Wednesday, April 27, 2011
What is new media, and how does it fit into our lives? “We may begin answering this question by listing the categories commonly discussed under this topic in the popular press: the Internet, websites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMs and DVD, virtual reality,” stated Lev Manovich in his book The Language of New Media. It seems as if anything that can be accessed with computerization can be considered new media, however it still may be too limiting. Manovich continues to state, “…the computer media revolution affects all stages of communication, including acquisition, manipulation, storage and distribution; it also affects all types of media—texts, still images, moving images, sound, and spatial constructions” (pg. 19).
New media is a revolution, and it is indeed affecting our culture. Take for example some of the earliest technologies such as the telephone, or television. Sure at first they were not necessities, but as more and more people caught wind of these technologies, they had to have them. I believe that many people strive to somewhat “fit in” with having the newest technologies, leading to making them seem like necessities in our lives. And in reality, people can surely live without a telephone, television, or a car, but they choose not to. As time evolves, so do the characteristics of “new media” and “new new media.”
According to Manovich, there are five principles that help characterize new media: numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability, and transcoding. These principles state: new media objects exist as data, the different elements of new media exist independently, new media objects can be created and modified automatically, new media objects exist in multiple versions, and the logic of the computer influences how we understand and represent ourselves. I definitely agree with Manovich that new media can be described as cultural forms that depend completely on computers for distribution and presentation; however, it can be hard to distinguish what new media actually are.
In my opinion, I think Manovich’s proposition of “What New Media is Not” helps clarify and almost categorize what is considered new media, and assists us in gaining a better understanding of the characteristics of new media. He teaches us that: New Media is not continuous or digitally encoded, New Media can be played on multimedia machine, New Media allows random access unlike a film or videotape, New Media can be lost because it contains a fixed amount of information, New Media can be copied endlessly, analog media cannot, and New Media is interactive and participatory. While reading The Language of New Media, this information helped me to determine how new media are formed, and how they change our culture throughout time.
New new media is however a bit different. According to Levinson, “New new media are always free to the consumer and sometimes to the producer. New new media give its users the same control of when and where to get text, sound and audio-visual content as provided by new media. Indeed, new new media package all the advantages that new media provide over old media” (pg. 3). However, most would argue that new new media goes above and beyond new media. Us new new media users are both the producer and the consumer—along with hundreds of millions of other users. Levinson does however point out to us readers that new new media can also be both personally and socially destructive, just like any other tool we use.
I would like to shift focus to an issue that new media has helped create and continue to enable over time—online piracy. After distinguishing the difference between new media and new new media, it made me ponder which category illegal music sharing and downloading would fit into. It is obvious that illegal music sharing and downloading is free to the consumer—at his or her own risk, but is it free to the person producing the music? It is absolutely free to the person sharing the file, however, to the artist who actually produced the music, he or she is not directly benefiting financially.
Neil Kleinman, contributing author of Communication and Cyberspace, stated, “Throughout the mid-20th century, the intent of the law was pretty clear—to create a copyright law that balanced two interests: the need to keep the marketplace unregulated and the need to stimulate enterprise…” (pg. 72). The intent of that law does seem pretty clear, however regulating intellectual property in a digital environment is extremely difficult, and somewhat controversial. I agree with Kleinman’s statement that property is indeed a question of control, access, and ownership, but property is hard to control and actually own while being extremely easy to access via the Internet.
“As free speech and privacy grow out of our commitments to property, so too does copyright law. The same elements are in play—ownership, property, and marketplace valuation.” (Kleinman, 77). The Internet makes duplicating all types of works seem almost legal, however we are cheating both the owner, artist, writer, musician, or entertainer, and our economy. On the other hand, Kleinman does argue that we believe that the idea of copyright is based on property that is actually physical and tangible, meanwhile, new media challenges our idea of copyright. He states, “…I have argued that new media makes a mess out of the delicate balance between the scope of copyright (what’s protected) and the duration of copyright (how long it’s protected). The digital Web-based technology triggers questions of copyright each time a work is displayed, distributed, stored or manipulated, and the technology protects materials long after their useful life is ended” (pg. 88).
So now I will ask, “Is piracy a good thing, or is all of it completely illegal?” This is a controversial issue in which many people, especially online users are affected by, and may not even know it.
If you have ever downloaded music from the popular site “Limewire” before, you can be labeled as a “pirate,” or someone who illegally copies materials that are copyrighted from the Internet.
If you decide to buy your music or movies from “ITunes,” then good for you, you are going about online downloading legally. Whether online users realize it or not, we are doing wrong by many artists when we decide to illegally stream music or movies online, resulting in the artist or industry losing money. However, what we also may not realize is that some artists enjoy their fans listening to their music or watching their movies online, because it is still promotional for them.
Piracy has been on the rise since before the Internet even existed. When radio was the only way to listen to music, the blank cassette made it possible for people to dub songs extremely easily. Since the rise of the Internet, online piracy has began to occur more frequently, and it is now easier than ever. People are able to burn CD’s and DVD’s off the Internet, and now, more popularly, people use illegal downloading sites for music and movie previews and actual views.
One can argue that it is completely obvious why online users would prefer to engage in online piracy; it saves users a fortune, there are many websites that enable illegal downloading to be extremely easy to access, it is not as time consuming when you are streaming from a site, and finally, it enables pirates to sample a song or movie before they buy it. The pro-piracy side of this ongoing, social and cultural debate argues that piracy provides many benefits economically and culturally in our world. The article “Pirates Are the Music Industry’s Most Valuable Customers,” helps bring light to this side of the argument stating that pirates who share music-files online, actually spend more money than non-pirates, therefore helping the industry. The author states, “If anything, the music industry should have more respect for file-sharers, as they are their most valuable consumers. They are ahead of the curve and actually leading the way for the future of digital music, buying more digital music than anyone else. It’s the music industry that has to change, not the other way around.” However, the artists who put a ton of time and dedication into their music are being robbed out of money, but also getting advertising for free. All of these reasons seem perfect to engage in this criminal behavior, but when it comes down to it, online piracy is illegal and people should not partake in it.
Many people will no engage in piracy, including myself, with good reasoning behind it. The Motion Picture Association of America Faq page answers many questions on how to find movies legally online, the penalties of illegal downloading, and if piracy really hurts the film industry. And according to the MPAA, piracy definitely has negative effects on the industry. The website states, “The global film industry lost $18.2 billion in 2005 as a result of piracy. For any industry, this is a devastating impact that means jobs, economic growth and new projects that don't see the light of day. There are fewer jobs to go around. There is less economic growth from this creative industry, and fewer movies and TV shows get made.” Just as Kleinman stated, copyright is not a legal argument, it is an economical argument.
As you can see, piracy has a huge negative effect on the economy, and pirates are not protected in their illegal activity. It is the question of whether or not this illegal activity is actually worth damaging jobs and our economy. Not only does downloading files illegally have high risks of viruses, they also are almost all bad quality, and you are partaking in scamming the music and movie industry out of an abundance of money. Every minute, musicians and actors are losing out, and not making the money they deserve. However, not all artists are against it.
Online piracy can be considered either a huge issue or an advantage to many artists. The laws against online piracy are made to protect the artist and the music and movie industries, but in reality, some see piracy as a huge help, enabling a greater fan base and definitely more advertising for the artist. But then, of course, there are the artists that are more than upset that they are not receiving a cut from their work being distributed and easily shared for free.
Musician and “Nine Inch Nails,” group member Trent Reznor has absolutely no problem with his fans accessing the band’s tracks and video footage on the Internet without paying for it. He also believes that giving away your music is the only way the artist will make money and explains in the article “Trent Reznor Explains What a Musician Needs To Do To Be Successful These Days,” on Techdirt.com that new artists need to get noticed, build a following, and build a business model unlike the rest. The article states, “…the formula is basically: connect with fans and give them a reason to buy…and use free music to do both those things.” However he continues to state that signing with a label is the only way to become a superstar, but also a trap to give up everything to the industry. An extremely powerful statement the popular songwriter made in the article was, “The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact—it sucks as the musician but that’s the way it is (for now). So… have the public get what they want from you instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process…” If an artist gives his or her fans what they want, for example, free downloads from websites, the fans will come out and support the artist and attend concerts. This is still allowing the artist to make money but by winning over fans right off the bat.
Socially, Trent Reznor is giving his fans exactly what they want, and they love them for it. Is that what an artist needs to do to gain a greater fan base? Fans appreciate their favorite band doing things for them; it shows that they care about their following and want to give something back in return. According to Wikipedia.com, “Nine Inch Nails” released a digital download of their studio album The Slip on their website, for absolutely free. Obviously doing this for his fans, they responded with helping the video going viral after a short period of time. Online piracy is giving artists the opportunity to connect directly with their fans, which may or may not be giving fans the reason to get out there and buy albums or movies.
According to the article, “Radiohead’s Manager: File Sharing Should be Legal; It’s Great for Music,” it states that the popular band “Radiohead” also supported online piracy by conducting an experiment that allowed their fans to “pay what you want” for its last album. Their manager stated in the article that, “The sharing of music where it is not for profit is a great thing for culture and music.” It worked for Trent Reznor of “Nine Inch Nails,” and “Radiohead,” so can it work for just about any artist? Sadly, it is a risk that not every artist is willing to take, and I personally don’t blame them.
Not all artists want to take the charity route, or do not feel that they need to. As humans, money is naturally a number one concern in our lives, and the more you make, the more you want to make. Many artists do not want their albums or tracks to be easily accessed on the Internet for free. They work long and hard hours producing and recording these tracks and feel as if they should not be available for free, especially because it is illegal, it is going against copyright laws, and they are not making any profit.
Although I do not plan to work in this industry, I think working for free can be compared to any industry. The music and movie industries are based on expression and creativity, but making movies or albums is still a job. It does not matter how luxurious a career is, the individual still deserves compensation. A police officer would not enjoy fighting crimes for free, so why would an artist enjoy recording music that is just going to be shared on the Internet for free? It seems that the answer would be that musicians should be “all about the music,” and not about the profits. I can also see an argument that since “Nine Inch Nails” is extremely popular, well-known, and established, they can leak videos and tracks enabled to be downloaded for free because they have already earned more money than they probably have hoped for. Well, what about artists such as U2 or Madonna? They are also indeed established artists, but they both are against online piracy and believe it needs to come to an end.
According to Wikipedia.com, Madonna has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, is a huge pop icon, and is considered to be one of the most influential women in contemporary music. So why is she against online piracy? In the article, “Madonna Curses at Music Downloaders,” it states that Madonna wants all of her fans to think twice before illegally downloading music, and actually went as far to recording the saying, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” to play when someone thinks they downloaded one of her actual songs. The author states, “This follows what had appeared to be a “softening” of her stance, when she released unrestricted mp3s of her new songs to people who paid up early.”
After reading this article, I feel as if my stance on online piracy in the music industry may have become more liberal. Artists do have many reasons to be upset for not receiving profits for their work, but to go as far as recording a degrading statement to her fans was nothing short of ridiculous. I think it is respectable that Madonna is promoting the law of copyright, however I do not think the way in which she chose to promote the law was as respectable.
The well-known rock band from Dublin, Ireland, U2, also joins Madonna in taking a stance against file-sharing. They did not go as far as Madonna with insulting their fans, but they do believe that online music piracy is causing an extreme downfall in the music industry. In the article, “U2’s Manager Lashes Out Yet Again: Blames Absolutely Everyone for Not Making U2 Even Wealthier,” U2’s longtime manager, Paul McGuinness has no remorse in saying that the music business is being destroyed by online piracy. Bono agrees with his manager that, “Cable operators, ISPs, device manufacturers, P2P software companies—companies that have used music to drive vast revenues from broadband subscriptions and from advertising,” are to blame. Basically they believe that absolutely everyone besides the recording industries is responsible for this ongoing problem—which is all made possible by new media. So, how do we solve it?
In my opinion, we have two options. We can keep fighting this ongoing issue, making more laws, punishing pirates, and asking artists to stand by our side, or we find an alternative way to get our artists and industry paid. I will remind you of the statement Trent Reznor made that I believe to be true, “The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact—it sucks as the musician but that’s the way it is (for now). So… have the public get what they want from you instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process…”
I personally agree with Trent Reznor that no matter what, music is free, and it is going to be extremely hard to establish laws that pirates cannot get around. However, just because these songs are released on the Internet, it should not automatically mean that since they are not tangible they need not to be considered under copyright law.
Obviously there are pros and cons of online piracy that we all are definitely aware of. What we are not aware of is that there are many different stances from artists about illegal file-sharing. I definitely think that the continuation of artists either speaking out for or against this issue is benefiting us fans and giving us a little bit more knowledge than we already have. In closing, Neil Kleinman said, “The point is that a discussion of copyright is not merely a legal argument, nor for that matter, an economic one. It reflects a view of language, culture, and the relationships we mean to have with each other. It is this we have to work through” (pg. 95).
With over 600 million users, Facebook was not the first, but it is certainly the largest of the social networking sites As the blockbuster film “Social Network” reveals, Face book started as a website aimed primarily at college students but has now become popular among junior high and high school students, as well as adults Facebook has re-united friends and families through its search mechanism Facebook has also have been of great utility to businesses that are trying to get a better understanding of who their potential customers are The “Like” button has been the key to a world of valuable consumer information
Facebook is obviously increasing the amount of time that people communicate but is it diminishing our abilities to communicate in person? Consider an article written by Lisa Valentine in the Star Tribune during the summer of 2009 Valentine, a school counselor, argues that the art of communication is being lost to technology She believes that this development will have a large and negative impact on the youngest generation Some would certainly argue that the author is over-exaggerating and that social networking sites such as Facebook, are only improving our communication skills They claim that the new generation will be even better than their parents at communicating Although, some of these critics may be right, it is hard to ignore some of the evidence that suggests otherwise
Consider a study done by Stephanie Tong, Brandon Vander Heide, Lindsey Langwell, and Joseph B Walther in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication The Authors found that there is a direct correlation between the numbers of Facebook friends someone has and the amount of time they spend socializing in person In other words, people who spend more time on Facebook are less likely to engage in real life socializing Now some would certainly suggest that Facebook is merely a variable in this equation, and that it is not the cause of people’s lack of social skills but merely a way in which people that are less-socially inclined communicate with one another Even if this were to be true, it does not negate the fact that Facebook is enabling these people to avoid person-to-person communication Although, this study was focused more on people who are less-socially inclined, it has some implications for how Facebook is impacting society as a whole Furthermore, it may be more informative to observe the impact that Facebook is having on people who are at a medium level of social activity
When Facebook reached the 500 million-member mark in 2010, it was clear that this was no longer a site used only by hyper-social college kids and “teenie-boppers” Facebook has reached the mainstream across many layers of society
One cannot write about the impact of social media on interpersonal communication without discussing Twitter A brief history of the domination of Twitter is as follows:
Twitter is a website that offers a social networking and micro- blogging service Users are able to send and read messages called tweets Tweets are posts limited to 140 chracters isplayed on the user's profile similar to the statuses on one’s Facebook profile page Tweets can be seen by the public; though they can be made private or restricted to a user’s followers Anyone who creates a twitter account can subscribe to another user’s account to view tweets and other information posted by that user Twitter has had such an influence on the world that terms such as ‘tweet’ and ‘twitter’ have become a part of the mainstream lexicon used by the youth, not just in America, but also in many countries across the globe
Jack Dorsey created Twitter in March 2006 and launched the site in July 2006 Twitter has since achieved a massive popularity in the United States and abroad It is estimated to have 200 million users, generating 65 million tweets a day and handling over 800,000 search queries per day At the time of the creation of Twitter, Dorsey was an employee of the Odeo Corporation It was on March 21, 2006 that the first tweet was sent by Dorsey, “just setting up my twitter” Then launched publicly at Odeo on July 15, 2006, Twitter then branched out into its own corporation in April 2007
Steven Johnson, a Time essayist, explained the basic mechanics of Twitter as "remarkably simple” He wrote “As a social network, Twitter revolves around the principle of followers When you choose to follow another Twitter user, which user's tweets appear in reverse chronological order on your main Twitter page If you follow 20 people, you'll see a mix of tweets scrolling down the page: breakfast-cereal updates, interesting new links, music recommendations, even musings on the future of education”
Twitter has been ranked as one of the ten-most-visited websites worldwide according to Alexa's web traffic analysis, however daily user activity fluctuate as Twitter does not release information or statistics on users’ active accounts and profiles A February 2009 Twitter was ranked the third most used social network based on their count of 6 million unique monthly visitors and 55 million monthly visits by competecom In March 2009, Twitter was ranked the fastest-growing website by the Nielsen organization From 2008 to 2009, Twitter had annual growth of 1,382 percent, increasing from 475,000 unique visitors to 7 million
According to Quancast, twenty-seven million people in the US used Twitter as of September 2009 Twitter is primarily used by older adults who may not have used, had access to, or were unfamiliar with other social sites that existed prior to Twitter, according to Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst studying social media Because of its relatively easy manner to use and lack of other applications as compared to Facebook or MySpace, older adults are now joining teenagers and adolescents in using Twitter According to Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times, only eleven percent of Twitter's users are aged twelve to seventeen She attributes this to Twitter's "early adopter period" in which social media networks were gaining an increase in user usage in companies, corporations, and other organizations in professional settings News outlets such as CNN and Fox News and other news outlets also used Twitter in their broadcasts and dispensing of news, which has led to Twitter attracting primarily older users Twitter has also appealed to celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher, and Britney Spears These celebrities are able to maintain regular access to their fans and offer communications and self-promotion in quicker and newer format than previously allowed in the past to celebrities Another term brought into the modern day lexicon is Twitterati, which refers to celebrities who use Twitter.
Another phenomenon to have a major impact (if not the biggest) on interpersonal communication is Text messaging Texting refers to the exchange of briefly typed messages between two users (either through LAN-line phones or cell phones or computer or other devices through a network) Originally texting referred only to text-based messages, however through the increasing development of modern technology texting messages can also refer to images graphics, and video & audio content
The first text message or SMS (Short Message Service) was sent by Neil Papworth, a test engineer for Sema Group in December 1992 He sent the message, “Merry Christmas” through his personal computer to Richard Jarvis’ telephone via the Vodafone network
Standard text messages are limited to 140 bytes, which are 160 characters from the English alphabet While texting arose in the 1990s, it did not reach its current popularity until the early 2000s The lack of early growth and usage was due, in part, to billing and charging issues
Today, however, text messaging is the most widely used mobile device service in usage As of 2007, 74% of all mobile phone users worldwide, or 24 billion out of 33 billion phone subscribers, were using text-messaging services
Text messaging is primarily used between private mobile cell phone users, as an alternate for voice calls during moments where voice communication is impractical or unfeasible In some areas, text messaging is considerably cheaper than placing a call to a mobile cell phone Text message services have developed and continue to develop quickly worldwide It is so popular that ‘texting’ has entered the common lexicon Text messaging has also become popular enough that many companies and organizations advertise by sending mass texts or repeating texts And it has even been incorporated into mainstream television and reality shows where viewers can vote for their favorites in various contests on such shows as American Idol or Dancing with the Stars.
The introduction of text messaging has made possible new forms of interpersonal communication and interaction that were impossible prior to its invention. What some consider a benefit is that an individual can now carry out an entire conversation without the effort of having to actually speak to another person Another benefit is not having to worry about the expectation of having to respond in quick amount time or without having to set time to physically hold a conversation
Texting and social media have played a major role in world politics as evidenced by the use of social media during the recent events in Egypt and the Middle East During the events, protestors were able to communicate with each other and the rest of the world via text messaging and posts on Twitter and Facebook CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and other news media outlets were receiving reports from journalists and reporters In fact, some would say the initial ideas for the revolutions sprang forth from social media with postings on Twitter and Facebook
Web based social networking services, like emailing, instant messaging, and sites like MySpace and Twitter make it viable for people to connect and share their interests, opinions, activities, and happenings across political, religious, economic, cultural, ethnic, national, language, and geographic borders Through e-mail and text messaging, online communities are created, formed, nurtured, perpetuated and are encouraged through cooperation amongst vast networks of users Information is readily shared and made available to the public and other users via the Internet Most of this information can be beneficial, but in some cases, detrimental as will be presented further along in this paper
Facebook and other social networking sites are progressively more the object of scholarly research Scholars in many fields (including business, science, engineering, psychology, etc) are beginning to scrutinize the bearing of social networking sites and are investigating how such sites may play into issues of self identity, confidentiality, society, youth, and education.
Several websites are starting to note the power of the social networking model for charity and philanthropic work These websites and social media outlets make available options for connecting otherwise disjointed industries and small organizations without the capital to reach a wide-ranging audience with similarly interested users Social networks are forging ahead with different ways for individuals to communicate digitally The capabilities of texting and social media allow for the sharing and dispensing of information and ideas
Taking such a pivotal role in world affairs is just one of the many examples of how social media has impacted positively on interpersonal communication Social media has forever changed how the world communicates within itself People who are unable to pay high rates for calling, can send a message via text message They can send photos and videos via Facebook They can comment on their activities via Twitter They can ‘chat’ via instant messaging They can even video chat with the use of a webcam and programs such as Skype Also, the speed with which people can communicate is increased exponentially Another positive aspect to social media is the fact that people can communicate in large numbers They can keep in touch with people who they have not communicated with in years Also, awkwardness can occur when people physically speak via the phone or even face-to-face Social media alleviates the stress of personal encounters between two or more people Social media is like a cyber window into the lives of its users
The aforementioned examples listed above with regard to the type of technology imparted to the world by social media, the speed with which one can communicate, and the quantity of simultaneous communicators However, many more examples can be given for the positive benefits of social media As previously stated with the role of social media in Egypt and the Middle East protests, social media links and connects the world in quick massive bursts of texts, videos, and other data formats to get messages across Social Media outlets like MySpace and Youtube allow artists (both cinematic and musical) venues for reaching a much larger and wider audience in a faster manner Artists such as Lily Allen, Justin Bieber, and Rebecca Black have all risen to fame (and in some cases notoriety) through the use of social media They release audio tracks on their websites They then make corresponding videos released on YouTube Within days or weeks, they can have nearly a million “hits” Hits refer to the number of views a specific video clip or also refer to the number of times an audio track has been listened too Hits also generates “word-of mouth” buzz around each artists On a plus side for the fans, but perhaps a negative for the artists, viewers are also able to comment or give their opinion about the particular artist This is an active forum for users, giving them a semblance of creditability for which they can offer their critiques While in some cases (like Rebecca Black), the criticism can be hurtful and downright cruel for the artist In other cases (like Justin Bieber) the viewer feedback can translate to deals and contracts with major record labels and producers “Hits” to various production or recording companies translates into monetary gain through which they can profit from their musical or cinematic artists
In 2010, Michael A Stelzner, who organized the 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, has compiled a comprehensive list of the seven social media marketing benefits, after surveying 1,898 marketers
These seven benefits include: (1) generate qualified leads, (2) sell products/services – both contributing to revenue growth, (3) generate exposure, (4) increase subscriber traffic, (5) generate new business partnerships, (6) reduce marketing expenses, and (7) help sell services and products
As with all things, there are negative aspects to social media Some see the heavy reliance to social media like Facebook and Twitter as an addiction People will spend hours logged into their computers avoiding the outside world, to the extent of lack of self-care Hygiene and health can be impacted negatively Also some see the dangers of social media with the lack of privacy and censorship Many users broadcast every minute deal and their up-to-the-minute activities Online users who share private and personal information online sometimes fear that this gives access to cyber criminals who may attempt to steal one’s identity There is also the general fear that organizations like Facebook and MySpace sell or reveal their users’ information to various companies that can abuse this information for financial or personal gain
Social media has developed into the new age of what we consider new media With this said, social media has grown to establish a foundation in the way our society communicates. The way we communicate with those around us is constantly changing. There is no guarantee that the social media we have become accustomed to now is going to be relevant to society in the next few years. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, texting, etc have become mainstream and it seems hard for the generation who has grown with them to imagine life without it.
2. Plan ahead. Start out with a clear vision of the reason you're making the video, and what you want to end up with. If you go into it with a plan, you'll save time and energy and make better content.
3. Don't blatantly market yourself. You can't just put a commercial up and call it a day, Miller says. People don't come to YouTube to watch commercials (SuperBowl ads aside). Your videos have to be a "soft sell" -- entertain them or offer them some information of value, and market yourself indirectly.
4. High-quality production. For YouTube standards, all this really takes is a basic video camera. A tripod can help, too.
5. Keep it short! The audience on YouTube has a very short attention span. Keep your video under two or three minutes, Grenney advises. If you need to make longer videos, break them up into separate segments, each on a specific element of the larger topic. (BusinessInsider.com)
New Media Killed the Radio Star
First came the ability to print in mass quantities. Outside of speaking in a public forum, this was the first time in communication where one could send a message to a mass audience. The problem, which still exists today, is the time and resources spent on printing. If only there were a way to send messages to mass audiences, across great distances, instantaneously without wasting resources? Voila, radio to the rescue! Radio changed the landscape of communication. The term “broadcast” earned new meaning. What once meant to cast or scatter abroad over an area, as in planting seeds, (Dictionary.Com) now included the idea of casting messages to a mass audience. It was the first of its kind in electric mass media, which lead the way for television and new media to follow.
In many ways, Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection can be applied to certain technologies and media forms. We see it constantly as in the death of the VCR. New technologies evolve, like the DVD in this case and replace the less efficient ones. To this point in history, the mainstay forms of mass communication, like print, radio, television and film have survived although new media technologies do threaten their existence. Mass Media send its messages using any combination of these three tools: Image, Sound and Text. Just happens to be the title of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s introduction to communications course. Radio is one of few media formats that only can use one of those tools. Unlike, television which at times uses all three and print forms which can use two at a time, radio can only communicate using sound. This puts radio at a disadvantage for many reasons. One of the biggest disadvantages is also one of it’s biggest advantages in radio’s competition for our attention. In the car or at work, people usually don’t have the option to watch TV or read, so they listen to something in the background. This is where radio had it’s captive audience. The disadvantage is at home a majority of people turn off the radio and turn their full attention to other media formats like TV or a magazine. But, in the car and at the office it was the radio that had your ear, you didn’t have a choice early on.
As time went on and technology developed, more choices became available on how people received their media content. Now mass media would compete with each other like corporations would for the people’s attention or business. Each time something newer and better was introduced, the older media format lost some of it’s audience. It is logical to think that print media would be the next to become extinct considering all of it’s new competition. With a more environmentally conscious society, it is no longer feasible to continue printing on paper, especially considering the options new media has introduced. Nearly all newspapers and magazines have a web and mobile presence. The convenience of having the transportable paper to carry around has been answered by smart phones and tablets. E-readers like the Kindle are taking the convenience of carrying a book around and making it an inconvenience because you can store multiple books digitally on one light weight device. Considering all that, will printing on paper every really become extinct? If so, what media format would be next? The next logical choice would have to be radio.
There is no telling what the future holds. So, is it prudent to predict the extinction of a media form? Probably not. Even with all the advances in technology, will there always be a practical need for paper printing? With all the reasons new media gives people not to waste paper, Multifunction Printers are some of the hottest selling electronics today. There was a time not too long ago when many said computer printers would be extinct. So it is impossible to predict the future, but it is possible to notice the trends. Print media is on the decline and right there with it is terrestrial radio.
We noticed the process of these older mass media technologies like radio and print media being phased out and we must accredit this to the increasing competition brought on by new media. The really interesting part is the evolutionary responses of these older forms, specifically how they adapt to survive. This process is known as remediation, the making of new media forms out of old (Bolter, and Gromala ). We see print media putting out a great effort to remediate the paper and ink methods of yesteryear in to new media technologies. As for radio, it seems as though competing companies are remediating the idea of radio and creating new options for the public using new media, while terrestrial radio was slow to react to the quickly changing media environment. Now just about every commercial radio station has a web stream and a smart phone application, but new media organizations like iTunes and Pandora have already established themselves as dependable and in many cases preferable alternatives.
Will terrestrial radio technology ever really go extinct? Probably not. Even though new media technologies have improved communication so much, there will always be a need for radio technology in communication. Why is that? Because it is reliable. Whenever a disaster happens, like the earthquakes in Japan and Chile, new media communication technologies inevitably fail, but radio always allows for communication to the affected area. For this reason alone, terrestrial radio will never completely die. However, terrestrial radio as a media business is on the decline just like print media. Radio stations, as we know them today must adapt to survive.
As mentioned early on radio only has the ability to compete for the public’s ear. This is a disadvantage in the sense that other media formats are more attractive to the public because they offer more stimulation to other senses. Let’s not forget a picture is worth a thousand words. The big advantage for radio is there are some places were people cannot devote the attention of their eyes and ears simultaneously, like in the car and at work. The problem for radio is when other media forms compete for your ear at those times. At first the process was slow moving, but now new media has introduced countless options that directly compete with terrestrial radio.
It is said the first car radio was introduced in the 1930s. This was a huge relief for travelers who now had something to listen to in the car. Car audio continued to develops as travelers were given more options. Early on people had the option to play 45 records while driving, while impractical it was the first competition for radio in the car. Then technologies developed that allowed drivers to listen to 8-Track and Cassette Tapes while driving. The last development before new media inundated travelers with audio options was the introduction to the CD player to the automobile. It’s arguable that the CD player can even be considered new media because it’s the first digital medium of it’s kind. Now the radio had direct competition for the public’s attention in the car and at work (Wikipedia).
Another one of radio’s disadvantages is it’s limited supply of content and the fact that the listener doesn’t have a choice, other than changing the station, in what they listen to. The radio stations determined their content and the listener had little say outside of the request line. Introducing new media formats to the car and office that gave the listener a direct choice in what they were hearing is the biggest competition factor for radio and other media formats battling for your ear. Now anyone could listen to anything they wanted right out of their own audio collection according to their own individual tastes, not the taste of their collective demographic. The problem for these media formats competing with radio is that it involved physically carrying what you wanted to listen to. Cars and offices would surely become littered with tapes and discs. And God forbid you lost one. So, even with all these new options, the radio was still convenient to listen to because it didn’t involve all of these other moving pieces.
With all the technological developments of the 20th century, radio still had it’s place and was safe amongst all the competition. However, as we transitioned into the new millennium new media would answer all the problems older media formats had in their competition for the public’s attention. In essence, it was the digitalization of our world that made it possible along with the almighty power of the internet.
New media has opened new doors in the realm of audio. As mentioned before, radio which was only competing with few alternatives now is competing with countless ones. As a result, many small radio stations around the country are going out of business. The radio stations that are left are a part of massive media organizations that are for the most part, are distributing much of the same music, talk and information across the country. New Media, more than anything has given people the choice and the voice. The choice to listen to whatever they want and the voice to let the world know. Terrestrial radio stations have no choice but to broadcast whatever gets them the most ratings.
Before new media it was easy to see which media formats were directly competing with each other. Radio stations for the most part competed with other radio stations. Now it is completely different. It is hard for some people to think that a terrestrial radio station is in direct competition with John Smith’s iPod, but it is. New Media has introduced so many options to the public that directly compete with terrestrial radio that it has threatened the existence of radio as we know it. The following will explore many of these new media options in detail and explain how exactly they are stealing radio’s audience.
The invention of the Sony Walkman in many ways can be likened to the invention of the transistor radio. Before both of these technologies you had to be next to a radio or record player to listen to music. Once the transistor radio came alone there was instant portability. Families could go to the beach or wherever and bring along their little transistor radio and have entertainment in a place where you were usually responsible for entertaining yourselves. The Walkman was exciting because it offered that same portability, with a choice in programming, but as mentioned earlier it included the hassle of carrying around cassette tapes or CDs. So, even though the Walkman was a popular and successful item, radio and specifically the transistor radio still had its place (Wikipedia).
The eventual stake in the heart of the transistor radio and Walkmen was the development of the MP3 (MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III). It is an audio format for digital audio encoding. Now, it is not the first digital audio file ever created, remember because CDs had been around several years before the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) patented the MP3 circa 1993. If CDs have been around so long then why was the MP3 such a major phenomenon? The digital audio files used to make Compact Discs were called WAV (Wave) files. These were heavy duty, high quality audio files that took up a lot of memory, which is why you can only have so many tracks on a CD. At that point in time, during the early development of dialup internet, it would have taken a lifetime to download a complete WAV file. MP3s however, are compressed audio files designed to require significantly less data. The great thing was, to the untrained, non-superhuman ear, you couldn’t tell the difference and you had an audio file approximately 11 times smaller than you would on a CD put out by a record company. With this technology CD-Rs (Compact Disc-Recordable) started to replace cassette tapes as a way to create the popular “Mix Tape.” Still at this time radio wasn’t seeing the great effects this new technology would eventually have. The first industry to be hit hard was the music industry. However, radio would see the start of this new revolution in the not too distant future (Wikipedia).
As mentioned earlier, the Sony Walkman technology was kind of like the second coming of the transistor radio and we’ll see more and more that many new media technologies had that same effect. In 1996 the first portable Digital Audio Player (DAP) was introduced to the market. The term DAP never really caught on. Most people have refereed to these devices as MP3 Players even if the device supported other audio files like WAV or SDII. Now days, no matter what company makes the devices many people are inclined to call it an iPod much like other brands that have claimed the name of one of their products (Band-Aid, Q-Tip). These MP3 players were the eventual stake in the heart of radio, because it led to the iPod. Now people could store several CDs worth of music onto one device and carry it around with them wherever they go. The hassle of carrying around tapes, records, disc was alleviated. Even the hassle of burning CDs was solved by the invention of the Digital Audio Player (Wikipedia).
At the turn of the century, a two year phenomenon took place that would affect the future of radio and the entire music industry forever. The phenomenon that only lasted two years was Napster. It was an online community with an easily understandable interface that allowed users to share MP3 files for free. Now it all ties together. Assumably before Napster, it was more difficult to build up your MP3 collection for your MP3 player. Now nearly every piece of music, even rarities where available on Napster for download with absolutely no charge. No more buying CDs, no more listening to the radio. You are your own music director, you program your own radio station exactly to your tastes and you don’t have to deal with commercials, not mention your not spending a dime. Of course this was all illegal, which is why it only lasted from 1999 until 2001, but it opened up a Pandora's box for terrestrial radio and the music industry alike. New file sharing companies like Limewire and Kazaa started sprouting up and practically no one was buying music because it was too easy to get for free. Before MP3s and Napster, if someone wanted to hear new music they would listen to the radio. If they wanted to hear it again they would buy the record. The radio station and record companies were happy. They had a symbiotic relationship. Napster and MP3 threw a giant monkey wrench into the situation and change the culture forever (Wikipedia).
Earlier, MP3 and MP3 Player technology was referred to as the eventual stake in the heart of terrestrial radio. The true stake was crafted and administered by a man named Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc. In the late 1990s Apple was struggling. Their computers weren’t selling as well so they desperately needed a new product to stay afloat. In 2001 Apple introduced two major developments, the iPod and iTunes. It is safe to say these products saved Apple and launched them to their increased popularity and success today. The iPod was nothing new because the MP3 player had already been developed. The problem with most MP3 players were that they weren’t easy to operate. They usually had many buttons which made it a complicated device. The iPod had solved all the problems of earlier MP3 players. Just four buttons and a wheel, which seemed complicated considering all the iPod could do but it was extremely user friendly. Not to mention, the design was sharp. The thing looked cool and people wanted to have it. It also had the ability to store much more music than any other MP3 player before it. iPod users could digitally store up to 10gb of music on the original product. Along with the iPod came the development of iTunes and the iTunes store. It was in the wake of the Napster lawsuits and the eventual shutting down when iTunes came out in an effort to legitimize downloading music online. In a time where most people weren’t paying for music, Apple figured out a way to distribute music where record companies and consumers alike were happy. Today, iTunes is the industry standard. When measuring the success of a recording artist today no longer do we reference how many records sold, we reference how many downloads they had on iTunes. With the introduction of the iPod and iTunes, terrestrial radio was dealt a serious blow. Before MP3 players were there but never really took off until the iPod, which just made everything so convenient for users. Now people had a small, portable item that they could take with them anywhere that stored hours and hours of commercial free music (Wikipedia).
One thing that radio still had going for it was it’s information and talk programming. When it came to music, radio was losing the battle. Many people don’t enjoy endless commercials and music picked by someone they’ve never met. However, news, sports and talk programs still had their niche on radio. Yet, there is still problems. In order to listen to these programs you had to be near a radio for the live broadcast. Also, at this time the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was really coming down hard radio personalities. It got to the point where Howard Stern, regarded as one of the most popular broadcasters in history was fed up and left for Sirius Satellite Radio in 2006. More on Satellite radio to follow. In late 2004 Podcasts or webcasts became more and more prevalent. These were non-live shows that users could download and listen to at their leisure on their PC or iPod. They also weren’t regulated by the FCC. In 2005 Apple released iTunes 4 which supported podcast downloading, then it really took off. Podcasting included both video and audio programs, some were rebroadcasts and others were completely original (Wikipedia). The most popular podcast today is the Adam Carolla Podcast. It gets downloaded hundreds of thousands of times on a daily basis. This proves that a talk, news or sports show doesn’t need radio to be successful. What was once the niche that radio had is slowly turning toward new media as it’s vehicle (Lewin).
It is becoming more and more evident that Apple Inc and all of its new developments of late have much to do with the slow death of radio. However, before we get into more modern examples of how Apple is revolutionizing new media and in turn killing terrestrial radio and other older mass media formats, it is important to discuss satellite radio. Is satellite radio a part of new media or is it just a remediated form of old radio? The answer is a little bit of both. Many of the ideas behind satellite radio are adapted methods of terrestrial radio. For instance, there are many different stations to chose from each with their own individual format and the individual stations are programmed by a program director and/or music director (if a music station). So like radio, the programming is determined by someone else but the listener still has the choice to change the channel. The biggest difference is that it is a subscription service, which allows for commercial free music programming and no regulation from the FCC. However, the biggest reason Satellite radio should be considered new media is because it is completely digital. Not to mention, Sirius XM programing is available online and via smart phone applications. The smart phone applications for Sirius XM again is like a second coming of the transistor radio. Now satellite radio is available in all the places radio was most listened to; outside, in the office and especially in your car. Sirius XM has a deal with nearly all auto manufactures that make Sirius XM standard in all new cars with a free trial. For those people who do not want to be bothered by creating their own playlists and enjoyed other people providing programming, but hated commercials and censorship, satellite radio is for you. This was another huge blow for terrestrial radio. Not only did regular radio lose it’s most popular DJ to satellite, but all the reasons mentioned why one would stick with terrestrial radio have been bested by satellite radio. However, regular radio still had one thing going for it. It was free.
The last few examples deal strictly with the internet in some way, shape or form. Two companies particularly have really added to the battle for the public’s ear lately. These companies stream music to listeners using the internet. The first is Pandora. This unique service, like radio picks the music for you, but unlike radio selects musically specifically regarding your tastes. It uses one of the key staples of new media, artificial intelligence. Like radio this is a free service and yes you do have to deal with the occasional commercial, but the user is more in control. The second company is Grooveshark. It is amazing this service is still available because it allows you to stream virtually any song you want, whenever you want. Unlike Pandora, which choses the specific songs for you and must run ads to pay artist royalties, Grooveshark puts the user in total control and never interrupts with a commercial break. For both of these services the user is not able to download the songs only stream. These two services have put a considerable dent in regular radio’s audience because they are easy to use and very convenient for music lovers with wide tastes. However, it is not necessarily their websites that are having the great effect on terrestrial radio, but the smart phone applications. Again, reinventing the transistor radio (Wikipedia).
Back to Apple revolutionizing new media. The introduction of the iPhone and other smart phones that followed is truly the death of radio as we know it. New media and the internet have done a tremendous deed for humankind. Before, one had to go out to discover the world. New media and the internet bring the world to you. The development of smart phones and their applications not only bring the world to you, but now you can take the whole world with you wherever you go. The iPhone opened up a whole new world in communication. The technology has become almost common place now but the fact that the internet is available via 3G and 4G wireless services is truly incredible. These smart phones incorporate everything mentioned as competing factors to terrestrial radio and pretty much all earlier forms of mass media. They can store and play MP3s, they offer applications like Pandora and Grooveshark and they even can play regular radio through individual station’s own websites and applications. Again, new media technology has taken all the problems of terrestrial radio and solved them .
With all the advancements in new media technologies radio is still surviving. The biggest reason is because people like to listen to radio in the car. With iPods and smart phones you still needed headphones or you were forced to listen out of the weak built in speakers. Perhaps the biggest factor in radio demise is the increased amount of auxiliary inputs installed in new cars. The tiny hole next to the car’s center display that looks like a headphone jack is the auxiliary input. It is an 1/8” phono jack that takes audio from the headphone jack of your device and plays it through your car’s speakers. It was mentioned earlier that satellite radio is just about standard in all new cars. Now it seems as though the auxiliary input is also become standard. This technology has been around a long time but because of the increased use of iPods and MP3 player is now becoming more prevalent. Now radio must be worried. The one true place where they had a captive audience now has multiple options competing with the dial.
More improvements in new media and internet technology are threatening radio in the car. More cars are being developed with internet capabilities built in, so applications like Pandora and Grooveshark come directly though your sound system. It was an option for Howard Stern when recently negotiating his new contract with Sirius XM. Stern seriously considered leaving satellite for a new venture in this arena, but realized the technology is not there yet and resigned with Sirius XM at the end of 2010.
The fact of the matter is that this is where technology is taking the medium of sound. Society is becoming more global and radio technology is limited in that sense. New Media and the internet have the ability to reach across borders where terrestrial radio simply cannot. Will radio be gone soon? Probably not. Radio will still be around for a life time or two. There is simply too much money invested in it at the time. However, these new media technologies inevitably will become more available to the public and slowly phase out terrestrial radio technology as a way to transmit sound.
As mentioned earlier, the technology will still always have its place in society because it is so reliable, especially in cases of disaster. But, there’s the idea of radio, even with its problems that will be around for a long time to come. Yes, the technology may fade and be remediated into new technologies that will be used as the vehicle, but people will always need the medium of sound. As long as automobiles are operated by human beings, not automated systems, there will always be a need for the idea of radio. When drivers no longer need to keep their eye on the road than the idea of radio is in trouble, but the idea of preprogrammed material transmitted in someway whether through radio or new media technologies until then should have a place in the media.
Below are some cool links to some online videos that dive into the subject matter of my paper.
“The Future of Radio and Digital Music”
The Loop: Is Terrestrial Radio in Sirius Trouble?
XM and Sirius Satellite Radio Merger
Prometeus - The Media Revolution
Bolter, Jay David, and Diane Gromala. Windows and Mirrors Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency. 1st. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2003. Print.
Lewin, James. "Adam Carolla Podcast Makes Radio Irrelevant." Podcasting News. 01 Mar 2009. Web. 20 Apr 2011. <http:// www.podcastingnews.com/content/2009/03/ adam- carolla- podcast-makes-radio-irrelevant/>.
"Podcast." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2011. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast>.
"Pandora Radio." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2011. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora_Radio>.
"Grooveshark." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2011. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grooveshark>.
"MP3." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2011. Web. <http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3>.
"Digital Audio Player." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2011. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Digital_Audio_Player>.
"IPOD." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2011. Web. <http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipod>.
"Itunes." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2011. Web. <http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itunes>.
"Walkman." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2011. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkman>.
"Car Audio." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2011. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_Audio>.
Kerr, Jim. "Five Trends for the Future of Radio." Mediabeat. Venturebeat, 12 JAN 2011. Web. 22 Apr 2011. <http:// venturebeat.com/2011/01/12/future-of-radio/ >.
West , Joel. "The Uncertain Future of Radio." Seeking Alpha. 28 May 2009. Web. 20 Apr 2011. <http://seekingalpha.com/article/ 140094-the-uncertain-future-of-radio>.