© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Music and the Media

Laura Grigg
Lucinda Henry
Sam Wilkinson
Syndicate 6
Isabella Duffus
Ashleigh Duthie
Ryan Bradley
matt botsford 197870 unsplash
Music and Media Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

A media ecology assignment featuring a web series, radio documentary, radio feature series and a social media video.

Music is a staple part of our everyday lives, it is the beating heart to our contemporary society, the art form we would struggle to live without. However, despite its perks Syndicate 6 has decided to investigate the many issues in the current music industry, especially with a focus on New Zealand. We wanted to investigate the current landscape of exposure and how New Zealand artists feel a lack of representation on the world stage. We were also fascinated by the issues different genres and artists face when trying to compete for exposure on popular music platforms like Spotify. We then wanted look into music's involvement in politics, musical success after death and hyper-sexualisation in music videos. Finally we looked into the lack of representation for performers who live with disabilities and how a New Zealand charity is trying to encourage them to express their love for music.

Web Series - Spotify House

Our scripted web series, Spotify House, is based on the concept of streaming platform Spotify being personified into a ‘Big Brother’/Love Island’ style reality show, where the participants are music genres themselves. Spotify plays a significant role in the music streaming industry, and the music industry in general. Its popularity is not without controversial issues, some of which we wanted to incorporate into our web-series in humorous ways. The themes of hyper-sexualisation, politics and fame after death present in the web series directly relate to our series of radio features on the same topics. To show conflict and an overarching narrative, we thought it would be interesting to focus on different attempts to gain exposure, which also links to the focus of our radio documentary. The web series takes a lighter approach to portray this issue of exposure by using comical characters, awkward scenarios, satirical takes on the music industry and todays youth culture.

The new house mates introduce themselves and settle into Spotify house for the first time.
Chaos descends upon the Spotify House.
As the house mates reinvent themselves, they face a moral dilemma.

Radio Documentary - The Kiwi Artist Struggle For Exposure

Our Radio Documentary focuses on the issues kiwi artists face with getting exposure for their music, and how they try and overcome them. We were interested in doing this as wanted to find out how artists push through the huge amount of noise around them to get themselves heard. We wanted to understand if artists struggled with making it big globally, and if becoming a well-known name in New Zealand was harder that being say in America due to the fact we are a small country. We decided to choose a range of artists to interview that covered different genres and with different amounts of fan numbers on their likes or followers on their social media platforms. This was to ensure we got a range of broad ideas ranging from people who have made it big in New Zealand and globally, and then to compare to the ideas of those who are just starting out and finding their sound. Through conducting different interviews with Kiwi Artists such as Jamie Mcdell, Kings, Minimal Silence, Denel, and Merlinco we definitely were able to get lots of ideas around exposure. Through the interviews we found that a lot of people thought they needed more support from NZ radio. Especially smaller bands, such as merlinco, or different genre artists, such as country, who will never be supported on popular radio stations that have a very small niche song market. So we asked how as future broadcasters we could help them gain exposure and start creating a supportive environment for all artists that have huge talent ready to be heard!

A look into the challenges Kiwi artists face at different stages of their careers.

Radio Feature - Sexual Permissiveness in Music Videos

As music videos, become more accessible for greater audiences, their messages become more influential. The lyrics and visuals of music videos in our contemporary society has been turning to shocking sexual content. Top 40 hits that feature this sexual content have been influencing young people’s attitudes towards sexual permissiveness due to the Cultivation theory. The more we see this content daily, the more we believe it should be our own reality.

A look into sexual permissiveness in music videos.

Radio Feature - Misleading Music in Politics

Politicians have long known the power that music can have on influencing voters. Whether it be to inspire change, make their messages catch on easily by using a memorable tune or by associating themselves with certain musicians to make themselves more relatable to the public. Music is an important tool that is used by politicians to better connect with voters. In this episode we look at the negatives effects of this on the musicians themselves. Musicians aren’t always happy to have their music and brand associated with political parties. They fear it will mislead the public into thinking they support a politician that they don’t support in real life.

A look into how politicians can use music to potentially mislead the public

Radio Feature - Fame After Death

This radio feature dives into the new observation that a lot of musicians gain more fame and popularity after they die. We talk about why this is and give examples from music through the ages and different genres. For example, the premature deaths of Michael Jackson, XXXtentacion and Mac Miller. The way these artists family’s exploit the dead artist and their music is also broken down into detail with an example from rapper, XXXtentacion’s family. The main point of the feature is the fact that an artist is often more missed for what more they could have contributed, rather than what they created when they were alive. 

A look into how a musicians fame can rise after death.

Social Media Video - StarJam

Our social media video focuses on how music is used to bring about positive change and to celebrate the talents of those who are living with disabilities. We heard about StarJam which is a New Zealand organisation which does exactly what we wanted our social media video to focus on. They run dance classes for those have have disabilities to prepare them for public performance where they can show others how they interpret the music they hear. 1 in 5 New Zealanders are living with a disability. This could be a disability that holds them back from even entertaining the thought of dancing to upbeat music on a public stage. However, thanks to Star Jam they have this opportunity available for anyone in New Zealand who has a disability holding them back. This is why our group wanted to shed light on an organisation that uses music to energise and connect with students who benefit from it greatly and teach them to have confidence to be themselves.

Students learning and growing through music