Convergence Culture

October 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

This week’s topic if that of convergence culture. As the technological abilities of the world continues to advance, new means of spreading information arises. According to Jenkins, his convergence is not a movement into a single media form, but “a paradigm movement of media being shared across multiple mediums.”

Jenkin references George Lucas’ Star Wars in one of his chapters. Convergence culture can be applied to the success of the Star Wars films. If the films ability to be shared stopped at film, then I believe that the film would never had gotten to where it is now. Star War’s ability to be shared across multiple mediums (VHS, DVD, Blue-Ray, etc…) is a key reason why it survives as favorite of American society today.

I think that applies to most viral videos today. Technology today allows audience to move from an interactive community (users using media in its intentional form) to a participatory community (users take the media and transform it). Users having the ability to take, hack, and upload their own versions of funny videos increase the longevity of a particular object on the web.

It would be interesting to apply the idea of convergence to the music industry today. Over the past decade there has been a huge shift of who is distributing the content. Record labels used to be in control. Any successful artist would have to go through this key middle man to reach the audience. However, today with the existence of programs like Spotify and back door networks like PirateBay – users are now the ones charged with sharing data and information.

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§ 2 Responses to Convergence Culture

  • catriarchy says:

    It is truly interesting and wonderful how effectively things can spread these days. It makes me wonder what kind of cool things were trendy back in the day, but died out due to being confined to only one particular medium.

    I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of how the music industry is working now. There are so many bands out there that went through no effort getting a record deal, because they became popular through user interaction. If I remember correctly, the Arctic Monkeys were one of the biggest and first bands to achieve their fame via the Internet. It’s awesome that interested listeners, not record companies, are now one of the main factors in becoming successful in the music industry.

    Also, I believe books are another great example of how media is transformed. We now have more ways to absorb the information found in books: Audiobooks, E-books via Kindle/iPad… It’s no longer just paper and binding anymore.

  • Courtney Cox says:

    It’s really interesting that you brought up how artists have publishing platforms available to them without a middle-man because I’ve been thinking about it this whole time from a consumer point of view.

    Before the Internet, if I wanted to hear music, I had to buy a CD (likely produced by a mainstream record company) or listen to the radio. Someone ELSE was telling me what music to listen to, what music has value.

    Now, we get to decide that. Pumped Up Kicks is a great example of a song growing through grassroots efforts. It was number 1 on Spotify before it ever got played on the radio.

    This ability to converge gives the listener more control.

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