Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Task 2 - On Popular Music

In Adorno's (1941) article 'On Popular Music' he talks about how popular music is 'standardised' in the way the music is written around a simple structure (verse, chorus, bridge etc.) and the stereotypical subjects in which people sing about. This is a very easy method of selling records because the songs sounds so similar they are recognised by a wide audience.

Adorno's also talks about 'serious' music and how every element of this music is important for the song to work correctly. He believes these songs are more unique; unlike in popular music where 'every detail is substitutable'. The details are so over produced they could pretty much be played in any order and they would still sound right.

Radio stations help to enhance standardization in the music industry, having radio stations which will only play a certain genre of music completely controls what the audience will be exposed to. If a station plays a dance music track, for example, it is a questionable matter weather the viewer truly likes the track or likes it because it has been labelled as 'dance' music. The audience is less open to their own opinions and interpretations and becomes docile.

Below is a music video by JLS which I feel epitomises Adorno's sentiments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te3cx9fyZ-I - 

This video appeals to a wide target audience, but mainly the teenage girl. It has a very simple and easy to follow structure to make it easy to listen to and pick up. The track is all about love and appeals to its fans by making the band members seem caring. Although this is only a song the emotion shown through the video gives the impression to the audience that they mean what they say and the song is about themselves. 

Even though the main target audience is teenage girls, the caring and emotional side the band seem to evoke appeals to most females. Showing them an idealistic portrayal of a loving man makes women aim for a possibly unachievable target. This supports Adorno's idea that society is persuaded by the mass to purchase things that may not truly reflect their own taste and is not in fact real.

It is somewhat ironic that this group featured on a talent scout programme before they became famous, Below is a link of their first audition:


From this audition, to the video they released linked above, you can see they have been through a lot of change, from their identity, to the style of music they are singing. They have been sculpted on already existing artists so that they can 'fit in' to the market. This is a perfect example of how the music industry influences how people perceive bands and artists.

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