Me as a pop music fan: what it means to be part of a mass By Rhianna Hillier
How is pop music seen? Pop music is seen as being mainstream. Mainstream is a formation that brings together large numbers of people from different social groups (across large areas) because of something they all have un common, in this case a music style. An example of a pop music artists is Katy Perry. Her music is very mainstream. Here is a link to one of her most popular songs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98WtmW-lfe The typical pop music genre is seen as an aim of appealing to a general audience, rather than to a particular sub-culture. The lyrics of pop songs typically focus on themes such as love and relationships, which are possibe for most to relate to. Over time, it has been influenced by most other genres of music. Early pop music drew on the sentimental ballad, used harmonies from gospel and soul music, instrumentation from jazz, country, and rock music, orchestration from classical music, tempo from dance music, backing from electronic music, rhythmic elements from hip-hop music, and spoken passages from rap.
High culture vs Popular culture Popular culture (or pop culture) is the collection of ideas that fill the everyday lives of people in society, including rock/rap music, films, fashion etc. It has also been equated with mass culture, which is seen as being mass produced for mass consumption. Pop music is an example of popular culture, as it is liked by a mass of people, rather than an ‘elite’. Whereas high culture is the culture of an elite, such as the aristocracy. Examples of things which are concidered as being a part of high culture consists of art, classical, theatre shows etc. High culture is the type of culture the Marxist approach agrees with. Theorist, Matthew Arnold said ‘ high culture was uplifting to society, and was to be distinguished from the degrading mass culture’, meaning that he believed that high culture brought out the best of society, which pop culture brings down.
Representation Key concept Representation, defined by O’Sullivan et al., is ‘the process of putting into concrete form’. It is the act of serving as a model, symbol or example of something. It is also how things are portrayed to others. A version of reality- a way of experiencing something indirectly. For example, pop music is usually thought of as being studio recorded, with a lot of editing in the music and in pictures and music videos of the artists. This is definitely a way of experiencing something indirectly for the listeners of pop music, as it is mostly seen as commercialised.
Power Power is the possession of control, authority, or influence over others and the ability to determine the course of events. People decide to attend concerts of artists they like. For pop music artists, the amount of people who attend is always a very vast amount of people. To show this, I have a link to the MTV website, which has a few videos of the pop artist, Lady GaGa’s, live performances, of which have large crowds: http://www.mtv.co.uk/events/festivals Does pop music have influence/control over people? Does being socially accepted have influence/control over people? Key concept Listen
Goffman Theorist, Goffman, came up with a dramaturgical model based on self-presentation, persona, front, personal style, cynical/sincere performances and masks. This theory can be linked to how people conform to popular types of music, such as pop music, because this is an example of how people consciously, or unconsciously, negotiate their identities to be socially accepted. Goffman believed that when an individual comes into contact with other people, he/she will attempt to control the impression that others might make of him by changing or fixing his setting, appearance and manner.
Rogers Circle The outer section of the model ‘Rogers circle’, which is the public self, relates to how people can act differently in public to be more socially acceptable. This is what people do in terms of music. As mentioned before, people let others know they are a fan of a popular type of music in order to be socially accepted, even if they are not as much of a fan as they tell others. This is linked to the theory of Gatekeeping. This is controlling what information about yourself is given out.