Chillin’ At The Altar Of Convergence – [DIGC202]

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As we advance through digital age, the role of convergence has become far greater than we could ever have imagined. It has provided us with a more efficient and effective way to create, communicate and distribute content with all most endless possibilities.
The term “convergence describes the flow of content across multiple media technologies” (2006, pg.1). Generically speaking, Jenkins describes convergence as a place “where new and old media collide” (2006, pg.2). Digital convergence is seeing a shift in the way we value digital content. It is powering social evolution, aiding creativity and the idea of a “read-write” (Lessig, 2007) culture and most importantly, creating technologies that have the ability to change the world.

Convergence allows audiences to play a significant role in the creation of digital content. The audience is transformed into an integral part of the technology and the catalyst for a more dynamic media platform. As a music producer convergence has not only enhanced my tools for creativity, it has created an economically sound way to deliver content.
Considering SoundCloud, convergence removes the monolithic structures of music distribution replacing it with a dialogic structure that allows the consumer to be apart of the collaborative production process, distribution and consumption of media content. In-tern this creates active communities that facilitates social awareness. This is terribly problematic for industries as convergence negates the need for gatekeepers and control. For decades, electronic music was known as an expensive art form but the door is now open to “academics and professionals, hobbyists and chancers” (Battle, 2012). This is no longer a point of difference with the help of convergence.
“In a world where media is global, social, ubiquitous and cheap” the ability for users to publish their ideas has never been more efficient. Convergence makes things easier. Audiences can create, share and communicate together on a global scale without the negative limitations of inflated costs of production and control from industries.

Because the power of convergence creates a participatory culture, we must consider the role of the user and the advantages and disadvantages of digital media. We must also examine to which extent social networking sites have enhanced the ‘‘do-it-yourself attitude to music promotion and distribution” (Paschal, pg. 13, 2011).
Oasis front man Noel Gallagher believes that the way we consume media has changed profoundly. We no longer consume content on physical mediums such as compact disks (random) or vinyl (sequential) and instead, prefer the convenience of digital downloads (hypertext).
As a lover of music I for one would would argue that there is still a place for each medium, it just dependant  on the attitudes of the audience. For those who love the nostalgic value of dropping a their favourite vinyl onto a turntable or others who simply prefer online music streaming services such as Spotify, there is a medium for every audience.

References

Battle L, (2012) “The Shape of Sounds to come”, The Financial Times Limited, London

Jenkins, H. (2006). “Worship at the altar of convergence”: A new paradigm for understanding media change. In H. Jenkins, Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide (pp 1-24). New York: New York University Press

Lessig , 2007, The Law is Strangling Creativity – TED, accessed 22/05/2012, http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_lessig_says_the_law_is_strangling_creativity.html

Paschal P, Rogers, J, (2011) “Social networks, legal innovations and the “new” music industry”, info, Vol. 13 Issue: 6, pg.13, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Convergence – Music – Amazingness

Luke Macdonald
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing

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5 thoughts on “Chillin’ At The Altar Of Convergence – [DIGC202]

  1. The way you write is immaculate and I enjoy reading your blog because I always learn something new! The way the music industry has been influenced by convergence is amazing. The fact that the next number one hit can be made on your phone, on a train bypassing traditional methods of recoding studios and industry giants means that bedroom producers/prosumers are getting their voice heard. As you mentioned in your post the once expensive art form is now open free for amateurs and I believe it has both positive and negative effects.

  2. I brought 3 physical copies of some new release albums on Friday. I also bought an old Nick Cave album the week before off the shelves. I was in class the other day buying old NIN music off iTunes. So I am currently consuming my musical content in a couple of different ways but I guess that I am not ready to give away the process of getting a physical copy and putting that on for the first time. Maybe it is because thats what has been ingrained in my head for as long as I remember, but I think that it is more to do with the bands and musicians I listen to. To me picking up a physical copy and putting it on is exactly how it was intended to be heard. They work hard to make a final product and then it is in your hands. To me its a package deal. Not just a bunch of files you buy. Convergence on the other hand has definitely made the obtaining of music an ‘ any time, any where’ kind of deal, which is incredibly handy if you don’t have the time to get to a store or simply need something in an instant. I know when the new Gaslight Anthem came out in 2010 I was working the whole day so I bought the iTunes release to listen to on the day and then went into the store the next day to get the physical copy. This signifies a need for both mediums.

  3. I find myself only buying physical copies of albums now if I particularly like the cover art, and that’s about it – the rest of my music is ‘purchased’ online in digital files. While I can see all the positives of digital audio as it is easy to move about with you and edit and share, I still do like the tangible nature of the album, but perhaps only for the aesthetics. I like how you’ve brought in so many arguments to come to the conclusion that all mediums are appropriate, as I think that is what is great about media convergence – that different platforms can be used to access the same content, depending on what you prefer.

  4. I feel there has been a successful convergence from traditional music media (CD’s) to MP3’s. I have hundreds of CD’s, simply because I loved collecting them. But I am just as happy to open my iTunes account and look at all the cover arts and the songs available to me at the click of a button.
    Yeah, nothing will replace the feeling of buying a new CD, but a digital library is still pretty awesome and it is enough for me to not miss CD’s at all.
    MP3’s also seem to have a culture behind it, much like burning your friend a CD, people are willing to upload and share songs with you just for the Internet props. It’s amazing the culture that the transition has created, it has brought people together from all around the world and a way that would have never been otherwise possible.

  5. I still buy CDs even though I purchase the MP3. For me I reserve going out and spending money for the case and the booklet in the cover for artists and bands that I am really invested in. Bands that I have listened to for years and I just need the physical copy of their music. I am the same with book. I purchase them on my Kindle and I find it extremely convenient, however, with a series or single book that I love I always buy the actual book, not sure why, probably nostalgia. With younger generations that will feel this obsolete (as we disregard vinyl records) who knows, maybe in the next 50 years books and CDs will become dead platforms.

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