Spotify and the Music Industry


Gone are the days of going down to a music shop and picking up a CD, we now live in the age of online streaming and the music industry has had to adapt. There are many different music streaming services available but the most popular and well-known is Spotify.

Spotify was launched in Sweden in 2006 and today counts more than 75 million users. I chose Spotify as an example of media convergence as it combines two already existing platforms, music and the internet. In an age where anybody can illegally download and stream music Spotify offers its users the ability to stream music legally while licensing a whole back-catalogue of artists.

Since 2009 users can pay for Spotify Premium to remove advertisements from appearing during songs. The money generated from the Premium version is then used to acquire more music for the already enormous collection of music and pay artists.





Convergence, a new form of communicating?

What is so significant about convergence?

Convergence has allowed outlets such as print, radio and television to be made accessible through the internet. With this in mind it could be argued that this may influence people to accept new forms of technology, an example being people who are not computer literate.

The advantages of these changes being made to technology is that it is now portable, easy to access and offers a variety of choice. Therefore this further benefits the media industry as they are able to utilise forms of advertising. “What we are now seeing is the hardware diverging while the content converges.“(Henry Jenkins, Culture Convergence) This quote supports why media convergence is changing social media for the better

However challenges in the industry relating to social platforms are that consumers are turning to this as a new form of communication rather than making a phone call or text. For example smartphones have become so versatile in what they offer, some offer apps, internet, GPS etc… sales in newspapers and games have actually decreased due to this.

Media convergence brings audience fragmentation as well as  financial and economical implications as not everyone can afford devices like smartphones and tablets. This also means the media companies have more power over society.




The Development of Generation C and Social Media Convergence

During this day and age social media is one of the biggest media convergences. Social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Etc. use mobile phones to help individual express and share their perspectives on different issues. Social Media users are now stepping out of the majorities shadow by expressing their beliefs over social media. Social makes discussions not as confrontational as it would be face to face. As individuals speak out, they become more invested in a platform and create their own identity. By putting a lot of involvement into their profile and the constant communication within their community makes them more relevant. The individuals that invest the most time into social media this day and age are young adults. This convergence of technology and social media created Generation C. while reading the article “The Rise of Generation C” by Roman Friedrich. Michael Peterson and Alex Koster they explain that this generation was born after 1990. This generation means that we are tech savvy and we automatically turn to the internet or social media for basically anything. Some characteristic that I got from this article is, we all involve different circumstance and we combine them. We are able to make communities that share our beliefs. Like I said before we can be in control of our lives by controlling what others see. Also, we strive to work in creative fields and not succumb to social ways. Since we have great access to different resources this gives us power to control the development of the future technologies and companies. This changed the consumers roll of being a witness to being a key part in future technologies and the way society is viewed. On the other hand, producers benefit from social media because it is more cost efficient, more effective, and using big platforms to reach a bigger audience. This also gives a small business a chance to build their brand and become successful.

The Rise in Generation C article

Pirates are back – Convergence

First of all, convergence is where something like a newspaper can now be read online or even watched through a video. More directly i’d like to talk about the music industry. Through the ages we’ve gone through listening to music on radios, vinyls, CD’s and now online platforms such as iTunes. A huge breakthrough was Steve Jobs creating iTunes which overtook the Sony Walkman.

“iTunes was a development of technology – hardware, software, and design – intricately intertwined with a changing user experience and a restyling of content” (Jose Van Dijck). This meant it was an easier more enjoyable customer experience as people no longer had to walk to the shops to get their latest music but could download from home. However due the internet evolving ever so rapidly, users began to stream music for free, therefore ripping off the hard work of artists and producers. Sites such as Limewire and Napsters were key players in this fraud like scheme.

Recently, due to falls in CD purchases and iTunes sales, artists are now loosing out on money, the music industry was so famous for. Artists are now forced to tour for long periods of time just to gain fame and of course the money. Van Morrison was, quoted “The bigger venues you have to do for financial reasons” through watching an interview you can see that his sales in CD’s and other materials has flopped and being forced to carry on gigging even at an old age. But hey he’s a rockstar right? More recently too Kanye West has refused to sell his work to iTunes stating “He will never sell his new album to iTunes, download on Tidal”.

Thankfully original vinyls and remakes are becoming more and more desirable, for that original sound, saving old school artists such as Van Morrison. Convergence has proved to be very useful making my life and everyone else’s easier but obviously everything has negatives.

This can also be seen with the film industry and pirate films.



Technological Convergence: Our smart phones


Technological convergence can be defined as ‘the process by which existing technologies merge into new forms that bring together different types of media and applications’. Our mobile phones are undeniable the best form of technology convergence there is, we live in an intensely mediated world therefore our mobile phones are included in our day to day living. Mobile phones have moved far beyond their beginnings as simple voice communication devices however in today’s generation  we are now able access online news and research but it is now possible to complete word documents and watch the latest movies (soon they’ll be less and less people going cinemas as there are in buying newspapers). Honestly how many of us can do we our mobile phones today, it is our map, our personal trainers, our diet planers, our organisers and even or personal banks; with the creation of online banking apps there’s really no need to make that long journey to the bank.

The advancement of the mobile phones are making traditional media platforms seem weak and useless as individuals no longer see the need to buy newspapers or wait a certain time to watch a specific programmes.

Technological convergence of smart ones has made it more convenient for us all, we have ability to access the internet wherever and whenever. To be very honest soon they’ll no such thing as newspapers, is only a matter of time before they become extinct. However a disadvantage to mobile phones is that due to all its advantages, it becomes very expensive and therefore now accessible to everyone.

To conclude I think it’s fair to say that our smart phones are undoubtedly the best form of technological convergence although the more advanced they get the more expensive they become therefore people tend to rely on the traditional forms of media e.g newspapers, television and radio.

Cultural Convergence

Although the merging of technologies is what most people think of when they think of ‘convergence’, cultural convergence is also an important part of everyday life.

Cultural Convergence is the merging of cultures- e.g. ideas, habits, skills, media, food, drink- in the same place, leading to the acceptance and appreciation of one culture by another. This has led to there usually being more than one culture in any country in the world.

This change has come about by globalisation and the advancement of technology, because it has made it possible for audiences on either side of the world to be closer than ever. Now, media made in Japan or India can be accessed easily by people in the USA and vice versa.

Hollywood blockbusters, like films from the Marvel franchise, now have massive fan bases in the Philippines, Japan and South Africa because of Cultural convergence. In China, the highest grossing film of 2015 was American. Conversely, audiences in America can now enjoy Bollywood films or music from Artists in Korea because Cultural convergence has helped both cultures discover each other and appreciate them.

The one problem with the merging of cultures is the risk of cultural appropriation. This is when a culture adopts part of another in an offensive way.  A recent example of this was Beyonce dressing  in Indian-inspired clothing in Coldplay’s Hymn for the Weekend music video.

However, there are more plus sides to cultural convergence than negatives. It has enabled us to enjoy films, music, media from across the world and access ideas that have advanced technology and science.

If you would like to read more on Cultural Convergence, this article in the Globalist gives some good examples of what it is about.

The sad side of Media Convergence. The suffered change of The Independent.

The blog post of this week is about media convergence. A colleague of mine wisely argued of how this broad term can fall in cliches, if analyzed in depth. We all know what and where media convergence has led to, more or less. ‘Internet’ is the key word, and all the devices and tools related to it. Yesterday, on The Guardian, there was a beautifully written feature about the ceasing of the print version of The Independent. From the 26th of March the newspaper will be available online only.

The Independent started 30 years ago, with uncertain chances of success. Against every unlucky prevision, it took its place between the most respectable British newspapers in terms of quality of Journalism. Straightforward, almost apolitical, led by a small team of talented professionals. A few decades later, the print version cannot afford to be released anymore. Archie Bland, with his brilliant style, in his article on The Guardian wrote: “When I think of the impertinent faith that such an enterprise required, and the many hundreds of journalists who took up its mantle, and of the vital liberal voice that has been diminished, I feel terribly sad. That’s not to say that the decline of print isn’t inevitable,  or that an era of online journalism isn’t thrilling in its own way. But you can love something that you know is bound to expire; maybe it makes you love it more.”

We can distinguish three main areas where media convergence is manifested: technological, economic, cultural. In Bland’s article there are all of them, the cause and the effect of this transition.