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Week ONE:

Music in Hypertexts: Toward a Real Media Integration

Francesca Chiocci, University of Siena

“Music in Hypertexts” explores the possible uses of music in hypertexts. Chiocci singles the possibilities for music in hypertexts out form other mediums because hypertexts today mainly incorporate the use of images or text. Music is used solely as “an agreeable background” alongside hypertexts. Once Chiocci introduces the correlation between music and hypertexts as they are today, she continues to draw out the “different and more profound” functions of music in three levels: Semiotic Level (as a labelling process in terms of culture and identity), Syntactic Level (music having an element of spatialization because “it generates resonant environments” and finally on a Pragmatic Level (where a link to one form of music may have links to other forms).

I thought this article was written primarily in scientific or subject specific jargon, making it difficult to understand exactly what the writer was trying to convey. This could however have had something to do with the article being translated from Italian. There needs to be specific examples given for clear communication to be sent to the reader. Although, I also believe Chiocci does raise an interesting point that music could be used more cohesively with hypertexts, just as images and text are.

Week TWO:

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom.

Yochai Benkler, Yale University Press

Yochai Benkler’s article discusses how networks and communications have evolved over the years and how these changes have impacted the way in which society lives and runs. To begin with, Benkler focusses on the “one way model” of communication that was primarily used when the Newspaper and the Printing Press were developed and how communication only travelled in one direction; to consumers. He also notes the “high up-front costs and low marginal costs for distribution” when networks used this one way model. The article then follows the invention and heightened use of the Internet and how this evolution changed the way members of society networked and communicated. Benkler continues to analyse the ways in which technological advances along with the ways in which we deal and manage these new technologies “defines the qualities of a period”. Benkler also touches on the logistical differences in utilising a “two-way model” of communications and networking (higher prices initially, lower prices for distribution). Benkler develops his argument further by by observing the most current trends of communicating and networking; a “multi-way” model where everyone and anyone can contribute and access any information, on the account of them having access to a computer.  He also emphasises the growth of this form of communication by noting structures such as Google and Wikipedia that enable users to search relevant information through one means in order to find millions of pieces of related information.

This article was highly insightful and allowed readers to analyse the sheer amount of information that can be accessed today in comparison to only a few decades ago. It is both a historical overview of communications and networks as well as offering an interesting viewpoint on where the information world is today and perhaps where it will continue to go. I was particularly interested in Beckler’s observations on how the efficiency and availability of networks and communication in a society, alongside the ways in which these ever growing networks and communication channels are dealt with lead to the overall “quality of a period”. This is surprisingly true when we analyse the difference of living before and after influential communication channels were created such as the printing press.
A View from the Trenches of Music 2.0

Sherman Young and Steve Collins

Sherman Young and Steve Collins’ paper describes the changing times of the Music Industry and the effect that these changes are having on artists and record labels. There’s a strong emphasis on the development of the Internet and how it has and is continuing to revolutionize the Music Industry.

The essay features case studies and opinions of various well known and independent artists such as Prince, Madonna and The Arctic Monkeys and their individual experiences with Record Labels and the Internet. These experiences range from not seeing a royalty checque from their Major Record Label, to opting away from their label to sign different contracts with alternate organisations who base their activities on Promotion and Touring. Sherman and Collins go into detail about the methods that artists and labels are taking to adapt to and utilise the Internet. Some of the mentioned ways are the creative uses of personal marketing schemes such as Radiohead’s self promotion and marketing ploy to “pay what you like”, the use of iTunes, CDBaby and the signings to Independent Record Labels instead of Majors.

Although I found this article to be very repetitive in content, the information given was quite informative and gave an overview of how the Music Industry is operating today with looks into how the Music Industry could be performing in two or five years time. I believe the Industry will continue to rely on the Internet and the many offerings that the Net 2.0 supplies. I also think that there is more bad news for Major Record Labels on their way in next ten to twenty years unless there is a new model created in the near future.

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