Audiences, Fandoms and Sub-cultures

This week’s focus was on audiences, fandom and subcultures. Contemporary audience is the most relevant for this topic as they engage with media texts on a higher level than traditional or classic audiences. They interact through other mediums, such as with an artist on the radio, then discussions online – this is the process from passive to active audience: from masses to personal experiences. This also leads to the ideas of ‘fandom’, a community of like-minded people who share a particular interest. e.g. ‘Directioners’.

I read, “Coming Together: DIY Heritage and the Beatles” (Fremaux, S. 2015) and ‘Some kind of innocence’: The Beatles Monthly and fan community (Kirkup, M. 2014). Fremaux uses The Beatles as a case study to illustrate that DIY practices give communities a voice and identity. They’re also becoming just as valuable as other institutionalised heritages. Kirkup discusses the official magazine for The Beatles looking into the historical and social context: pop propaganda, fandom issues, communication between band and fans and the change in their image. These two readings share the similarity of being a fan based creation for The Beatles, however Stephanie discusses it on a wider scale whereas Kirkup focuses on one form.

“Physical artefacts still hold significant importance to fans” these artefacts are a key aspect for the fandom and their identity (Fremaux, S. 2015), there are many practices in DIY heritage that are as much a part of the fandom today as it was ‘Beatlemania’ back in the 60’s. DIY artefacts enable stories to be told through communities and fans’ own personal perspectives, it aids tourism in cities such as Hamburg and Liverpool. On the other hand, Kirkup expresses how controversial subjects were tackled and the fan reactions. Where Fremaux addresses the DIY artefacts created by fans, Kirkup discusses how the magazine communicated their career journey to the fans and how the fans communicated back. The magazine was like a middle ground for the band and fans to come together. The Beatles created the first “modern pop mass fanbase” (Kirkup, M. 2014) using the available media in the 60’s. Without the band doing all these exciting things, the magazine wouldn’t be so successful and the fanbase wouldn’t be so dedicated.

Moving on from fandoms, “subcultures have certain activities, values and territorial spaces” (Clarke & Jefferson 1975), therefore, further research can be made into a particular subculture through ethnography of a territorial space. For example, the indie scene in Birmingham can be observed in places such as The Sunflower Lounge to pick out the style, behaviour and music.

References

Fremaux, S. (2015) “Coming Together: DIY Heritage and the Beatles.” In: Preserving Popular Music Heritage: Do it Yourself, Do it Together. S. Baker (ed.) London: Routledge. pp. 139 – 150.

Kirkup, M. (2014) ‘Some kind of innocence’: The Beatles Monthly and fan community.” Popular Music History. 9(1), pp. 64 – 78.

Clarke, J and Jefferson, T (1975) Politics of Popular Culture: Culture and Sub-culture, Birmingham: Birmingham University Centre for Contemporary Cultural Centre.

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