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Task 6


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Task 6

  1. 1. Critical approaches – Task 6 Critical analysis Patrick Gouldsbrough
  2. 2. Critical analysis of music genre magazines Q NME Mojo
  3. 3. Representation of individuals and groups The music genre of magazine portray individuals and groups very differently to the other genres available. This particular genre will not alter or edit the interviews from people featured in the magazine, therefore, creating a near true representation of that particular person/group. A few examples include NME’s portrayal of The Stone Roses, where they report the band saying: “We’re not worried about coming over as pretentious or anything. We’re not arsed what we come over like. So f***ing what?”. This representation of the band is a true one, while, very unconventional for magazines, not portraying a certain person/group in a positive or negative way. This is done by NME not commenting on the language the band use, instead, reporting that the band are “not the door kicking type”. So, despite the bad language, if anything, the band are been portrayed in a positive way by NME. However, this example is just what the media producer wants you to see. It may only paint half a picture, so the representation of the individual/group may be a false one. Also, as the key feature of representation states, no group/individual ever gives a true representation of themselves, just a version. This maybe relevant to this example and other examples such as the Arctic Monkeys in Q magazine. The Sheffield bands front man, Alex Turner, featured the lines “It’s always been an act one way or another. I defy anyone to walk out on the f***ing pyramid stage and just, like, be yourself” shortly after his bands Glastonbury appearance. Usually, in media texts, the group or individual would have been slated for using such language. However, music genre magazines don’t represent bands in a bad light, due to them wanting the consumer to make their own mind up about ho0w the individual or group represented themselves. However, the key feature of representation may apply to this example also. The only part where the music genre of magazine will communicate a positive or negative representation of people is the review section. This features the media producers critical analysis of the CD that the musician has made. An example of a negative representation in music magazines is from MOJO (bottom left). The media producer describes a few tracks on this particular album as “teeth grindingly irritating” which portrays this certain group in a negative way. However, a positive review from a music magazine (Q magazine bottom right) uses words such as “enchanting”, which is a very different representation compared to the first one. These words alone, without the review, allow the audience to differentiate
  4. 4. Gender representations In music genre magazines, the cover stars reflect the target audience, a male dominated viewership. Not many women are featured on the covers of the magazines, which includes NME, Mojo and Q. However, the magazines are still trying to entice the few women consumers that they have. They will traditionally do this by using stereotypically colourful and vibrant colours, as well as a stylish font, when these female cover stars are featured. NME has the most gender equal viewership figures out the three products, so will have more female enticing features, which may include cover stars, articles, colour schemes and house styles. Where as Q and Mojo are very similar with gender viewership, so keep their features and technique very male orientated. The colours on the cover and throughout the magazine are restrained and the cover stars are usually male. This features will appeal to the correct target audience of males. Unlike the majority of other media genre products, when women are featured, they are not portrayed as sex symbols. Instead, the females inside the magazine and the covers and represented the same as the males, in a near true representation of themselves. This is unusual because the editors of NME, Q and Mojo are male. If the product is made by males, for males, the females are traditionally portrayed as sex symbols, which magazines such as Nuts and FHM do. Like the individual/group examples on the other page however, this ‘near true’ representation may still be a version of the group/individual, due to the media producer giving you what they want you to see, which may not be a true representation of the group/individual, regardless of gender or age. This therefore concludes that both genders are represented the same in the media genre magazines, in a ‘near true’ representation of themselves, even if it is a version of them to some extent. The pink colour of the titles are orientated toward a female audience, while linking with the gender of the cover star to suggest a stereotypical connection. Lana Del Ray, the cover star, has not been portrayed as a sex symbol, like explained on the left. However, the layout or house style hardly changed and the rarity of a female cover star in Q enables the male dominated viewership to show in the construction of the magazine. NME, the most gender equal magazine, also features woman in a nonobjectifying way. The media producer, who features women a lot due to their high women viewership figures, also change their colour and style to suit a female reader. This is why NME is one of the most popular music magazines, it alters to fit the need of the audience, while appealing to all audience types. While the colours of the title and logo are restrained, the images colour has been lightened. Traditionally, Mojo have dark or black and white images on the covers of their magazines. However, due to a woman been on the cover, the media producer has decided to alter the cover to make it more female friendly. Like Q magazine though, the layout hasn’t changed due to the rarity of a female cover star.
  5. 5. NME – A young cover star for a young demographic target audience Age Representation All three media products appeal to their target audiences in terms of age. However, the difference in age demographics they are trying to appeal to, allow the covers and content to differ. NME are trying to appeal to a younger audience (15-25) where as Q and Mojo try and entice an average age audience of 29. This therefore follows that NME will feature younger cover stars, similar in age to the target audience, to try and appeal to the consumer. Music genre magazines, like any other will not be negative about their cover stars, but at the same time, aren’t too positive. This is due to the media producer wanting the consumer to make their mind up about how the feature stars have represented themselves. Mojo and Q – variation of cover stars, but also a classic band/artist featured as well as the cover star. This is regardless of age, the magazines will allow the audience to decide on the way artist represent themselves. On the other hand, both Q and NME magazine are negative towards younger bands, compared to the older, more experienced bands. Both media producers were negative towards The 1975, an up and coming band, because they were apparently “overplayed”. Mojo and Q have variation in their features, which always contains a classic band special feature, which is due to the older demographic the two media producers are trying to appeal to. Where as NME don’t represent other age groups because of the very young audience they look to entice every week with their media product. Apart from portraying the classic bands as “more experienced” and “professional” the representations in music genre magazines stay relatively the same, positive, with occasional negativity, age of these artists is irrelevant.
  6. 6. Representation of social issues Music genre magazines don’t have many social issues within them, but do however have a few. For example, Q magazine, due to their old band/artists inclusion, talk about the struggles of specific groups and individuals. A specific example is in the December 2013 issue, which features a section on Sonny and Cher. This article talks about Sonny been branded negatively in the USA for the way he dressed and acted. This is the only social issue of late that's been covered in the music genre magazines. This is down to the fact that this genre of magazines would rather talk about the positives of music and different musical groups because they’re trying to promote this picture to the consumer, not one of a negative music industry. Old cover stars Young cover stars A social issue about Sonny that was discussed by Cher in her ‘10 commandments’ article Presence Absence • Q and Mojo magazines inclusion of old bands appeal to the age demographic they intended to entice. Manic Street Preachers, Fleetwood Mac and Bob Dylan as a few examples. NME stick to young bands/artists because of it’s 15-25 age demographic target audience. • Young cover stars for Q and Mojo due to the older demographic they are looking to appeal to every issue. NME are the opposite, they include lots of young cover stars. Male dominated cover stars, which appeal to the male dominated viewership. This applies to all 3 media products, but NME include more women because, as previously mentioned, it’s the most gender neutral out the three. • Female cover and feature stars because the minority of viewers are females in the music genre of magazines. • Mojo and Q Male dominated cover stars Mojo, Q and NME NME *This doesn’t mean this always happens, media producers may rely on unconventional and unusual techniques to sell the product. Which will include female cover stars and young cover stars in Q and Mojo, while NME will feature an ageing or old band inside or on the cover.
  7. 7. Stereotypes This genre of magazine don’t use stereotypes whatsoever in their products. This is because, as previously mentioned, they want the consumer to decide on positive and negative representations, which stereotypes won’t help with. Instead, they use facts and opinions in their products to try and get the consumer to believe in their credibility and good name to sell their future product. Magazines that use stereotypes like gossip magazines such as Chat and Heat will use and rely on them to sell products, while not having loyal readers every issue, so having to use these stereotypes to generate revenue. Symbolic codes Every media product uses symbolic codes, including all three music magazines. This is to represent a certain group/individual in a certain light. There are many examples in each issue of these 3 music magazines. However one specific example is that of Q magazines. In the current issue, they dress Jake Bugg in all black, which can be connoted in many different ways. One of the ways that Jake Bugg can be represented through the use of this signage is: he’s a mystery man, who keeps himself to himself. Another connotation could be that he is a dark horse of the music industry. Many other meanings can be taken from this example and each consumer will see this and represent Jake Bugg differently to one another. An example of where symbolic codes are used on the front cover is Mojo magazine in December 2011. The cover depicts the band The Who, with a badge just above the title. This badge, which is featured on their greatest hits album connotes the mod movement in the 1960’s, which the band may have been part of. From this the consumer can clearly link the band to this social group due to it been connected to the band on more than one occasion. Cultural competence Titles from all 3 media products will sometimes alter to fit the writing of the artist, either used on a CD cover or the band logo. However, as the definition of cultural competence states, only someone who is interested in the particular genre will understand the link. Anyone outside the music genre or not interested in music would not understand the reference, like explained in task 5, which explains different cultures won’t understand the other, the same applies here.
  8. 8. Technical codes These codes are the only things that majorly differ between these three magazines. The size of the magazine is relatively similar with Mojo and Q magazines, 140 pages is usually the norm. However, NME has considerably less pages than these two. This is due to the weekly sale of the media product on the market. Therefore, the producers would be struggling if they put out a 140 page magazine each week, in terms of time and money. However, on the whole, in terms of the number of pages, this genre of magazine is the same (week or month basis does make the products different). The text to image ratio is also a key difference in the technical codes. Again, Q and Mojo are similar with the amount of text on a page outweighing the amount of images, which can also be said about the cover. Obviously, on certain pages will be unconventional and have more images to text, but as an overall product, this convention is in place. NME magazine instead outweigh text with images in their product, which starts on the front cover and carries on throughout. The one image on the front of Q and Mojo is instead replaced by various images on the cover. This convention might have been put in place due to the younger audience been targeted by NME, which are more enticed to a product if the images outweigh the text. Where as the 29 year old target audience of Mojo and Q like to read more text and prefer the pictures to just accompany the text, not replace it. Demographics aside, the genre of magazine in entirety is very similar in this technical code. NME is the only music magazine who’s images outweigh the text, so, it can be agreed that this feature is similar for products of this genre. Adverts is another technical code that magazines have, one which is also different in these 3 magazines in the genre as well. NME tends to have more adverts than the other two. This is because of the weekly sale of the product, but also, the target demographic. Younger audiences want a new product, according to the psychographic table where young people are categorised as aspirers, who want to try something new. The type of adverts in the magazines also differ. NME have more CD, trendy clothes and gig advertisements, Q and Mojo tend to advertise aftershave, suits and formal wear. These difference reflect the two target demographics that the products are aimed at. Mojo Text outweighs images NME Q Images outweigh text Text outweighs images
  9. 9. Q magazine The magazine, as you can see from the pictures, doesn’t really differ in house style from issue to issue. The positioning of the logo, the text outweighing the images on the cover, the colours of the logo, they never change. This creates a personal relationship with the consumer, while creating familiarity with the customer. What this does for the magazine is allows the audience to identify their magazine without reading any of the cover, the consumer will already have got accustom to the house style. NME magazine NME differs issue to issue, the positioning of the logo stays the same, apart from that, everything is different. The number of images on the cover, the colour scheme, the text layouts, it’s all different from week to week. This might be due to the weekly issue of NME, the producer may just be trying to keep it fresh, but it has a negative effect on the magazine. NME readers will not have that same personal relationship with the product, like Q. The audience won’t be able to differentiate between this magazine and other, the text and house style is too similar to others in the market. This may tell you a bit about why Q outsells NME. Mojo magazine Mojo magazine, like Q magazine has created a personal relationship with the audience through familiarity of a product. Mojo sticks with the same logo position, similar house style and colour scheme and similar retrained colours on the pictures. These features will intertwine with the credible name of Mojo and sell products every month. Like Q magazine, buyers of Mojo won’t have to look at any text on the cover and they can identify that the product is Mojo, due to the similar colours every issue.
  10. 10. Q Changes over time All magazines change over time to move with the times, while also moving with the target demographic. The audience of magazines change, sometimes this involves class, gender and age. Media producers have to act accordingly on adverts, colour schemes, layout and house style. NME The images used to outweigh the text on the cover, now it’s the other way on. This is to move with the older audience Q magazine have acquired over time. Brighter colours were added, due to Q magazine having an older audience than currently, at one time. The colour is the most notable change to NME, which has been changed to appeal to the ever younger demographic NME are trying to entice. The cover stars have always been young and therefore has always been a young persons music magazine. Mojo Then Now Same as NME, the young cover stars have always been featured, but Mojo used to be for an older audience, so the colour was the main change. Brighter colours were added to the magazine over time, which gave it a younger feel and the product will now appeal to a younger audience.