Audiences & Practices, Consumption and Resistance

In our final week, we looked into audiences and practices, consumption and resistance. We debated the idea of consumption vs. creation in terms of a passive audience become active and making something new. Consumption is generally a passive audience action, we have access to something and take it in. Consumption is a “social, cultural and economic process of choosing goods and this process reflects the opportunities and constraints of modernity” (Zukin and Maguire, 2004).

I looked at two readings: Taylor, I. (2015) From Analogue to Digital, From Pragmatism to Symbolism – The Cassette Tape as a Hybrid Artefact in Contemporary Popular Music and Hayes, D. (2006) “Take Those Old Records off the Shelf”: Youth and Music Consumption in the Postmodern Age.

Through interviews, the indie and punk scenes are researched into their relationship with cassettes and the re-emergence of them as a unit of currency. Tapes have become more popular due to their physicality, collectability, convenience and to fit in “the scene”. (Taylor, I. 2015). Similar to Taylor’s research, Hayes looks at the re-emergence of vinyl’s based on interviews with youth consumers. People become fed up of mainstream pop music therefore actively seek out alternatives.

As mentioned above, the relationship with cassettes with the interviewees showed that it was “an active means of participating and contributing to ‘their scene’” (Taylor, I. 2015). The idea of post-millennial cassette culture is further discussed from research which found that most of the scene felt it important to have a physical object, having actually put their money into something that they can own, to have as something with value to them personally, “it’s not about fetishizing the cassette as a retro artefact, but about redefining it” (Taylor, I. 2015). In comparison to this research, many teenage music fans have moved on from the traditional forms of music consumption such as tapes to digital music such as downloads, iPods and streaming. However, in this research, teenage music fans have complained that contemporary music is populated by untalented artists and profit-hungry executives who are only interested in producing music for “tween” audiences. (Hayes, D. 2006). Hayes concludes that the eight pro-vinyl youth, who still listen and collect vinyl, consume music in such a way to resist the mass media production of music in today’s society.

As online music has become one of the most popular forms of music consumption, I’d like to research into the older generation and their current music habits. This would be researched through questionnaires and interviews to gain personal opinions of people aged 50+.

 

References

Hayes, D. (2006) “Take Those Old Records off the Shelf”: Youth and Music Consumption in the Postmodern Age. Popular Music and Society, 29:1, pp 51-68.

Taylor, I. (2015) From Analogue to Digital, From Pragmatism to Symbolism – The Cassette Tape as a Hybrid Artefact in Contemporary Popular Music. Conference Paper presented at the Westminster-Goldsmiths Symposium for Research in Popular Music, University of Westminster, 24th June.

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