Institution Institution is all to do with the business and industry behind the texts. Institutions are the companies who own magazines and websites. It includes big companies who own a lot of magazines and websites, medium-sized independent companies who just own one or a few, and even small companies run by one or two people. Studying institution also includes: how texts are promoted and sold how the institutions of the Music Press support the institutions of the Music industry (the record companies, the artists and bands)
Research task Find out which music magazines and website these companies own: Emap Silentway Development Hell Ltd IPC Future plc This Must be Pop Egmont UK Bauer Put the institutions in order of size, from the biggest (own most things) to the smallest (own least things)
Watch…. David Hepworth talking about magazine institutions Clip 1 Who Does What (0.00 – 4.15) Discussions of the relationship between the Music Press and the Music Industry in Clip 4 The Influence of the Music Press (0.00- 6.08) Clip 6 Marketing the Music Press (all, 0.00 – 4.09)
Cross-media presence Some institutions have a multi-platform presence where they own web-based, print and broadcast texts, e.g. websites, apps, magazines, TV and radio programmes or even whole stations, all linked together. This gives the company more power and influence to make and break bands and artists. It gives the audience more ways to access their favourite texts. It means the company can cross-promote itself (i.e. advertise its magazine on its website, advertise its website on the TV programmes and so on). Which of the institutions in your research had the strongest cross- media presence?
The independents It’s good to be big, and have a cross-media presence but are there any advantages to being small? Small companies can focus on niche markets: i.e. a small group of bands / artists in a small sub-genre of music. They only need to appeal to a small target audience. Small companies don’t need to make as much money – they don’t need to rely on advertising as much; they don’t need to cover the big mainstream bands; they can be freer and more independent. Small companies can react to changes more quickly, update their product more quickly and stay ahead of the big companies. Small companies can feel special for the audience because not everyone knows about them; they often have a small group of really committed fans.
Advertising The Music press make a lot of their money from selling advertising space in their website and magazines. They have ‘core’ advertising, which is adverts from the Music Industry, about new albums, tours, merchandise and so on. They have ‘consumer’ advertising which aims to sell other things to the specific audience group, like clothes, cosmetics, hair products, cars and so on. They have ‘inserts’ which are separate pages or pamphlets loosely inserted into the magazine. There are also ‘advertorials’ which are a cross between advertising and editorials. Advertisers choose very carefully which type of advertising they want, and which magazine or website will help them reach their target audience.
Watch… Clip 5 Advertising and The Music Press (all, 0.00 – 7.06)
Where to advertise? Which Music Press title would you choose if you wanted to sell: Lipstick Expensive family cars Cheap ‘first’ cars Clubwear Houses Skateboards
Case Study 1: Kerrang! - success Until 2000 it was just a magazine: it started in June 1981 as an offshoot of ‘Sounds’ magazine, a one-off special dedicated to loud guitar music, then it became a monthly magazine, then a weekly. It used to sell about 40 000 copies a week In 2001 it launched its own TV station which has over 1 million viewers Kerrang! has since launched: Kerrang! radio station Kerrang! live events Kerrang! website The Kerrang! tour The Kerrang! awards Kerrang! CDs and DVDs Since it expanded, it now reaches about 5 million people per month, making it hugely influential in the rock / metal world. Fans can satisfy all their music needs through one institution.
Watch… The editor talking about how Kerrang! started in Clip 1 Who Does What (4.15 - 5.28) Clip 8 Kerrang! world (all, 0.00 – 5.42)
Case study 2: Smash Hits - failure Smash Hits was a very popular pop magazine in the 1980s and 1990s but then it lost so many readers that the print version ceased in 2006; it’s now only online. Its USP was printing song lyrics, and giving away free posters, but by 2006 all this could be found on the internet, more quickly and cheaply. Its audience had become younger and younger girls (10-14 years), so it lost credibility as a music magazine; it also lost many readers to the then new celebrity gossip magazines. Unlike Kerrang! it didn’t have a loyal niche market, and it didn’t diversify into TV or radio to expand the brand.
Watch… Clip 9 Smash Hits - the rise and fall of a music mag (all, 0.00 – 9.22)
Case Study 3: independents There are a lot of independent websites. They often fill a gap in the market and have a loyal niche audience. Investigate these sites, and any others you can find: This must be pop Drowned in sound The girls are Wears the trousers The Quietus Try to identify the target audience for each site, find out whether the text exists across platforms, whether it seems to be expanding or not, and how successful you think it is likely to be in the future.
Your own case study Choose an institution. It can be big and mainstream; medium sized and independent; or small and aimed at a niche market. Find out: What texts they own What music genres they specialise in What platforms they operate on What cross-media promotion they do Who their man audience is How they meet the four needs of their audience group Who advertises in their website or magazine What ideology / lifestyle they promote If / how the text fits into a larger institution How successful you think they are at meeting the needs of their audience / making money / promoting music