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Week 2 - 3rd October '19

To start off the session this week, we were posed with a question, which upon review required deeper thought than we first assumed;

'What areas of the Music Business still need to evolve in order to adequately adapt to the changing ways in which people are creating and accessing music?'

...of course, this is a very broad question and could pose a number of possibilities within its answer.

The main point that has come to my attention is through our increasing use of streaming sites. Many of us would argue that we could no longer survive without the likes of Spotify and our ability to create and access playlists. Before iTunes and other online ways to do this, the only way to make a playlist was through a 'mix tape' or a compilation album, which was nowhere near as easy to do or as easily accessible. With Spotify marketing itself through its playlists, people can not only listen to all of their favourite music in one place but can create their own playlists to share with others, and even collaborate in doing so.

However, although this is majorly benefitting music consumers, the artists themselves are at a disadvantage in the way they collect revenue from these streaming sites. Artists are not earning even a fraction of the amount they should be for gaining listens and follows on these sites, particularly newly starting or up-and-coming artists and bands who are relying on the sale of their music to obtain any recognition. I feel that there should be another way for them to be making at least some earnings from publishing their music this way.

Bandcamp, for example, mainly allow their users to use a 'pay as you want' method, meaning that the consumer decides how much the music they are downloading is worth. Although this can be seen as effective, where the 'true fans' of these artists are paying a substantial enough amount for their music, however this could make things even worse than the subscription method that many other streaming sites use. This could be allowing for too many people to access all their music for free, therefore leaving the artists with even less money and being unable to fund their music careers.

I feel that there needs to be a better algorithm within the streaming sites that allows artists, particularly the smaller ones, to obtain some revenue from their music being heard. Perhaps based on percentages rather than cumulative streams, i.e. depending on the amount of streams versus the amount of followers they have. This way it would balance the larger artists and the smaller ones, and allow for smaller artists to feel more of a benefit from having their music listened to.

In addition to this (on the topic of Spotify and streaming sites), I think that there should be a playlist, or number of playlists, accessible to the public on Spotify that have been essentially made by the users themselves. This could work similar to those already existing such as where songs that have had no listens are put in order to be discovered, but is more of a hub for people to find new and smaller artists. It would be a sort of suggestions box, where you could share a band that have less than a thousand listens or less than a hundred followers etc. and could then be accessed by more people. As this advanced, they could also be sorted by genre, demographic or even mood.

'Stuck in the Mud and 6' and '5 Yes 5 No';

The Digital Content for this week was split into two tasks. The first was an extension of that mentioned last week, where we were looking for the symbolic meaning and creative aspect within the University building. This became 'Stuck in the Mud and 6', whereby we had to choose a spot to stand in and then take 6 photos that were all different, being able to pivot and look around but not to move your feet. This was interesting as it took some creative thinking to work out how to be original with this. I again chose the most outstanding part of the Atrium building, the spiral staircase, however this time decided to go up to the third floor in order to gain some better perspectives of them. Upon completing this challenge, I soon realised how much movement could actually be done without moving my feet - pan up and down, left and right and round in a circle along with physically moving my whole body up and down, all of which affected the perspective of the photographs and the content within them, I even stood on the tips of my toes to get a shot of the whole staircase from above! (That is the photograph attached to this post).

'5 Yes 5 No' was a very challenging task for me; we were asked to once again go around the University campus, but this time asking random people if we could take a photograph of them. We were not allowed to specify all the requirements of the task, however were told that we were not allowed to return to the class until we had received 5 rejections as well as 5 people agreeing and having their photograph taken. I struggled with this because it was difficult to walk up to people I didn't know and asking them for a photograph, I felt like I was being invasive of their privacy, although I was surprised to find that it was often more difficult to get rejections- people are actually quite friendly and willing to help out fellow students! Despite my initial anxiety towards the task it definitely taught me a valuable lesson within the industry; you will get rejected but that's okay!

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