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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

'THE ONLINE MUSIC COMMUNITY' by Julieanna


In this modern era of digital revolution, the continuous technological advances have created a wide range of possibilities that play a major impact in connecting society from different areas all over the world. Since the discovery of the Internet in 1969, the emergence of a variety of digital communication forms began to take place. Today, one of the online communication forms that have reached millions of users is referred to as online music community. This report covers aspects of the online music community in terms of its major defining features and how it differs from traditional basis, with special focus on one of the most active online music sites, “American Idol Underground”.

According to Bruce and Marty Fries in The MP3 and Internet Audio Handbook, music has long been an essential tool in ‘connecting people to the rest of the world’ , entertaining them and adding flavors to their daily lives. However, the book points out a problem that in traditional pattern, the music genres people listen to are determined by recording labels, since they support bands and singers who release their albums with song genres according to commercial demand and the popularity of the genre at that particular time. This disadvantages listeners with different music tastes and prevents new musicians from sharing their type of music to the public, considering the complex recording companies which only accept music that ‘sell.’

Driven by the necessity of an individual to share his/her thoughts with society, the innovations in technology and the availability of the Internet has resulted in the formation of music community websites. These sites are dedicated to music fans from different countries, allowing them to interact with other music lovers in an online message board within the site. It’s possible to discuss about a specific topic on the board, knowing there are different sections provided (for example: jazz, rock). In addition, band members and solo singers who wish to launch their career or are just enjoying their leisure time are given the unlimited opportunity to upload their work to the sites, sharing them with other users and may even be discovered by an independent recording company. The ArtistLaunch.com, team states that the website they provided offers a medium for new artists to showcase their music, which can be discovered by independent labels . The shift of this digital communication form from the classic antecedents is marked by the tendency of the online music community to unite music fans and create an active music club rather than leaving them as passive listeners with no connection to people who share their musical interests.



Following the worldwide success of the Idol contest (which, according to Jason R. Rich, is the largest singing talent competition on reality TV with over 33.5 million viewers every year ) is a site created by the producer of American Idol and other Idol shows, FremantleMedia (with assistance by Fluid Audio Networks, an Internet start-up company), known as “American Idol Underground”. Josh Grossberg from E-Online addresses that using the same format as the show, where the audience determines the success or failure of a singer, the site provides a medium for ordinary people across the United States and other worldwide regions who want to showcase their musical abilities without having to audition for national TV . The structure is flexible. They record their own songs or music videos, upload their work to the computer and transfer them to the site, in which their songs will be listed according to the appropriate category (if the genre is considered to be folk, the songs can be browsed in the Folk section by listeners). Submitting remake songs that have been done by other artists is allowed, as long as the artist/band obtains copyrights from the producers of the original track. There is a cost for every song submission. However, this is the professionalism of the site, so every artist has the copyrights to his/her work. The songs will constantly be on airplay on the online radio at the same site. Users may comment and rate the work of all artists. They are able to join a regular voting contest and also have access to a free e-mail if they register as members (no registration fee is required). Contacting artists directly is also possible (since the site encourages connection among users), and a message board for interacting with other users regarding any topic that deals with music is available. Regular contests are held, where a selected panel of celebrity judges picks the best artist/song at a particular time, and users who participate in voting will also have the chance to win prizes. The active and strong community within American Idol Underground is a factor that draws a large number of music lovers to the site.

To summarize, the online music community has been one of the emerging digital communication forms that attracts Internet users. The movement of the community from traditional formats allows music fans from all over the world to freely access the music genres of their choice as well as provides career-seeking artists, bands and musicians with unlimited opportunity to showcase their talents. This creates an active and interactive medium for music lovers, which reflects this era of digital revolution.

FOOTNOTES
1. Bruce Fries & Marty Fries, The MP3 and Internet Audio Handbook, TeamCom Books, Maryland, 1999 (http://www.teamcombooks.com/mp3handbook/1.htm)
2. ArtistLaunch, ArtistLaunch.com, 1999-2005

3. Jason R. Rich, American Idol Season 4: Official Behind-the-Scenes Fan Book, Prima Games, California, 2005, p. 4
4. ‘Idol’ Going Underground Online, E-Online, Josh Grossberg, June 20 2005


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bruce Fries & Marty Fries, The MP3 and Internet Audio Handbook, TeamCom Books, Maryland, 1999 (http://www.teamcombooks.com/mp3handbook/1.htm)

Jason R. Rich, American Idol Season 4: Official Behind-the-Scenes Fan Book, Prima Games, California, 2005, p. 4

‘Idol’ Going Underground Online, E-Online, Josh Grossberg, June 20 2005
http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,16789,00.html

Idol Launches Online Version of Its Contest, Reality Blurred, Andy Dehnart, June 20 2005
http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/american_idol_5/2005_Jun_20_underground_radio

Innovations: The Digital Revolution –Media, Think Quest Library, Oracles Foundation, March 14 2006
http://library.thinkquest.org/25744/media.htm

A Brief History of the Internet, Walt Howe’s Internet Learning Centre, Walt Howe, November 7 2005
http://www.walthowe.com/navnet/history.html

Wire.Fm –Upload Your Music & Be Heard!, Jeroen, 2003-2004
http://www.wire.fm/board/two-index.php

Sonic Garden: The Online Music Community, Pine Beach Entertainment Inc., 2003-2005
http://www.sonicgarden.com

ArtistLaunch, ArtistLaunch.com, 1999-2005
http://www.artistlaunch.com/

2 Comments:

  • Good research and explanation! However you need to spand more time on HOW you express things -- shorter sentences that clearly say what you mean -- and starting with a punchy opening paragraph that draws readers in, making them want to know more.

    By Blogger Administration, at 11:20 am  

  • I never knew there was American Idol Underground, it's fascinating how people are finding new ways to permeate our lives and new platforms to build on success of shows like the original series of American Idol. Would you ever consider posting your recordings up there Jules? Well done, -Suzi.

    By Blogger suzi taylor, at 11:02 am  

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