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Music Industry Key Terms


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Music Industry Key Terms

  1. 1. Key Terms Click on the links below to read each definition, then on ‘back to jump back to the main screen. • Above and Below the line advertising • Convergence – Technical • Convergence – Media • Hardware / Software • Horizontal integration • Parent / Subsidiary label • Symbiosis / Symbiotic relationship • Synergy • Vertical integration
  2. 2. Synergy Synergy is when a record label works with another media company (within or outside the larger entertainment group) to promote two products simultaneously. This includes soundtracks of films (Avril Lavigne (a Sony Artist) doing a song for Disney’s Alice in Wonderland) and songs appearing on an ipod advert, eg. Each party benefits from the popularity of the other back
  3. 3. Vertical Integration The process in which several steps in the production and/or distribution of a product or service are controlled by a single company, in order to increase that company's power in the marketplace. Vertical integration has for some time been a developing feature of media ownership, but Sony and Apple have taken this to new levels. Consider Apple for a moment – it designs computer hardware, markets a range of accessories, monopolises the operating software that the user needs to use the computer (just as Microsoft does) and produces a range of software that broadens the appeal of its system – iTunes, iMovie and Garageband to name but three. back
  4. 4. Horizontal Integration Horizontal integration describes the process of two companies coming together, through merger (in the case of SONY BMG – now defunct as Sony bought back its share in 2009 and is now Sony Music Entertainment) or takeover (such as when SONY BMG took over Columbia. The company/label that owns another becomes the PARENT, the owned label/company becomes a SUBSIDIARY. Horizontal integration is a way in which companies grow and gain a bigger audience / market presence. As a media student it is your job to question the impact of such a large amount of content being controlled by so few entities. back
  5. 5. Symbiosis / Symbiotic relationships A relationship which is mutually beneficial. The music and broadcasting industries have a symbiotic relationship – the radio, for instance, and music television programming, rely on having pop hits in order to attract a larger audience and therefore make more money from selling advertising space. The labels need these media outlets to gain access to their audience and to create hits. There are twentieth century music genres that are inconceivable without radio (rock n’ roll, indie) just as there are musical genres which were shaped by their unfitness for broadcasting (reggae, house). At the same time, institutionally, the radio industry has never been controlled by the music industry; the music industry has never been dominated by broadcasting interests. The two industries are at once mutually reliant and mutually antagonistic; their relationship might be characterised as mutual exploitation. From the listeners’ perspective, then, radio has a somewhat ambiguous place in pop pleasures. It is both our access to music (to new records in particular) but also, in consequence, often seems rather to block access to the unknown or unexpected through fear of loosing audience numbers. back
  6. 6. Convergence - technical Technological convergence is the trend of technologies to merge into new technologies that bring together a number of different media. While historically, technology handled one medium or accomplished one or two tasks, through technological convergence, devices are now able to present and interact with a wide array of media. In the past, for example, each entertainment medium had to be played on a specific device. Video was played on a television by using a video player of some sort, music was played on a tape deck or compact disc player, radio was played on an AM/FM tuner, and video games were played through a console of some sort. Technological convergence in the last few years has resulted in devices that not only interact with the media they are primarily designed to handle, but also with a number of other formats. For example, the XBox video game console has as its primary purpose the playing of console games, but it is also able to play back video and music and to connect to the Internet. Similarly, most modern DVD players are capable not only of playing DVDs, but also of playing music CDs, displaying photos from photo CDs, playing encoded video in formats such as DIVX or VCD, and playing DVD music. Technological convergence also leads to devices that are designed specifically to replace a number of different devices. The Apple iPod, for example, while originally conceived of as a portable music player, is now touted equally as a portable video player, photo album, and radio tuner. Mobile phones, as well, have moved far beyond their beginnings as simple voice communication devices and now offer the functionality of personal music players, digital cameras, and text messenger systems as well. The Internet is perhaps the most widespread example of technological convergence. Virtually all entertainment technologies – from radio to television to video to books to games – can be viewed and played online, often with greater functionality than they have in their primary technology. back
  7. 7. Convergence - media The converging of digital technologies has allowed MEDIA CONVERGENCE - an economic strategy in which communications companies (inc. record labels) seek financial benefit by making the various media outlets they own work together by having the same product distributed across these different media. An example comes from Universal, whose subsidiary ‘Working Title Films’ made ‘Shaun of the Dead’. Universal also made sure that one of its other subsidiaries, UMG, produced the soundtrack to the movie. The strategy allows companies to reduce labour, administrative and material costs and to use the same media content across several media outlets. back
  8. 8. Hardware and Software Hardware: The physical, touchable, material parts of a computer or other system. (i.e. the iPod) Content: The information contained within the hardware (i.e. ITunes). back
  9. 9. ABOVE and BELOW the line advertising Above the line advertising: Promotional activities carried out through mass media, such as television, radio and newspaper, are classed as "above the line“ Below the line advertising: Below the line advertising typically focuses on direct means of communication, most commonly direct mail and e-mail, often using highly targeted lists of names to maximize response rates. back
  10. 10. Parent / Subsidiary labels Parent label: A record label which owns another smaller label. Subsidiary label A record label which is owned by another larger label or music group back