THE PHENOMENON OF DIGITAL MEDIA CONVERGENCE IN RELATION TO ONLINE MUSIC VIDEO
As society advances socially, economically and technologically, an emphasis has been put on the phenomenon of digital media convergence. This phenomenon describes the conglomeration of various media and technologies, impacting on the way people obtain and use various information. Mueller (1999) suggests that ‘convergence is driven by the declining cost of information processing power’. Historically, analogue types of media and technology such as telephones and telegraphs had sufficed the needs and uses of society, but the decrease in cost of information processing has lead to the introduction of the digital age and the standardisation of many different processes. The prominence of the internet is one example and how it has acted as a ‘prototype’ for future convergence media. Mueller (1999) describes the internet as the ‘immature version of the fully digital media of the future; representing the future of broadcasting and telecommunications as well as the future of networked computing’. Thus through the phenomenon of digital media convergence and the prevailing use of the internet, the uses and access to media has changed. This has become evident in the use of music videos and how they can now be accessed online at anytime.
Music videos have ventured predominately into the online sphere in the twenty first century, by the technological advances of digital media convergence. This has mainly been seen through the boundless access and connection to media through mediums such as iPhones, Androids, Tablets and Laptops etc.
The technological development over time has now seen the ability to access almost anything online through you-tube, social media, blogs and search engines. Hence, the main focus is on the exceptional ability to envision clips and music videos on you-tube before they are legally released. Hilderbrand (2007) identifies the effort-less lengths and the convenience of you-tube through ‘the specific moments a viewer wants to see, can now be searched and accessed without the hassles of watching live broadcasts, making recording, or waiting through exposition and commercial breaks’.
An example of music video convergence evolving over time is evident through the two pop icons Madonna and Lady Gaga, who are continuously competing for the throne of ‘Queen Of Pop’. However, the icons have the same socioeconomic status they developed through the media in dissimilar ways due to the differing technological eras. In 1984, when Madonna was reaching her stardom, the relationship built with her audience was developed through live performances, magazine and television interviews. Nevertheless, due to digital media convergence some may conclude that Lady Gaga has the easier era of communication through different technologies now available. Social icons, now have the potential to manipulate their audiences through technological advances in social media, such as twitter and face book. As of August 2012, Lady gaga has accumulated approximately 2.2 billion views on you-tube, with a following of approximately 1.6 million subscribers. The use of Youtube has exposed a vast amount of people to her music videos, thus promoting her image and stardom.
Wessels (2011) discusses how media convergence ‘concerns cross-promotional synergy and brand extension’. Music videos can no longer be obsolete forms of communication i.e. through television, but can embody new media forms such as interactive campaigns and blogs (wessels, 2011). This in turn, leads to a greater scope of audience and extension of brand imaging. Madonna’s era in comparison to Gaga’s reflects one that has been less accessible to various media mediums which had been segmented to specific markets. Music videos could only be seen at programmed times through television broadcasts. For example the ‘Rage’ and ‘Video Hits’ televised programs allowed users of the television medium access to music videos, with no assumption that their favourite artists could be viewed. Conversely, digital media convergence and new channels of media access have allowed society the ability to watch what they want, and when.
Therefore, the phenomenon of digital media convergence is evident through the technological advances which have changed the way society has access to various media such as music videos. The emergence of the internet and you-tube has changed the way music videos can be accessed and how artists can deliver their performances to fans. You-tube has pioneered this movement allowing ‘viral’ and ‘revolutionary’ forms of promotion (Hilderbrand, 2007). The process of digital media convergence has continually been developed and advanced throughout the years. Ithiel de Sola Pool’s (1983) proposed a concept whereby ‘a single integrated common carrier that met all media needs’ has, over time, been refined and evolved. Thus the phenomenon of digital media convergence has been influential for media such as music videos.
Mueller, M. (1999). “Digital Convergence and it consequences”. The Public. Vol.6,No.3
Hilderbrand, L. (2007). “YOUTUBE: WHERE CULTURAL MEMORY AND COPYRIGHT CONVERGE. Film Quarterly. Vol. 61.
Wessels, E. (2011). ‘Where were you when the monster hit? Media convergence, branded security citizenship, and the trans media phenomenon of Cloverfield’. Convergence: The international journal of research into new media technologies. Vol. 17, No.1