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
• Vertical integration
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 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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Hardware and Software
The physical, touchable, material parts of a computer
or other system. (i.e. the iPod)
The information contained within the hardware (i.e.
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.
Parent / Subsidiary labels
A record label which owns another smaller label.
A record label which is owned by another larger label
or music group