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.

is blood thicker than water?

so, i’ve been a bit behind. i could try and blame uni but really i don’t even know where my time has gone. but the new tv season has been in action for two weeks now and i haven’t watched anything yet!! (shock horror!!!) but don’t worry folks, i’m catching up and my soon to be long list of reviews is kicking off with the season premier of survivor, it’s 400th episode (and the second one too coz i watched them both at the same time).

so lets get started. “blood vs water” is  the 27th season of survivor and incorporates a number of new twists, the major one being that the teams will be comprised of returning players and their loved ones. but, when they arrive on the beach, the contestants are told that they will be playing against their loved ones, on opposite tribes, so that one team is all returning players and the other is all their loved ones. now, here’s my first peeve with this twist, it means that the whole “blood vs. water” title doesn’t make sense!!! because A: there is no water (unless you count in the now over usage of water challenges). its just there because of the phrase “blood is thicker than water”. but, some of these aren’t really even blood. i mean, tyson’s girlfriend? really. they couldn’t get a relative. they could potentially have only known each other for like two months or something.

second. its not even blood vs. water. for that to have happened, it would have had to be 10 tribes comprised of jsut each pair of related contestants. which of course could not have worked because how can two people vote someone out. they could have brought in entire families to play against each other so do like 4 teams of 5 relatives but again, who would want to vote out their family members. so instead what we have is blood vs. blood and a bunch of water thrown in on top. i just don’t get it. you know what i want, a season with no returning players. not only that,but no hidden immunity idol, no redemption island, no non existent reward challenges. just plain and simple survivor the way it used to be. go back and watch season 8, the first all star season. it is survivor at its best and has none of these crazy twists we have today.

but, onto the game itself now. first off, it was so rough to vote someone out straight away. i mean, yeah, it is survivor, but that’s still really harsh. i know it was obvious that they weren’t gonna be eliminated but i still felt bad watching these people get voted off their tribe before the game had even started. however, i thought that the twist would be that they would swap to the other tribe (which would have made rupert very happy to have been with his wife) but instead you heard me and my whole family groan in disappointment with the return of redemption island reveal. look, it was interesting when it first started (not good, just interesting) but i’m over it. you don’t want to spend an entire season watching someone struggle by themselves out there to be either beat out at the last chance or make it back into the game be be eliminated straight away because they’ve made no connection to their tribe. and the redemption island challenge is the poor man’s reward challenge and to be frank i’d rather have the latter. combined reward and immunity just lacks fun and spirit

the first challenge was your typical survivor challenge. go in the water, retrieve some bags, get back to shore and complete the puzzle. yes, we’ve had a lot of them, but after 27 seasons, i can understand it. and it was a good challenge, the tribes seemed evenly matched. that was, until we all learned Gervase can not swim. which was both sad and fun to watch at the same time. now, i’m not trying to sound racist, but it seems that every season, the big black guy with the huge muscles is the worst in physical challenges. i mean, gervase could barely make it past the second obstacle and struggled heavily the rest of the way. and does anyone remember russel from a few seasons ago who simply could not climb that ladder out of the water? it just always seems like the guys with the biggest muscles are the weakest links in the challenges.

and then, after almost collapsing from his 100m swim, gervase was the first to absolutely rub it in the other team’s face that they had lost. and this caused a big problem on the other tribe. thats another thing with the new family twist, that even when you win a challenge, you can’t be happy because your loved one may be sent home because of it. and so gervase rubbing a huge amount of salt in the opposing teams wound led them to vote out his loved one, marissa, purely out of spite. now, i feel bad for marissa. in no way did she deserve to go home, she was great in the challenge. it was just unfortunate circumstances. and when gervase found out the next day at redemption island, he could not have cared less that his actions had eliminated his loved one. but hat was another problem with this set up. while most people had their wife, or husband or daughter (or even brother), marissa was gervase’s niece. i mean yeah, it’s still family, but you’re not gonna feel as strong a bond with them or need to protect them as you would your spouse or child. here, blood was definitely not thick enough because it didn’t seem like Gervase could have cared any less that marissa had been eliminated.

on to the next note worthy mention from the opening two episode, Colton. now, i still don’t know how to feel about colton. he is great television to watch. he’s funny, he’s interesting, he’s pretty devious. but i’m still finding it hard to get over the things he said last time he was on the show. some stuff was downright horrible and terribly racist and the worst was that at the reunion he didn’t seem to regret any of it. and you could kinda see that in these episodes where he claims he wants to redeem himself but within a day is already falling back to his old ways.

but yes, this does make for great tv and great drama. but from what we’ve seen so far, he’s looking to become the brandon of this series. flying off the handle one second, then going completely remorseful and emotional the next and then planning everyone else’s eliminations the moment after that. i just don’t think we can handle another unstable character. and from the ads for next week, it doesn’t look like things will be getting any better. and he seems way too dependant on his boyfriend (who does seem nice by the way. i can’t see them lasting if he starts to see this evil side of colton).

i think that just about covers it. oh, and marissa clearly has no idea what a blind side means. because she knew she was on the chopping block. she did a semi attempt at a scramble but not really coz she wasn’t sure. but if jeff is literally addressing the fact that you are a specific target in tribal council, how can you not know that you’re on the chopping block. not a blind side, i’m sorry. yes, it was unfortunate and shouldn’t have happened but still, not a blindside. i’m just waiting for tyson to vote himself out again by accident. that was one of the best moments of heroes vs. villains.

in conclusion, who do i think will win? hard to say right now considering almost all those guys look the same and there are three on the loved ones tribe that i still can’t tell apart, let alone tell you their names. but right now i’m thinking it’ll be candice (if she can get back in), aras or his brother vytas (who’s name sounds like fetus), or maybe… actually, i don’t know. and i prob shouldn’t give more than 3 guesses anyways.

so, let me know what you think, what are your predictions. what do you like about this new season, what do you hate? until then, see you next week 😀

can’t think of a good name for this post

if my lack of a good title is any indication, i was not a huge fan of this weeks unlecture. not sure what it was about it, it just wasn’t as good as the previous ones. and i’ve really been enjoying our symposiums but something this week just didn’t seem to flow and thus we resulted in a lack of interesting blog post title. i feel ashamed. hopefully this won’t happen again.

onto the unlecture itself. we began with discussing the difference between a scaled network and a scale-free network. as you can assume from those two titles, a scaled network is limited while a scale free is unlimited. take the roadways of Australia and the internet for example. Australia, being an island, only has a limited number of roads and links it can have inside it, mainly because cars cannot travel on water. but the internet can keep expanding forever. it has no boundaries. the difference with these two is also that of the centre. an example from the symposium was the melbourne metro lines. if something were to happen at flinders street station (which is pretty much the centre of the train network), all trains would stop. but if a site online crashes, nothing stops, everything can just move around it because of the limitless amount of other links that exist. however, contrary to this, i personally feel that if google broke down, even for a day or a few hours, not only would the internet stop but the the whole world would stop working. but that’s not necessarily because of the structure of the internet, its just because the whole world relies on google for pretty much everything.

the other interesting point with the scale free network was the elimination of shelf space. this is where the long tail comes into play because with the digitalisation of pretty much everything, all those items of clothes, songs, movies or tv shows that get lost in the long tail can be found and bought and enjoyed, all because the retailer doesn’t have to pay for shelf space online. now, for me, this is great, because i am not a lover of most things deemed “mainstream”. i mean, i’m not into ridiculously obscure things that you could not find in a shopping centre if you tried. i’m probably jsut a little bit down th long tail, not down in the pointy end. but for me it is still much easier to find what i like online, and far more abundant too, than if i were to go into a store looking for it. this for me is more relevant with the television so called “shelf-space” where, as adrian put it, channels can only broadcast 24 hours of tv a day and thus, what they broadcast must sell (or be seen). and my shows do not fall under the category of “must watch tv”. ever wondered why there is so much reality tv competition on tv? yeah, it’s crap. but it draws in those big numbers. forget the little shows *cough* supernatural *cough*, it’s all about the ratings. and thats the beauty of stuff like youtube (or, you know, those lovely streaming sites with every episode of every show ever) which has unlimited content because it is not restricted by hours or ratings or ads. in conclusion, the digitalisation of the world has drastically reduced the problem of product scarcity. there is just more out there.

a host of problems

so, the 2013 emmy awards have come and gone. but, how was the ceremony, how was tv’s night of nights?

 to be honest, there’s been better. a lot better. and with Neil patrick harris hosting, i was expecting better too. not only was there no opening song and dance routine (because, as NPH sings later “even hugh hackman does stuff like that”) but his opening monologue was terrible. not funny at all and the only redeeming factor among the banter between the past hosts was kevin spacey cutting in (check out the video below) and tina fey and amy poehler doing what they do best and being downright hilarious.


but, despite game of thrones not winning anything (devastating), the awards themselves weren’t so bad. everyone who won deserved too, even if the winners weren’t from any shows i watch (but thank god big bang didn’t win. sorry to those who love it but i can’t stand that show).

apart from the unimpressive opening act, the major disappointment of the night was the lack of good red carpet dresses!! i mean, even the brownlows had better dresses than these actresses! lets do a comparison shall we?

to my left, a browlow dress (yes, a bit hard to see coz it’s on the side but oh well). and to my right, Claire Danes, winner of best actress in a drama. and that is just not a happy dress. it does not look good on her. lets be honest, she doesn’t fill it. and i’ve personally never been a huge fan of those skin coloured dresses. its just not working. i’m sorry claire danes. but no.

want another example? check out below we have another lovely brownlow dress and a very odd dress from the emmys worn by girls creator, lena dunham. i just don’t think lena likes dressing to suit her body. i don’t know why.

on the other hand you have the amazing sofia vergara who could look incredible in absolutely anything, but she also knows how to dress herself. 

last off, i’ll leave you with at least one more of what i felt to be a redeeming factor in a not so interesting evening. this was the first ever inclusion of the “outstanding choreography” award in the primetime award show. the anouncement of the winner was preceeded by a really cool dance number that included elements from many shows nominated for best show in the different categories. check it out below (you could also skip to 2:00 if you don’t want to listen to the explanation)


technologies and cultures

so, one of this week’s readings, “Culture and Technology” by potts and murphie seems very familiar in the topic it is discussing. however, this familiarity does not stem from anything we’ve done in networked media so far but is pretty much a summary of everything we’ve done these last 9 weeks in the communication strand, “communication histories and technologies”.  nevertheless, it was an intersting read but i’ve yet to find the link between it and the network, other than that one reference to the internet. and i guess technologies in general because you couldn’t really have the network without technology.

what was interesting was the way the reading revealed how the word technology originated. “technology” is such a commonplace word nowadays, especially when doing a media degree, that it doesn’t feel like this word could have ever not been a part of our vocabulary (sorry for that weird double negative there, but you know what i’m saying. i hope). the fact that these new words were pretty much created to accommodate the changing ways of society in the 18th and 19th century. that and all the disputes over the exact meanings of the different words… “culture”, “technique”  and “technology”. can’t we just accept those words for what they are. they only have meaning in our society because we give them meaning.

i don’t know, i wasn’t a huge fan of this reading. it was also difficult because the pages were scanned in on the side (on i was too lazy go to downstairs to print it) so i had to do the whole reading with my laptop on its side. made it very hard to concentrate. 

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!!!!



Well this really takes the cake (terrible pun intended)

i’m sure you like mnm’s. we all do. delicious little chocolates that once you start eating you could just eat forever. i don’t know if you’ve ever gone to the mom store in new york’s times square but by god is it awesome. especially if you like mnm’s. anyhow, enough rambling, here’s what i’m all hyped about:

BIRTHDAY CAKE FLAVOURED MNM’S!  yup, you heard right. check out the link here for extra info

simply putting regular mnm’s on birthday cakes just wasn’t good enough anymore, the world needed these two elements combined. its crazy to think that we have pretzel mnm’s, peanut butter mnm’s (not just regular peanut moms, peanut butter!), coconut mnm’s, i’ve even seen candy corn mnm’s and now birthday cake mnm’s, but we still DON’T have white chocolate mnm’s!!!!!!! yes, they made them once as an easter promotion, but i don’t we even got those ones here in aus. i just want some white chocolate mnm’s, they would be so awesome.

to be fair, i don’t like cake (yes, i am partially crazy). so for me, its hard to get so excited about this new creation more than your typical “well, that seems cool”. i mean, what will they taste like? is there a specific birthday cake flavour that isn’t just chocolate cake? and isn’t chocolate cake just chocolate flavour? so doesn’t that mean it’ll just be regular? or will the inside of the mnm be a cake? in which case that seems kinda cool but doesn’t seem like it’ll stay good for very long. i don’t know. i’m interested, i’ll try it, but i still just want some white choc ones.