on the fence). every text can only be written in the specific context of that time and really can only be read in the specific context of the time in which it is being read. so in that sense, no, it does not survive. but a text being written in a different context does not mean the author doesn’t exist, or their intentions don’t exist and especially doesn’t mean that we can’t try and work out what their intentions were. as someone in class pointed out, the second we acknowledge that someone has created something, it changes our view of it. i guess the consensus was that everything that had been said at the lecture was too absolute. i guess in this day and age we are a fan of ambiguity and blurred lines (but not the song). i’ve never really been such a fan of black and white anyway.

Back to blogging

it feels like i haven’t blogged in a while. do you guys miss me? (do you guys even exist? probably not, haha). i guess we all took a nice break for the week. (just to say, at least our mid semester break was in the middle of our semester!!! deakin’s was in week four and monash’s is like in week 10! whats up with that?) and i haven’t really done or been looking at anything worth blogging about. and “why is that?” i hear you ask? because my new kingdom hearts 2 finally arrived (well, by new i mean i jsut got it, the game come out in like 2004).

now, for anyone wondering, kingdom hearts is by far my favourite game (yes probably even more than pokemon. ok, lets not get too crazy, equal to pokemon. but they’r very different) and i’ve played kingdom hearts 1 more times than i can count. who doesn’t love the magical adventures of sore, donald and goofy and travelling through the incredible worlds of the disney movies? (peter pan is obviously the best world). so, once i got that pesky little comm essay out of the way (which sadly took a lot longer than i had hoped due to some facebook/youtube/all time low obsession interference), it was a nice dive into the world of kingdom hearts 2. and it’s pretty cool. there’s some awesome new features, like double keyblades, and new worlds, like milan and lion king! its just awesome. and i know you think it sounds lame but trust me, the kingdom hearts series is regarded as one of the best games out there so get into it.

now, i’m so hyped up about this because they are finally releasing a kingdom hearts 3!!! but the killer line….. only on the new PS4 or new X-box! 🙁 which i don’t have and am not planning on buying. so depressing. how will i ever know if sora, donald, goofy, riku and kairi and up happy??? but they are also rereleasing the first game in HD with extra goodies and limited edition sketch books so i’m happy about that.

wow. that got off topic, i was not planning on going on for o long about kingdom hearts. well, thats the blog for you, start off in one place and end somewhere completely different. i guess it’ll be good for me to get back into regular blogging this week, maybe with some stuff to do with the actual subject involved. well, last week (or two weeks ago i guess, stupid holiday) it was finally my classes turn to come up with the questions for this week’s unlecture! now, there was some confusion due to the whole naming of the weekly readings in the blog, you know 01 reading for week 02. or the 05 readings for week 06 but we’ll discuss them in week 07. all very confusing. but we came up with some questions anyway. proudly, mine made it in!!! what is? no spoilers!!!! you’ll have to wait and hear it in the unlecture. but let me tell you, it’s a doozy! (ok, not really, i wasn’t even expecting it to be picked! but the others all liked it). but the others were pretty good and also brought up some good class discussions about what can be classified as hypertext or what kinds of hypertexts can be classified as academic or essay. and then we dove into the usual niki work.

but i should stop there. i’m rambling again and this post has covered a few too many things. stay tuned folks, hopefully more to come!

Is this my diary? unlecture part 2

so, i told you i was going to need a second post to cover everything that was mentioned in this weeks unlecture. this post will also probably cover some stuff from last weeks class and my most recent post about hypertext. but anyhow, onwards and upwards! (speaking of, i saw up for the first time the other day. it is brilliant.)

one of the main interesting things that was mentioned by both Elliot and Jasmine was the Korsakow program which i had neither heard of or was able to spell. but it’s a pretty cool concept nonetheless. similar to a hypertext novel, it does what a typical film can’t do by being fluid and changeable. it allows the viewer to create their own film by choosing the path that they wish to take. every time you return to something, it is completely different to what is was the first time you do it. now, this concept emphasises what was described as the “gap” between the media maker and the receiver. in any form of medium, the author can never guarantee the receiver will decipher the intended meaning of the text being created. and so hypertext and korsakow is allowing this gap to flourish so that rather than a specific meaning intended by the author that may not be received, each member of the audience can make their own personal interpretations of the text. there are an unlimited number of pathways one can take. it’s like in the brain, any one idea or thought can lead down a large variety of different neural pathways that span across the whole brain, each one leading to a different thought and each one individual.

this whole notion of hypertext leads on from the advancement of technology today. everything has had to change and adapt to fit into the new society. if a medium cannot adapt, it cannot survive. and hypertext is about joining all the little parts of the world together to make one big web of networks and connections where everything can be joined in multiple ways rather than just one linear connection. and our blogs allow us to form those connections and become a part of the wider network. this is similar to the niki’s we’ve been working on in class. each time one group presents their work to the rest, it’s a chance for everyone to gain. the group can get feedback about there work and the others can get both new knowledge and ideas about extra things they could include in their posts. the aim of the niki’s is to create a learning space for everyone in the course to be able to contribute to, in essence, to create a network that they have all worked on.

someone asked in the lecture, “do the blogs even count if no-one is reading them?”. now this was a matter i had considered, because i write as if people are listening, adrian called them our “imaginary audience”. but that doesn’t mean that the imaginary audience won’t eventually become a real audience. that’s why we make those connections, so that we can get that audience. i think it was jasmine who asked “why do you write a personal journal or diary if it’s not intended to be read by anyone?”. and that’s a brilliant point. when i was young i kept a diary. i never wanted anyone to read it, but i still wrote in a manner of telling a story to a reader, just like how i write this blog assuming people are reading it. so is this blog my diary? i guess while it hovers at a low 5 visitors a day it probably is. but hopefully i get up there soon.

and one more thing from the lecture. it doesn’t really relate to anything but i thought it was cool. in fact, i don’t even think it actually happened, i think i just heard something. but at one point adrian said “automatically” and it sounded like “automagically”. now i don’t know if he really said that or i just had a major mishear but either way, it’s an awesome word that i think really represents how our world functions today, especially if you consider it in the eyes of some of the people we are researching for our niki’s, (i’m looking at you charles babbage) who would just see everything we have today as a sort of magic. who could have imagined 100 years ago where we would be today in terms of technology. it really does seem like the world is “automagic”

charles cabbage and other class activities

ok, maybe calling Charles Babbage, “Charles Cabbage”, is a bit disrespectful. but it’s not my fault that his last name sounds like cabbage. it just flows better.

in this weeks class, after some pretty light discussions about how most people enjoyed this weeks unlecture, we were thrown headfirst into research for our niki pages. who is niki do you ask?? niki is the networked media wiki. but niki sounds better than nmwiki so lets stick with niki. as i’m sure you’ve guessed by now, i was lucky enough to pull charles babbage out of the hat, along with 4 other class members. and while others in the class were sitting happily with stuff like written “youtube” on their little slips of paper, my table just had the dumbfounded faces. “who the hell is charles babbage??”

well now, i’ll tell you who charles babbage is. mr. babbage pretty much invented the calculator. now, i’m not talking about the pocket calculator, coz you would need pretty big pockets to fit this 2 story, 50 tonne beauty into your pocket. but back in the late 1800’s, babbage didn’t like the inaccuracy of calculations and so devised a machine to eliminate human error in arithmetic.

try fitting this in your pocket

so, after each of us spent 15 minutes googling (crazy that googling is a legitimate verb nowadays!) our mysterious subject, we were tasked with coming up with some ways of creating our niki page so that it would reflect his voice. you know, like an interview. except that he’s been dead for like 100 (almost wrote 1000!) years. and here we struggled. not because it was such a hard thing to think about, because i’m sure if we set our minds to it we would come up with something constructive (and if you by chance want to see what we came up with, and it’s not much i’ll just warn you know, you can check it out here) but our problem was that our attention span is just too short. everytime one of us came up with an idea, or the start of an idea, or even brought up another fact about the interesting life of mr babbage, we would all sidestep onto some completely random topic that would go on for another 10 or so minutes. so, by the end of class, our best idea was to ressurect charles as a zombie and try to talk to him before he tried to eat our brains. as you can see, a very productive class. but at least we’re getting somewhere….kinda.

Quantum levitation and warp speeds

so, in class this week, among other things, we got into some interesting discussions about the potentials of design fiction and current scientific innovation. the main idea i took away from design fiction is the speculation. it’s not about what we can do but what we could do. discussing the reading about design fiction, jake brought up his blog post about design fiction in sci-fi which included some interesting tuff about NASA being at the concept stage of developing the ability to travel at warp speed!! just the possibility of that being feasible is so awesome. who doesn’t hear that and picture themselves sitting in a fancy captain’s chair (like Kirk’s) and telling someone to “jump to light speed”? so cool.

another new scientific development was brought up in class after i continuously rambled on about how cool it would be to have hover boards (see my previous post about hover boards) and this was quantum levitation. here’s a video so you can see just how cool (and i mean that literally, check out the video and you will get it) this new science stuff is.

now, i don’t really do physics (which is prob why i’m doing a media course. well, i also like media) so the actual “how” of quantum levitation makes no sense to me whatsoever. and i think the stuff has to be like really cold for it to work. but, just the fact this is a possibility is what is so awesome, and the possibilities of where it could lead to is what’s really exciting.

if you want more info on the actual science and stuff behind the quantum levitation, check out this video here which has  dr Boaz Almog explaining the whole thing. more awesome science advancement stuff coming out of israel, love it

how to have a class discussion

so, the second networked media class has come and gone and what have i learnt?

that i’m not a very good listener. and i have a very short attention span. i was always a better reader anyway.

but when we’re asked to sit down in pairs or threes and discuss the answer to a given question, it shouldn’t be so hard…right? i guess not if you know the question. but i seem to have the terrible trait of tuning out at precisely the wrong moments. i have to get that fixed. so the majority of what i learnt in class discussions was that my discussion buddy and i share vary similar tastes in television shows. (who else here misses lost? anyone?)

but, despite my inherent lack of listening skills, i did manage to pick up on some stuff during the class (thankfully because i typed down anything elliot or my other peeps said because it was a lot more useful than what i was saying) but the main point i have is… i still don’t actually know what “networked media” is! so far the last two classes and “unlectures” have predominantly been about the blogs. “what is a blog?”, “what can we put in our blog?”, “why do we blog”, but thats just an assignment (yes, i know it’s important in the whole scheme of everything) and i still want to know… what actually is this subject?

all i got in class was “networked media is not necessarily social media”. ok, so now i know what it’s not. can someone please tell me what it is? i guess i’m single loop learning again here, just waiting for someone to give me an answer. ok, lets double loop it up. to be honest, i’m still not even sure that i get the looped learning thing. elliot explained that “Double loop learning involves questioning the assumptions that you make about the process and in doing, so renegotiate the task based on what you’ve renegotiated about the process.”.

we did have some interesting discussions on the blogs though in class. what i really liked was how elliot described the blogs as “cataloguing our thinking”. its similar to what was discussed in the previous unlecture about our blogs being ours. we are creating an online persona/identity, something which is vital in todays technological society. also interesting was when someone (sorry, i don’t remember who!) brought up the concept of consumption vs. production – our blogs are a way of us contributing to the online world, putting our voices out there to be heard.

this is going too long again. i’m still not getting the hang of short posts. i tend to write a lot, as i’m sure all those millions of people probably not even aware that my blog exists have now figured out. so one final thing from class that i liked.

i don’t really remember how we got onto the topic (me tuning out again!) but i think it was around the time when someone asked what is the network? elliot responded with this cool little bit of info about “web 1.0, web 2.0 and web 3.0” as elliot explained:

“Web 1.0 – any kind of technology that allows any user to post any kind of info (early internet)

Web 2.0 – info getting pumped in to online space – info must be categorised and organised eg. Google (analyse amount of links to a page and quality of content within that page)

Web 3.0 – streamlining content towards specific users. Adapts its content in a way that is specific towards a user – advertising. Eg. Amazon will recommend products based on previous purchases.”

i don’t know what this info really had to do with networks except, like, online info and stuff, but it was really interesting so i do hope to use it someday.