Technological Society in the Creative Industries

UnknownThe Beatles. Johnny Cash. Elvis Presley. Frank Sinatra. All of these names are titles for quite important people in music history and one thing that can be said about each and every one of them is that they experienced a very different type of path to stardom than that star singer in our modern generation. In a world powered by computers, televisions, cell phones, and so many forms of social media, being discovered in the creative world of the music industry is not what it used to be. Back in the 80s when someone such as Whitney Houston was in her rise to fame, the shape of being discovered did not have the outline of advertising a talent on Facebook, you were not able to find a fan base on Twitter. A musician needed to put themselves out there any way possible and those ways didn’t involve the click of an upload button. If Johnny Cash wanted to find a manager, he had to go back to the record label every single morning until they would give him the time of day. There was the need to go from door to door at the record labels, introducing yourself and even then the artist would be turned away. To build an audience, the singer or band had to build a reputation through live performance, working and entertaining as many joints and stages as possible. That’s how the artist made a name for themselves back in the days of no technology. It was a lot harder to find those connection. Well, I mean, since I wasn’t actually around I can only assume that’s how it was. I have to rely on movies such as That Thing You Do with Tom Hanks to actually get a glimpse as to what it might have been like to be discovered in that type of generation. I have to use films, books, pictures, and stories to understand what it might have been like to live in a world with out the creative tools of YouTube and Facebook. I watch and absorb all of these stories to make the decision that I somehow have been spoiled by the Technological Society.

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With the arrival of a performer such as Justin Bieber came a different type of way for a creative soul to be heard. Justin Bieber became famous because of a few quick singing clips on a website. All he had to do was upload two minutes of himself singing and his name became a sensation. A manager found him, the agents found him, so many people had the desire to have their name attached to this young talent. Unlike the historic Elvis Presley, Justin Bieber didn’t even have to leave his living room couch to become a house hold name. Because of the technological society, this theme of being discovered through the internet and social media has become such a common trend. It is something we are beginning to see every single day. Through things such as Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, and websites such as ReverbNation, a voice doesn’t even need to fully make it to the radio in order to be popular. Sure, the dream for the musical artist is to make it to the radio, to win the Grammy. But hey, if you’re a young artist lacking the money to hire a talent agent, manager, or a marketing crew, just having something such as Youtube to put your work out there is somehow reassuring. At least there are things on a laptop and desktop that can allow a musician to get their stuff heard around the globe.youtube_analytics_demographics

As Mark Deuze discusses on page sixteen of Media Work, “Such networks connected people to other people across traditional borders of time and space – advertising creatives in Soho who work with video producers in Milan, South Korean gamers who play online with friends in Iowa, Indian software programmers working with computer engineers in Germany”. You no longer have to go door to door at the record labels to display your stuff to the big shots. You no longer have to pray that one of these big shots will be in the crowd of one of your gigs. You can connect directly with these big names through technology, and they have the ability to find your talent and skill by simply scrolling through a web page. All an artist has to do is keep uploading their stuff out there and keep dreaming. Sure, there is a lot more hard work to it behind the scenes than that. There is a lot of trying and failing before those uploads get noticed and things pay off. But somehow, thankfully, I am able to say that it all does somehow pay off.

I, Erin Deneen, the little second baseman on the Wheaton softball team, am no Taylor Swift. I do not have the monster success and fame as Justin Bieber. I still struggle to even say that I’m a songwriter. A legit songwriter who for the past two years has been signed with BMI, the Musical Broadcasting company that makes sure my lyrics and instrument work is protected every single time a producer wants permission to mess around with my sounds and rhythms in a Nashville office. This songwriting of mine is something I keep to myself, I don’t share it often. However, after reading these words of Deuze, I can’t help but connect to them on some level. I have the ability to understand that my music, my little music, would not be noticed if it weren’t for these technologies. The views that I get on my songs and the places that they travel would not be possible if I didn’t have these softwares.

Ever since the ninth grade I have stood with my guitar on the streets of Cape Cod. I would stand outside of the candy store in Hyannis, the carnival rides, the parking lot of the Cape Cod Melody tent being my prime spot on concert nights. I’d ride on my bike down to these spots with the guitar case strapped to my back, not a single thought in my head other than getting to play the music I love for just a few hours in front of people. I’d set up my speaker and guitar once the sun began to set and I would strum quietly until crowds began to stroll by. Then I would start to play louder, strum by strum, beat by beat. Then, when I found the confidence, I’d actually sing, hoping that those walking by would be kind enough to leave some change for me in my case. For some reason they often would and eventually as the summers went on, these same people would return. They’d request songs, dance around me, and before I knew it getting a crowd to smile around me and getting many of the kids to sing along became a second nature thing. And summer after summer, night after night, I would begin to not only find money in my guitar case but also business cards.

I was going into my freshman year of college when my family found out for the first time that this was something that I even did. Things were getting more serious with my music, the offers were coming in so finally I felt the need to fill them in. Before that, I just simply told them I was going over a friends house or something. I’d give them some kind of made up reason for being out of the house from 7pm to 9pm every Friday and Saturday night in the summer. They knew I loved music, they knew I could play instruments. I mean, how could they not? With twenty seven total instruments in my basement they knew it was a passion of mine. However, what they didn’t know was that I had this wish for others to hear it. I wanted my music to be out there and because of something such as Youtube and ReverbNation I had that ability.

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I am still to embarrassed to allow anyone in my family to hear me sing. They are still not allowed to come to any of my performances or shows. Although, I do allow them to download the songs online. I do give them permission to view the videos that are out there on the web. They utilize this thing called Technical Society to understand and see this creative side of me. They use the technology to see it and for some reason so have others around the globe. My little music publishing company would not have found me if it weren’t for the technical society. The fans that send me little bracelets and sunglasses would not have found me with out the technical society. And again, although I am no Justin Bieber and still have quite a ways to go if I truly want my name to be recognized, I still somehow got beyond playing in front of that candy store in Cape Cod. It got me off of the Cape Cod Melody tent parking lot and instead, I was inside that Cape Cod Melody tent playing my guitar with the talented musician Hunter Hayes. The creative industry is a wild one, but with things such as technology, there are definitely ways to make it happen. Slowly but surely.

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