MS4: Music Industry
The Saturdays – formation, development and genre
The Saturdays are a British and Irish pop, R&B and electropop girl group. The
group consists of five members Una Healy, Mollie King, (a former X Factor
auditionee) Vanessa White, Rochelle Wiseman and Frankie Sandford (the latter 2
are former members of S Club Juniors). In 2007 the band were put together and
given an instant record deal with Fascination, a sub-division of Polydor Records.
N.B. Industry info: Polydor Records remains one of the strongest record labels in
the UK. In Spring 2006, Polydor launched Fascination Records, a music label
dedicated to pop music. Both Girls Aloud and Sophie Ellis-Bextor transferred to
the new label, and Fascination effectivel ‘created’ The Saturdays.
owned by Universal Music group (one of the ‘big 3’)
Timeline of events:
2007 – the band formed after auditioning to be part of the group (i.e. they were
‘manufactured’ by their record label Polydor). The signed to Fascination Records,
a sub-label of Polydor.
2010 – the band released a mini-album, Headlines. The single from this, Missing
You, went to number 3 in UK charts. Late in the year, work started on their 3rd
2011 – The group began recording the 3rd album, with press coverage promising it
to be more RnB,, more ‘danclefloor’ orientated, and even ‘sexier’. The girls in the
band co-wrote some of the songs.
Nov 2011 – 3rd album, On Your Radar, released. December 2011 – the girls
started their arena tour, the All Fired Up tour.
2013 – Living for the Weekend, fourth studio album, released October 14,
The album charted at number
10 in the UK charts.
Genre and style in The Saturdays’ music
Essentially, The Saturdays are a ‘pop’ band. Pop is clearly a vast and diverse genre,
in fact what you might call a meta-genre (a loose amalgamation of a variety of
styles all under the same umbrella).
The term pop music originated in the UK in the 1950s, as a description for the new
non-classical youth music styles that were emerging at the time. From the late 60s,
the term began to be used in opposition to ‘rock music’, giving a distinctive generic
significance to both terms. A western invention, pop music has spread throughout
the world and has come to constitute common denominators in global commercial
Pop music could be categorised as being mainstream, commercially orientated
(quantified through charts, radio airplay, etc) recorded music, often aimed toward a
youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing
technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes. It is also
often characterized as a softer alternative to rock.
Pop music has absorbed a variety of other influences, including soul, dance, gospel,
and electronic, and contemporary pop music, such as that made by The Saturdays, is
can clearly be seen as a hybrid of some of these popular styles.
Identifying generic signifiers in the music of The Saturdays
Listen to extracts from the following lead singles from each of The Saturdays’
albums, in chronological order.
For each, identify the typically ‘pop’ genre signifiers. What other subgenres of pop
can you hear as influences in the tracks? What sense of progression is there is their
music? Have the generic features and influences evolved as the band’s career has
First single – If This Is Love (2008)
Single from 2nd album – Forever is Over (2009)
Single from mini-album – Missing You (2010)
Single from 3rd full studio album – Notorious (2011)
Single from 4th studio album – Disco Love (2013)
The Saturdays - REPRESENTATION
Look at the cover images for 3 of The Saturdays’ singles (chronologically).
Annotate to highlight key representational issues. What do the 3 texts have in
Representations of Gender
Video analysis 1: ‘Ego’ (2010)
Reception Theory suggests that different audiences will read the same texts in
different ways due to their individual social and cultural backgrounds. It could be
argued that videos such as this are designed to elicit different responses from young
male and female audiences.
Read the introductory statements that could be made about the video, and complete
them, using terminology/theory where you can, and referring to specific parts of the
video as evidence (remember, this is the sort of tone you are aiming to write in for the
On the one hand, this video could be read by a young female audience as
empowering. The band members could be said to be representing young women
positively, as they…
However, it is also notable that the girls are emphasised sexually through
camerawork, mise-en-scene and editing, which facilitates the voyeuristic response
of the ‘male gaze’ from male audience members. This idea is reinforced through…
Video analysis 2: ‘Notorious’ (2011)
Watch the video (twice if necessary) and record your observations of key
representation issues below. Use specific scenes/images from the video as
evidence for your points. Try to comment on aspects such as:
Their status and persona
Similarities and differences to Ego video
Issues and debates in the representation of The Saturdays
Being a ‘pop’ band, The Saturdays have a lot of fans in their early teens, and even
younger. On the one hand, they have been represented (by the media, and to some
extent, by themselves) as role models to their younger fans. For example, they recently
came 14th in Capital FM’s Best Role Model In Pop 2011 online poll, with one fan who
voted for them adding, "Vanessa and Rochelle aren't your typical stick thin popstars and
we need more role models like that."
Recently, following comments in the media about her weight gain (which she later
revealed was due to an ovarian cyst), Rochelle Wiseman released a statement saying,
“As a band we take pride in being role models to children and other young girls and I
think that the best role model is someone who is comfortable in their own skin! And I
am!” However, they were also cited in a recent (early 2011) controversy surrounding the
sexualisation of children in today’s society. Look at the article below:
A Panorama investigation into the sexualisation of children will be screened tonight amid
fears that children are being bombarded with sexual images.
The show will be presented by newsreader Sophie Raworth, who says she was inspired to
look into the issue after being disturbed by what her daughter was watching.
She described her reaction to viewing a pop music DVD featuring popular acts
the Saturdays and Girls Aloud that her six-year-old daughter had been given as a
“Within minutes I felt deeply uncomfortable. As I watched these videos through the
eyes of a young child, I saw heavily made-up girls with huge false eyelashes in really
skimpy clothes with lots of cleavage and sexy dance moves. My gut reaction was to
switch it off.
“But children are surrounded by sexual images all the time – be it on television or the
internet, in video games, on billboards or in magazines. They are growing up in a world
which seems more and more sexualised.”
A recent report which features in the Panorama investigation has found that 24 per cent
of nine to 16-year-olds have seen some form of pornography in the last year and that
more than half go online when they alone in their rooms.
Miss Raworth said that her research had reinforced the importance of parents
communicating with their children.
“If there’s one message that has come through from all the parents and experts I have
spoken to, it is talk to your children, communicate with them and know what they are
doing, particularly online.”
Panorama: Too Much Too Young was screened on BBC One at 8:30pm on Monday 10
The Saturdays also use lads’ magazines such as FHM as a promotional tool, appearing in
phtoshoots and features in highly sexualised poses. Look at the recent promotional video
on FHM.com, showing the girls from the band taking part in an FHM photoshoot.
How can we reconcile all these differing elements in The Saturdays’ representations? Is
there an inherent hypocrisy, or is it possible for pop artists to be both
sexualised/objectified and to function as positive role models (i.e. to have a deliberately
polysemic image to cater for different audience segments?)
MS4 – Text, Industry, Audience (Music)
THE SATURDAYS – marketing strategies
List as many specific ways you can think of in which The Saturdays are marketed
and promoted to their audience:
Marketing is the pricing, promoting and distributing of goods and
services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational
objectives. It focuses on how customers make choices, and how
companies should design products and services in relation to these
In the music industry, there has been a shift away from
marketing specific products (e.g. albums, singles, etc), and instead
a move towards marketing bands and artists as BRANDS in their
own right (a brand with a ‘personality’ and that offers a unique
Examples of marketing strategies
Analysis of examples
Analysis of key selling points of ‘Notorious’ video
Analysis of online TV series, ‘2013 Flip videos’
available via the band’s official website and also
posted on youtube:
music channels, press
(eg official websites
– help to generate
word of mouth
(consider mode of address, audience positioning and appeal)
Analysis of official website:
(to include key selling points, what content is on offer
to fans, who it would appeal to, how it would
generate follow-on publicity, the concept of ‘team
Analysis of Facebook
(Link to theory – how do these sites work to engage
fans and promote the band?
(Use U&G and other key media terminology)
How is twitter used by The Saturdays?
Twitter, a social networking site, allows its six million
users to broadcast their every move to the watching world
through 140-character messages sent via the web or their
Twitter has been embraced by celebrities and politicians.
Celebrities used to just use a simple web page in order to
promote their brand and their image. Twitter has
arguably fundamentally changed the relationship between
celebtrities and fans, and has become increasingly popular
as a way for celebrities to tell their fans what they are
Look at The Saturdays official page,
http://twitter.com/TheSaturdays, and then click on some
of the individual accounts of each member.
With reference to specific examples of posts, explain how
twitter is arguably used by the band as a form of digital
Case study: Impulse TV ads
merchandise and tie- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVJujr0u4c4
Why are tie-in promotions such as this effective?
Who benefits and how? How do the ads represent The
Saturdays and who is the target audience?
(e.g. celebrity gossip
Analysis: OK magazine
Visit the OK magazine website: http://www.ok.co.uk
and search for recent articles on The Saturdays.
How are gossip magazines and websites used by pop
artists as a marketing tool? Give examples/evidence
from the stories that you find. How do the stories and
articles affect our ‘readings’ of The Saturdays?
(Link to theory: the 2-step flow)
Having considered all of the above, how would you sum-up the brand
identity that those responsible for marketing The Saturdays are trying
Create a visual summary (e.g. mind map) below to illustrate your
MS4: Text, Industry, Audience (Music)
THE SATURDAYS – sponsorship and tie-ins
Julien Temple, a music video director has been quoted as saying:
The best pop music is the truth of someone singing powerfully about what they
feel. If that’s owned by a conglomerate of soft drink, it’s like having an invisible
Pepsi sign engraved on your forehead.
That’s definitely part of the process of how pop music’s being killed. It becomes
useless because it’s incorporated. Lots of record companies are chaining music
down to where it’s not very interesting and nobody can do anything different with
(From As Heard on TV: Popular Music in Advertising, Bethany Klein)
The relationship between corporations and musicians have ranged from sponsorship
or tours and music programmes, to the use of popular songs in adverts, to, in
some cases, the offer to pay artists for approved lyrical mentions of products in
songs, or product placement in music videos. Each of these methods has raised
eyebrows to varying degrees in different markets.
‘Pop’ music has always been commercially driven, but is this commercialization
(using an artist’s name, songs or images) to sell other products in some way
‘degrading’ pop music? Or is it necessary in today’s climate in the music industry
where record companies are losing money due to illegal downloading and therefore
are looking for different ways to increase an artist’s profitability?
Use the link above to read the article on the website Brands and Films about The
Saturdays and to look for the placement of Ice watches in the video for Missing
Summarise the most important parts of the article into 5 bullet points below:
1. Fashion Union
The Saturdays’ reality show Chasing
the Saturdays was broadcast in the
UK on the Sky E! channel. The show
was sponsored by the online fashion
retailer, Fashion Union. The company’s
sponsorship ran for 10 weeks from
February 2013. The show is now to be shown on 4Music.
Reuters press agency reported: The campaign, which is targeted primarily at
women between 16 and 34, aims to continue to raise the profile of Fashion Union
and further position the retailer as the one stop online destination for up-to-theminute women`s clothing and fashion. Activity will also include an online push via
social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter, including a competition to win The
Saturdays` latest look. Pawan Khosla, CEO at Fashion Union said: "This is a major
campaign for FashionUnion. It`s the first time we`ve explored TV advertising in
this nature and E!`s audience is a great fit for this campaign which is very much
in-line with our targets and business objectives. "There is a clear synergy
between Fashion Union as a clothing brand and the programme content of
`Chasing The Saturdays`. Our target audience has a real affiliation with the girl
group and this sponsorship allows Fashion Union to remain front of mind when
viewers are looking to recreate the outfits worn by The Saturdays in the show
which fits in perfectly with Fashion Union`s commercial strategy."
Why is this a good tie-in for both The Saturdays and the companies involved?
Watch a clip from the show and analyse how the band are promoted and how
this acts as synergy for the group. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKPgjLTQHuI
In December 2011, cosmetic brand Rimmel announced that they were to sponsor
the All Fired Up Tour.
Read about the deal using:
Then look at how the tie-in was used in Rimmel’s own website:
Analysis points of the tie-in:
(representation; target audience; mode of address; key selling points; who
benefits and why)
2. Three-way tie-in between The Saturdays, Nintendos, and The Dogs Trust
The Saturdays recently joined forces with the Poppy Appeal to launch the
2103 November appeal – see article from The Daily Mail:
Create a visual summary [spider diagram, mind map, etc] which analyses both
the Dogs’ Trust and the Poppy Appeal, the techniques employed, target
audiences, and representations:
The Saturdays – checklist for the exam
Would you feel confident applying The Saturdays case study to the following
Explore the ways in which your chosen texts reinforce or challenge typical
representations of gender.
Explore the different representations of either women or ethnicity in your chosen
How do your chosen texts use genre conventions?
To what extent are your chosen texts typical of their genre?
Industry and Audience:
How do your chosen texts attract their audiences?
How successful have your chosen texts been for their industry?
Explore the ways in which audiences and/or users respond to your chosen texts.
Explore the impact of digital technologies on your selected industry.
How important is the internet to your selected industry?
Explore the marketing strategies used by your selected industry.