My name is Juliette Wileman (0875), and this is my A2 Media Studies Coursework blog. I am working in Group 3 along with Audrey King Lassman (0397), Brandon Poonwasie (0660), and Chrystal Li (0470).
To navigate around my blog, use the labels on the left side, below the Labels heading.
Thank you!


Album Art Digipack

Album Art Digipack

Music Video

Sunday, 21 December 2014

1) In What Ways Do Your Media Products Use, Develop Or Challenge Forms And Conventions Of Real Media Products?

In our music video, we used many conventions of indie-pop music videos. Our video is a combination of narrative and performance:
performance - filmed performance, which can be singing, dancing, instrumental or concert clips
narrative - a visual story that is easy to follow, through a series of narrative moments that work together to create the meaning
We drew influence from a number of music videos, but particularly Awkward by San Cisco and Love Is On The Radio by McFly. 
We drew a large amount of inspiration from Goodwin's theory about music videos, but we also broke some of these conventions:

"music videos demonstrate genre characteristics" - Whilst our genre of indie-pop tends to break conventions in music videos, there is still the convention that the music videos are different and unique, as this is what the audiences expect from indie music videos. We wanted to conform to the genre convention of having the band performing and playing their instruments, meaning their more authentic image is conveyed, which is conventional of indie and indie-pop artists, such as San Cisco and McFly shown below.

For our band shots, we decided to conform to the convention of having the band members performing - however, we also broke the convention of having mostly male bands, as we have two female band members. We also have a diverse band in terms of race, which also breaks the convention of predominantly white band members - whilst we do have two white members, we also have a Chinese and an Indo-Caribbean member.

Our band performing and playing their instruments, creating the 'authentic' band image.
We followed the conventions of music videos by portraying the artist identity, influenced by Richard Dyer's theory on star identity. We were inspired by similar artists of the indie genre, in particular McFly and San Cisco. We drew the slightly vintage look for the girls from San Cisco band member Scarlett Stevens: (please scroll on the Padlet to see all the references made)

We felt that by dressing our female band members in this way, we were able to convey their identities; cool, 'hipster' and clean cut. We wanted to construct this clean cut image in order to package the band as role models for the female members of our audience, who may copy this image and lifestyle that is portrayed by the band members; for example, the female band members could start a fashion trend of wearing vintage clothing.

Brandon and Jacob's costumes compared to Dougie Poynter

For the male band members, we drew inspiration from Dougie Poynter from McFly, who also has a 'hipster', cool style - for example, his baggy jumpers and skinny jeans, or unbuttoned shirts over a white t-shirt highlight how he is laid back and cool, which is associated with indie artists. The costumes we chose for Brandon and Jacob also connote the 'hipster', indie style in the same way - their costumes are more laid back, as they are wearing skinny jeans, and t-shirts or baggy jumpers like Dougie Poynter. We made sure that the male members were also clean cut so as to make sure they were also role models for the male members of our audience.

In our music video, we represent both women and men equally, as well as representing a number of races. Our band is made up of three different races, showing diversity that is evident in society today, which also means there is a wider reach as more than one ethnicity is present in our video.

Here both ethnicity and gender are represented, as the band is half male and half female, and a mix of races. They are all presented as equally powerful, as they each take up a quarter of the frame. This is positive representation for each, which will appeal to the target audience which is made up of indie fans, who are all types of races and genders.
We also followed the convention of indie-pop videos featuring large amounts of colour, as the bright colours connote the pop facet of the music. For example, all of our narrative scenes have a brightly coloured background. This use of bright colour is similar to a number of pop and indie-pop videos, such as:

All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
Hard Out Here by Lily Allen
How Ya Doin' by Little Mix
"the demands of the record label will include the need for close-ups of the artist (visual hooks or beauty shots)" - We also conformed to the idea that the video should feature close-ups of the artist, or the 'beauty' shots. We decided that although the lead singer is usually the 'star' of the band, we wanted close-ups of all of the band members. This not only gives a variety of shots during the video, but it also portrays the band members as mostly equal in terms of importance. We did, however, use more of the lead singer, and have more than one type of close-up shot, as he is the frontman of the band, and is singing the lyrics. Below are examples of 'beauty' shots in our video, and examples from real media products (Hard Out Here by Lily Allen, Awkward by San Cisco, How Ya Doin' by Little Mix and Love Is On The Radio by McFly).

"there is often intertextual reference" - A main theme of our video is intertextuality. This is due to our narrative scenes, which are referencing different eras through costume, set and actions. In the following Prezi, I will explain the references for two narrative scenes, as well as what we hoped the impact would be.
One reference for this type of music video was Fancy by Iggy Azalea; her entire music video is an intertextual reference to the 90s film Clueless. She uses costumes, sets and actions to reference the film, for example:
This was relevant to us, as Iggy Azalea used a popular film (Clueless), that would appeal to a specific audience - in this case, 16-25 year old men and women. This helped us decide what to reference in our own video, as certain generations will pick out certain references. In our case, it was important to pick references that our target audience (16-25 year old indie fans) will pick out. 

"there is a relationship between the visual and the lyrics, and/or the music" - Our video is mostly an illustration and amplification of the lyrics; we went through the lyrics and decided what we thought the song was about (in this case, soul-mates who were "born to get together").  The video below highlights some of the illustration of the lyrics and music within our video.

 This is similar to music videos like All About That Bass, in which Meghan and the dancers 'shake it' when the lyrics are "But I can shake it, shake it".
We also amplified the lyrics, meaning we tried to give the music video more than one interpretation; on the surface, our video appears to be about dancing and the cliché of falling in love. However, our video is also suggesting that love transcends time - this is suggested through the different eras referenced with the different costumes and sets, in which each couple gets together. This interpretation is also suggested through the dance scenes, in which all of the couples are dancing the same choreography as the eras are changing rapidly - this depicts the way that love is unchanged throughout time.

We also drew a large amount of inspiration from Vernallis' theory about music videos:

"the video is a visual response to the music" - Our music video is a combination of narrative and performance, which is common within indie music videos, such as:
Awkward by San Cisco
Already Home by A Great Big World
We visually represented the song through the narrative scenes, by having dance sequences for example, as well as using the performance scenes to visually portray the  music being played. We decided to have half of the video as narrative, and half as performance, in order to make sure that the band image was clearly conveyed, whilst the message of the song was also clearly conveyed through the narrative. We drew inspiration from Awkward by San Cisco in terms of the structure of our video - our video is similar to Awkward, although our video is more rigid in structure, as the choruses are always band performance, and the narrative scenes are always during the verses. However, the narrative scenes are also performance, as our lead is still lip syncing throughout each scene, and only stops during the dance sequences. We drew inspiration from many videos, such as the ones shown in the video below:

"editing may match the musical phrases or beats" - In the video below there are examples of how we conformed to Vernallis' theory of editing. We included cutting to match musical phrases and beats, as well as more advanced editing styles.

However, we also used match on action during the narrative scenes (such as the example above); this is not common in music videos - we broke the convention of having no continuity within the video. We used match on action in all of the narrative scenes.
"when it comes to shot types, extremes are common" - Below is a slideshow showing our framing compared to reference texts. We conformed to the theory of having both extreme close up shots (such as the first slide), or establishing shots during the narrative scenes (slides 5a and 5b):

The band logo that is on every page.
Our website is synergistic with our album cover and overall band brand - it has the same colour scheme (black with neon rainbow) as the album art, as well as featuring the band logo on every page. This helps to anchor the band brand to the fans, as well as being synergistic with the album art, as the band logo is the front panel. By having the band image so clear, we are conforming to website conventions, as the website is the main hub for the artist, and must clearly convey the band image and brand so as to prevent confusion for the audience. We also decided to have a landing page with no information other than the band logo/name (pictured below), rather than having the home page as the first page. We felt like this conformed with the indie genre, as it is different and slightly mysterious, which is expected of indie bands - an example of this is Alt-J.

Our landing page
Alt-J's landing page
For our website, we used the convention of having large amounts of interactivity available for the audience. We drew inspiration from a number of websites, including The 1975 and George Ezra. For example, we have a rolling advert at the top, which leads to specific pages when clicked such as:

We also included videos, such as the music video itself, and a bloopers/behind the scenes video. This is common amongst music artists, as it gives the fans a chance to the see the making of the music videos, as well as what the artists are like when they aren't performing for the camera; this gives the fans a more personal, realistic portrayal of the artist as a person, making them feel more connected. Examples of this include George Ezra's Behind The Scenes video, and The 1975's video page on their website, which has a varitey of videos, such as Live performances - both are picture below.

We also increased purchasing opportunities; firstly we added an explicit link to the shop in the menu bar, as well as on the home page - the link is reminding fans of the recently released album, and links them to a place to purchase said album. We also have the same for purchasing tour tickets.

We also included an advert about the album on the scrolling advert, again to promote the album and to encourage fans to spend their disposable income on the album.
 Advertising a recent album, and having a merchandise shop, is a convention of music websites, such as George Ezra and The 1975, pictured below.

We also referenced Henry Jenkin's participatory culture theory, which can be defined as "all must believe they are free to contribute and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued". We included:

- social media links:
Our social media links - the band Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, as well as the i-Tunes page - we referenced sites such as George Ezra's, as shown below:
He also has Facebook, Twitter and Instagram links
By including these, we give the fans a chance to keep up to date with what the band is doing, which helps them to feel connected to the band. This encourages them to contribute by tweeting the band, or commenting on their Instagram pictures, in the hope that they will get a reply. This also encourages the fans to share content, which gratifies their social needs, as they can share content with friends and discuss what the band has been doing.

We also included a live feed on the homepage of our website, so that the social media pages are clearly accessible:

- a sign up page, where fans can either write a message to the band, or they can sign up for a newsletter:
We give the audience a chance to receive monthly newsletters about the band. This gives a sense of community, as well as keeping the fans updated on any events, which again helps them feel like they are part of a wider fan base.
We also decided to give fans the option of messaging the band directly; this is to encourage the sense of connection with the band.
We drew inspiration from George Ezra again, along with other artists, who have the conventional Sign Up pages.
- a competition that asks for fans to create in order to enter for the chance to win:

We decided to make the competition about creating content as this means the fans feel like they have contributed to something - in this case it's making a video to the new single. It also helps them to feel more connected to the band and each other, as they can watch other people's entries, and they feel as though the band will watch them too. We drew inspiration from bands like McFly and Walk The Moon:

We also followed the convention of having institutional information on every page of the website; our institutional information includes the record company logo, website, copyright, and a contact page. This is similar to websites such as George Ezra and Alt-J.

We included a Terms & Conditions page and a Privacy Policy, as well as the copyright and contact page - on the contact page we included the address, a map and ways to contact the company.

Examples from Alt-J's and George Ezra's websites:

Below is a Prezi explaining the conventions used and broken in our album art design:

2) How Effective Is The Combination Of Your Main Product And Ancillary Texts?

We tried to use our main product and ancillary texts to create a strong sense of brand and band identity through the use of synergy and a cross-platform marketing campaign.

We had a consistent band identity conveyed across all three products, portrayed in a number of ways:
- Firstly, it is conveyed through the costumes in the music video:

This is similar to bands such as The 1975, who also connote band identity through costumes in their music videos:

- We also convey the band identity through the images on and style of album art:
The front and back cover appear to be more serious and mysterious than the inside cover.
The style of the album art is very minimalist on the front, giving the impression that the band itself is very mysterious and cool, as there is only the band name and logo (anchoring the brand). The images on the back further imply this as the facial expressions and poses are serious, although the bright colours to suggest some playfulness.
The costumes used on the inside panel are the same as the music video, which is both synergistic and anchoring the band image portrayed in the music video.
This hint at playfulness is then confirmed on the inside panels, where the band are pictured messing around - this conveys their more quirky and upbeat side.
This is similar to The 1975, as they also convey their band image through their album art - the image above is the inside cover of their album art. This image connotes their cool, indie image through the use of no direct address to the audience and lack of colour. This image is also synergistic with their band image portrayed in their music videos, such as Girls or Chocolate (pictured above).
- The website also conveys the band identity:
We referenced Richard Dyer's Star Theory that "a star is an image that is constructed" - we created personas for each individual band member, as well as for the band as a whole. We decided that it was better for our band to appear 'real' and 'authentic' rather than formulaic; we packaged them to be this way through the fact that they played their own instruments, for example, much like San Cisco and A Great Big World:
We also wanted to have the band convey a more innocent, upbeat lifestyle, such as through their costumes and the clichéd, fun music video.

Across the three platforms, although mainly the website and album art, we tried to maintain a consistent brand through use of synergy and symbiosis.

We have a consistent band logo across all three platforms - this anchors the band effectively, as the logo is easily recognisable for fans. The logo is on every page on the website:

This is similar to artists such as One Direction and The 1975, who also have their band logo on every page of the website. This effectively anchors the brand logo for the fans:

The logo is also the front panel of the album art, and is on the bass drum in the music video. This not only anchors the brand and the logo, but it also creates synergy across the three platforms.
We also put the logo on all of the band merchandise - this is effective as it not only remains synergistic, but it also means that if fans wear or use the merchandise in public places, other members of the public will see the logo and potentially become a fan of the band.

This is similar to The 1975 store, as they also have merchandise that all feature the band logo.
We have a synergistic colour scheme across our ancillary texts and the music video - dark grey with neon and white lettering is used for both ancillary texts, and the dark grey/black with colour was used for the band scenes, whilst the bright colours of the narrative background are similar to the neon colours used for the band logo.
This is effective as it creates a clear link between the three products, so the fans will associate them with the brand and the band.

Chrystal's bright red shirt contrasts with the white background as well as the amp and her jeans (which are both black) - this is similar to the red in the band logo contrasting with the white text and dark grey background.
 Having a consistent colour scheme is common between artist websites and album art - The 1975, for example, have a black and white theme, which not only connotes their band image, but also connotes their alternative/indie genre. Their debut album The 1975 is also entirely in greyscale to match the website.

We also have a consistent motif of the 'sticky tape' effect - on the website and the album art, we used the 'stuck on' effect, where images look like they have been stuck on with tape. We felt like this effect fit with our quirky band image, and we felt that using it for our website and album art would again help to effectively create synergy between platforms. 
We didn't, however, have this effect in the music video, which may mean it loses some of the effectiveness. On the other hand, it could be argued that the 'homemade' look of the sets links in with the 'stuck on' effect, and is therefore part of the consistent motif - for example, the disco floor in the 70s narrative scene was hand-made.

We also took advantage of the way in which the website could incorporate technological convergence and social media links to market our band and the debut album.

We included symbiosis on our website - this was to link Sticky & The Melonheads to other institutions, in order to widen the reach and appeal to our audience. For example, we linked the band to XFM, an indie and alternative radio station, effectively appealing to our target audience of any indie fans. This is seen on other artist websites, such as The 1975, for the same reasons.:

There is a link to follow the band on Spotify, which will appeal to fans who prefer to use Spotify over iTunes for example.

 There are also links to iTunes and Soundcloud, which appeals to fans who would rather use these sites over Spotify for example.

We included interactivity throughout the website - this is effective as it appeals to fans as they use the website; it makes it more interesting and fun to use, gratifying their entertainment needs. Firstly, we included videos on the website, taking advantage of the technological convergence - this means the fans can access content and remain on the website:

We drew inspiration from websites like One Direction, George Ezra and The 1975
We also included a live feed from the band's social networking sites, which is effective in keeping the fans informed about the band whilst keeping them on the band's website - it also means the fans are encouraged to follow and like the band's social networking profiles. This is similar to websites like One Direction, who include links at the bottom of every page, as well as a live feed on the home page (both picture below).
Whilst The 1975 don't have a live-feed, they do have a link to follow the band Twitter page:

 We also integrated social networking sites into the competition, again encouraging fans to be connected to the band - the competition required a tweet from the fans with a link to a video - this is again taking advantage of technological convergence. Fans are also encouraged to like and share the music video on Twitter and Facebook.

We included multiple purchasing opportunities - we encouraged fans to buy the album, both with the scrolling advert at the top of the page, and with the link on the home page, that also linked the fans to the shop. Along with this, fans are also encouraged to buy tour tickets;
Whilst we have promotion on the website itself, we also used the social media pages to promote the new album, as this would reach fans who don't regularly check the website but who may follow the band on social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook:
 This is similar to The 1975, who use their Facebook page to keep fans updated with recent releases, along with other information such as interviews or tours.