Cultural consumption report

Subject: 📡 Media
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1186
Topics: 🤳 Social Media, Marketing, Pop Art, 📻 Mass Media
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The digital technology has been heralded as advancement in humanity for many reasons especially the opportunities for communication and interaction. However, there are currently mixed views on the extent to which digital advancements have influenced consumption of arts and whether it is leading to a surge or a decline in creativity. The concerns are raised because as of currently, contents are free to consume on the digital platforms like video streaming services (Vogel, 2014).  On the contrary, trends now show that contrary to the expectations, the digital advancement is a blessing to the industry and as such, the creative digital economy is thriving since consumers act like marketers, alternative means of consumptions are explored, independent production has increased, and artists get to engage directly with their audience.

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As a digital generation, I have been contributing to the digital disruption in the consumption of arts. For example, in a week, all my contacts and entertainment are through the laptop and smartphone, which I use to stream and download music, check on the latest songs and also look through the video sites like YouTube for the most recent updates on movies.  The Whatssup, Facebook, Kakao talk and Skype have become embedded in my daily life.  I use these platforms as the social networking sites for checking feeds, commenting or reacting and posting articles and photos.  YouTube and Sound cloud have become the source of my entertainment. Netflix has been a daily platform for watching Television series and documentaries because they are free. The only non-digital consumption I engaged in was the Sofar sounds private concert, which to me, was too costly.

Contrary to the opinion that the digital disruption in the creative industry is contributing to a decline in more production and economic benefits, the world is currently seeing a change or a shift in the consumption and production. Art is not becoming cheap as such because the assertions and inferences are made based on the previous decade. For instance, technology has provided a better and more reliable platform for artists to be heard and interact directly with their audience (Gawer and Cusumano, 2014).  From my cultural consumption over a week, it is evident that I am part of the current generation who would be argued to be killing arts and creativity. I use free download sites like YouTube and Sound Cloud for music while using Netflix for TV series and music. Moreover, social networking sites have become a platform for reading articles. Therefore, if I was to be assessed from the post-Nepstar perspective, my cultural consumption leans more towards digital disruption than non-digital since I only went to one live concert (the Sofar sounds concert).

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Nonetheless, it is true that the digital consumption is disruption and making it unprofitable for musicians to sell directly and make profits from their merchandise. However, a newer form of consumption currently exists, a shift to live music. Steven Johnson provides the example of how live music is now generating more profits, for instance, in 2014, $30 billion was made in revenue. Digital disruption, best to say, has been a blessing to musicians, especially with the increase in ticket prices for live music concerts (Johnson, 2015). An excellent example is how my cultural consumption is contributing to or supporting this paradigm shift to live music concerts. For instance, I went to the Sofar sounds concert and true to Johnson’s inference, the live music concert is currently thriving because of the digital disruption, which to a greater extent, is contributing to other form or platform of creativity. Therefore, there is a direct relationship between the production of recorded live music and the increment in the prices of live performance, which has also grown in value.

Besides, the digital platforms, although they are being blamed for the killing artistic works by making the products available free of charge, have also provided an alternative means of marketing or making the music popular, which to a greater extent, are killing the industry but rather creating awareness and leading to more appeal to concerts.  The role of digital platforms, indeed, is to create more awareness about the works of arts. In my case, for instance, I use YouTube and Sound Cloud for music which I share with friends as well as the TV series and movies I watch on Netflix. The Sofar concert, for instance, I got the idea on Facebook. As Jenkins (2014) points, digital technology has changed the role of consumers to that of marketers of which they share contents and increase the reach and popularity of the artists and their contents. Hence, contrary to the opinion that digital consumption is killing the arts industry, it is a blessing to artists as they get recognition and popularity through digital sharing and awareness creation.

Equally, it is also true that with the digitalization of the music industry, more possibilities and opportunities exist in the production of music and arts.  For instance, music production has become much easier with the presence of production software. Instead of the complexity witnessed in producing music in the previous years, composing music is simple through software and even cheaper (Johnson, 2015). Distribution is much less expensive, for instance, an artist can distribute his or her content through social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. The same appears with writers and other artists, especially with the platforms like Kindle and Amazon that they can efficiently distribute and sell their music.  Digital technology has presented an opportunity for self-promotion, whereby instead of an artist using the complex channel of middle-men, producers, and distributors, there are more chances of engaging directly with the audience (Sutter, 2014).  Same is the case with my digital consumption of which I check social networking sites and profiles of the artists I like and then view their latest music updates.  Hence, digital technology is not killing the art industry but providing alternative means of production, distribution and engaging with the audience of which when weighed, the benefits are much more than the costs.

Accordingly, the digital consumption is leading or contributing to the independence of artists as compared to the traditional methods whereby significant companies like Hollywood dominated the movie industry, or even musicians had to sign through major record labels or even writers have to sell their work through big publishers. Johnson (2015) provides few examples of Dallas Buyers Club and Her as movies that were produced by independent producers and hit the market by garnering excellent economic outcomes or sales.  Same is the case with the bookstores, of which a niche market has been found through e-bookstores.

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In conclusion, Stephen Johnson is right to infer that digital creative art is a thriving industry. The implication is that there are better and higher chances of promotion and marketing through the audience who share contents. Digitalization has also created alternative means of consumption, for instance, live music, e-books, and TV series. Production has also been enhanced as it is leaning more towards independence while cheaper possibilities are created through software.  Hence, the digital creative economy is thriving and will continue to grow with more technological advancement.

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  1. Gawer, A. and Cusumano, M.A., 2014. Industry platforms and ecosystem innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(3), pp.417-433.
  2. Jenkins, H. 2014, Jan. Spreadable media: Creating value and meaning in a networked society. Viewed from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCKoLB1kUsY
  3. Johnson, S., 2015. The creative apocalypse that wasn’t. The New York Times.  Viewed from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/magazine/the-creative-apocalypse-that-wasnt.html?_r=0
  4. Sutter, K., 2014. Distribution revolution: Conversations about the digital future of film and television. Univ of California Press.
  5. Vogel, H.L., 2014. Entertainment industry economics: A guide for financial analysis. Cambridge University Press.
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