Friday, August 31, 2012

Digital Convergence Essay - Lachlan Skulander - 42876478

In the media today we are noticing so many things coming together. Dwyer (2010) defines convergence as “The ability of consumers to obtain multiple services on a single platform or device or obtain any given service on multiple platforms or devices”. I will be discussing how the creation of music videos has created a convergence between an artist or bands sound and their image. I will show this by using 3 examples, Slash from Guns ‘N’ Roses and his iconic top hat, Angus Young from AC/DC and his schoolboy uniform and more recently Sexy and I Know It and the thrusting motion.

How does these images and songs get so much exposure that they become symbolic or converged with certain sounds? Orgad (2009) published an article which outlines and describes how TV is now available “anywhere, anytime” thanks to technological convergence. As a result of this, people can access these videos through devices such as their iPhone or laptops in many more places than ever imagined. As a result of the mass viewings, certain songs, bands, and sounds have become hard to differentiate from images.

Guns ‘N’ Roses are one of the most influential bands of the late 80s in the rock/metal genre. They have produced many hit songs that are extremely recognisable such as Paradise City, Sweet Child o’ Mine and many more. However, through the creation of the music videos for their songs, Slash has created an image for himself that will forever be linked to his style of guitar. Slash can be described by one piece of clothing, his top hat. It has become one of the most recognised symbols in the rock world. I am arguing that its popularity came through its exposure in Guns ‘N’ Roses music videos. The music video for  Sweet Child o’ Mine is a prime example. The opening of the song is an iconic guitar riff performed by Slash, so the video opens with images of Slash playing this riff. The centre piece of the whole shot, is the large top hat sitting on Slash’s head. This image of slash and his top hat is not confined to this one video however. In the video for November Rain, the first time you see Slash he is playing his guitar on stage and the first thing that you notice about him is that he is still wearing his top hat. This image has stuck with Slash even after his days in Guns ‘N’ Roses. His debut solo album titled ‘Slash’ has a skull wearing a top hat on the cover. Through exposure to the image that Slash has given himself through his music videos, the sound of his music cannot be separated from the image of him wearing his top hat.

Thunderstruck, T.N.T, It’s a long way to the top, these are just some of the hits by Australian rock legends AC/DC. Such as with Guns ‘N’ Roses, AC/DC’s lead guitarists image has been moulded though the bands music videos. Again it is clothing that has branded Angus Young, but it is not a hat, it is a school uniform. Anyone who knows AC/DC will know Angus Young performs in a schoolboy uniform. There are many many music videos created by AC/DC that include Young performing in his school uniform. The most famous one would have to be the music video for their hit song Thunderstruck. Filmed in 1991, this music video shows the band performing the song to many screaming fans that are standing in bleachers. The song starts with arguably the most famous AC/DC guitar riff and continues on to have multiple shots of Young running up and down the stage in his school uniform. He has kept this image from the bands opening in the 70s even until the bands latest album, Black Ice, which was released in 2008. In a live performance of Rock N Roll Train, which was the single from their latest album in 2009, even the animated cartoon to introduce the band features Angus Young in his school uniform. At the end of the animated introduction, the first person that runs on stage from the band is Angus Young and his schoolboy uniform. Through the constant exposure of Young and the image of him in his schoolboy uniform there has been a convergence between the classic AC/DC guitar riffs and the schoolboy uniform wearing Young.

Wallis (2010) publish a report which covered sexuality and gender in music videos. This study outlined how both genders use sexuality in their music videos. In current times there have been many songs which try and sell their music video by sex appeal. I believe that one song in general has put a certain dance move to the chorus to try and sell their song with their ‘male sexuality’ and as a result, the song is hard to separate from these suggestive moves. Sexy and I Know It by pop duo LMFAO was released in September 2011 with a very sexual music video. Wallis’ results showed that females were more prone to suggestive dancing and sexual self touch, which differs from LMFAO as they are both males, however they use these to sell their songs ‘sexy-ness’. Every time the chorus plays in the song, the images on screen are of either one of the members of LMFAO or other men thrusting in only Speedo’s. As a result of making their video ‘sexy’ there has now been a connection between the chorus of the song and the pelvic thrusting motion.

Through the exposure and repetition of certain images in music videos, there has been a convergence between certain songs or bands and images. Guns ‘N’ Roses and AC/DC’s lead guitarists, Slash and Angus Young, have converged their music with certain clothing (Slash with a top hat and Angus Young with a schoolboy uniform). Wallis publish a report about sexuality and gender in music videos, Sexy And I Know It by LMFAO has converged their song with sexual dance moves.

Lachlan Skulander - 42876478

Dwyer, T. (2010) Media Convergence, McGraw Hill, Berksire, pp 1-23
Orgad, Shani (2009) 'Mobile TV : Old and new in the construction of an emergent technology' Convergence, vol 15 no 2 pp 197 - 214
Wallis C, ‘Performing Gender: A Content Analysis of Gender Display in Music Videos’  Springer Science + Business Media, 18 July 2010

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