Use Ideology Consumption and Globalization Three Theories to Discuss Pop Music Term Paper

Pages: 9 (2521 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Music

POPULAR MUSIC is the obvious link to the mass consumer culture. It represents a challenge for any claims as to its transformative potential and capacity for resistance. The revolutionary forces must follow the lead of various cultural theorists, who support something of aesthetics of the popular, beyond, above, but also what we witness in contemporary pop and commercial artifacts, not only in terms of what's "hot" and what's not, but also in terms of the genres and artists themselves. This inevitably involves a peculiar paradox whereby we valorize, but also undermine, the popular. We embrace it, but also push its limits.

Numerical and statistical analysis is the guiding criteria towards for judging the music popular. What music is listened to the most? What music has been bought the most? Another approach towards popular music is Folk. The third of these approaches is popular as genus, which suggests the popular ultimately by its means and relations of production, circulation, and consumption. The last and final of these approaches is the mode of production, which is the preferred approach towards understanding of the popular.


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Andrew Goodwin in his essay "Rationalization and Democratization in the New Technologies of Popular Music," argued that a series of new musical technologies that came to be utilized in pop music, in particular, created what amounted to nothing less than a paradigmatic shift in the musical experience, in the ways in which music could be created, produced, and listened.

Term Paper on Use Ideology Consumption and Globalization Three Theories to Discuss Pop Music Assignment

Goodwin argued, that the argument from rationalization, one particular casualty of technological advancement according to the proponents of the culture industry model' (Manuel, Petern (1993). The Impact of Cassettes on the International Recording Industry). In contrast to rationalization, the argument for the democratization of music as a result of the new technologies is markedly more optimistic, to the point where the new technologies offer potentially an opportunity for social and cultural resistance to rationalization.

Richard a. Peterson studied the confluence of social and historical circumstances, and argued that popular music is plural, the primary context for Peterson's claim is a rather broad, if enlightening, discussion about what might be called the macro-level of this plurality, exemplified by "the minutely differentiated segmentation of the contemporary commercial music market, given the great number of CD reissues of every kind of music in the 20th century, and given the proliferation of modes of distribution from cable television to the Internet." Goodwin's argument, though aligned with Peterson's, works with the micro-levels of this plurality, and in terms of music in particular, whereby, for example, "the old image of musicians rehearsing music and then trooping into a studio to record it is increasingly out of date. Indeed, the concepts of musician and music are rapidly changing" (Hennion, Antoine and Cecile Meadel. (1986). "Programming Music: Radio as Mediator." Media, Culture, and Society).

Considering the example of popular music in Hong Kong, the popular music is the production of a multi-faceted dynamic of international and local factors. Although there has been much attention to its growth from different perspectives, there has been no single study that systematically addresses the complicated interplay of the two interrelated processes of globalization and localization that lie behind its development.

Bill Harry, founder of the Mersey Beat, a publication which highlighted local bands around England's Mersey River in Liverpool in the early sixties, continues his enthusiasm and interests in the Beatles phenomenon by writing books and contributing to various fanzines. About fan clubs and fanzines, Harry (1977) wrote:

When the Beatles disbanded, fans decided to continue running 'unofficial' clubs which still exist today. In fact, since the mid-seventies there has been a rebirth of interest in Beatles fandom and the introduction of a new dimension: second generation fans, youngsters who weren't even born when the Beatles first came to fame, but who became fans nevertheless. The quality of both content and production among the fanzines varies greatly. Some are expensively produced, professionally printed magazines; others are stapled, duplicated sheets."

The fact that humans are essentially restricted is evidenced in music (Meyer, 1998). There is an infinite range of tonal and rhythmic combinations. The realm of finity is mankind's cognitive constraints have limited music. Meyer has made distinction between music as a phenomenon, and experience of that phenomenon. "To call a work of art 'profound' is to characterize the experience of that work, not to comprehend the general principles upon which it is based." Meyer asserted that there are firstly innate, universal constraints within people that allow them to make sense of the phenomenon of popular music; and secondly, there are those factors which are learned and variable.


Music people are physically capable of experiencing, without these limitations; people would not be able to experience any music. Remaining set of factors determines what people are accustomed to incorporating in their experience of music, and is variably determined by their environment. These factors determine which music people will have a propensity to consume, as opposed to which music they have the ability to consume. The discussed theory of consumption is important to be studied for two main reasons. Firstly, the fact that people are limited in their ability to experience music, and universally required constraints which are drawn from the environment, create an obligation for the environment to provide signals which guide them in making their decisions. This is the focus of much of the literature on popular music, which usually analyzes the role of culture, the role of institutions, or the role of technology in providing these signals. Secondly, the theory acknowledged something that is inherent within people, and if this is so, it cannot be absolutely controlled without dehumanizing people. This allows for a totalizing study of the dynamics of music consumption to incorporate the realm of the ontological.

The theories of consumption and globalization regarding popular music are found to be too limited in their scope, as they pay little attention to the effects of technology and market structure in explaining consumption, or conversely, they pay too much attention to these factors. Therefore a synthesized approach towards consumption analysis in the music market is required. The four different aspects that can affect consumption in the market are,

The effects of technological forces

The effects of institutional factors

The effects of cultural factors

It needs to incorporate the possibility of an ontological construct

The approach was also supported by Fine and Leopold (1993). The basis for the approach is that, 'it is inconceivable that any one theory of consumption will suffice. There would simply be too much ceteris paribus to swallow', (Fine and Leopold, 1993).

Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice', (Ayn Rand). 'Consumerism is ubiquitous and ephemeral, and is arguably the religion of the late twentieth century', (Miles, 1998). Popular music is certainly ubiquitous in western culture; however it is transient in the vast majority of cases. The notions of ubiquity and ephemerality are consistent with the connotations of pop music being contingent with that of a consumer culture, or a plastic culture i.e. pop music is part of a constructed culture that we mindlessly consume.

The notion of a constructed culture is encapsulated in the work of institutions such as Galbraith and the Frankfurt school.

In the modern world, it has become cliche to suggest that we inhabit, are even victims of, a consumer society; that 'consumerism' is rampant; that we are dominated by 'consumer culture', having passed through a 'consumer revolution.'" (Fine and Leopold, 1993: 62) This quote suggests that the concept of a consumer society has many connotations, but lacks concreteness in its arguments. In fact, surveying the literature on the topic of a consumer revolution does not allow one to arrive at a succinct, neatly defined concept. The lack of concreteness in defining a consumer society can be attributed additionally to the fact that the concept is usually used in a supporting role, in aiding the explanations of other phenomena.


High Heaven rejects the lore of nicely calculated less or more'. (William Wordsworth). 'While a calculus of rational choice seems well-suited to the problems of the theory of the firm, it has never fitted as well in the area of consumer choice'. (Joseph Persky).

If there is a support of institutional power in the market literature, one might wonder how anyone can conceive of the possibility that consumers of popular music are sovereign over their decisions. 'The liberal view on markets for consumer goods has adherents in many disciplines, but its core analytic argument comes from standard economic theory, which begins from some well-known assumptions about consumers and the music market markets in which they operate', (Schor, 1999). The assumptions are as follow,

Consumers are rational,

Consumers are well-informed,

Consumers' preferences are consistent (both at a point in time and over time),

Each consumer's preferences are independent of other consumers' preferences,

The production and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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