Issues in Global Popular Music
- What is the difference between cultural exchange/collaboration and cultural appropriation/exploitation?
Cultural exchange involves the act of partaking in one another cultures. For cultural exchange to be effective there needs to be elements of understanding, equality and respect from both cultures for there to be a true exchange (Bohlman 748). Cultural collaboration is mutual; it is a reciprocal undertaking in which neither of the cultures loses its identity through conversion. It involves the interaction and the making use of various things in unison. In musical perspective, cultural exchange occurs for the sole reason of making diversity in culture understandable. The aim is to help one another understand each other’s cultures. For instance, the American Music Abroad Artists (AMA) take part in concerts to interact with other musicians across the globe. They travel to different countries where they engage with international audiences through concerts, lectures, jam sessions, and media interviews. These activities are aimed at providing the first-hand experience to their musical culture and their way of creating music.
Cultural collaboration also is a way of improving music as a representation of culture. Musical organizations are also offering scholarships to talented students from Africa which are meant to train them the ways of improving the act of creating music. Bigger corporations are getting into contract relations with developing nations to grow the music industry in these countries. These countries are investing so much in learning how developed nations make it big in music.
Cultural appropriation on the other is a situation in which one adopts cultural aspects that are not his. It is a situation where dominant and strong cultures take cultural elements from a group that they have systematically oppressed. Usually, the subject culture is a minority culture, or it’s a culture subordinate in things such as economic and military status (Bohlman 760). The appropriation occurs without giving explanations for converting initial practices and belief into meaningless cultural aspects. In cultural appropriation, the marginalized culture lacks the power to decide whether to stick to their cultural aspects or to try the dominant cultural aspects. Cultural appropriation comes into play due a situation of privilege on the side of the dominant culture. The dominant group uses this privilege to distort and deflect the cultural aspects of the minority group and reinforce their privileges within the system.
A cultural appropriation is a form of exploitation. It involves dominant groups using the cultural aspect of the minority groups to advance their culture (Haynes 83). For instance when Hollywood artists and celebs use ignorant African in their works of arts and music to advance their music goals in Africa. The Western nations mostly enforce their political views and standpoints by taking advantages of the less fortunate African nations. They pass both economic and political sanction on uncooperative African leaders. The fact that they have rather a strong political and economic base gives them an edge and privileges to suppress and take elements of African culture under their wings. Some western nations, for instance, are imposing on native African culture the aspect of heterosexuality that is unacceptable in most African culture. They are using every media possible to sell their opinions.
In a musical context, cultural appropriation is reflected in various aspects including self-imposed racial discrimination or distinctions when developing music (Quintana and McKown 439). The white society in America, for instance, deemed music created by African American as uncivilized and offensive. The racial distinctions were created to maintain the white’s supremacy in the music industry. If that is not enough ask yourself this question, ‘why is it that when black people sing country music, which is a whites style of music they are not deemed as appropriating?’ To safeguard their supremacy, the Whites referred to this act of the black people as participation and not appropriation. In summary, the privileges of cultural appropriation in music are a means to misunderstand the culture. When the whites participate in African cultural form of music such as jazz, they become the most visible figures which heavily influences how others misinterpret the music from outside the culture.
- How has the growth of mass media affected the production and consumption of music today?
Mass media represents the various means of communicating used to reach the general public for the sole reason of creating audiences for the information they convey. Technology plays a great role in the proliferation of mass media, that is, both technology and mass media are inseparable (Wimmer and Dominick 2). The mass media has changed the way of life of people while also engrossing every part of human life. It has dictated human activities to a point that no activity can be completed without the help of mass media. The growth in mass media can be attributed to the advancement in technology. Almost every household today possess a piece of mass media whether in print, video, or audio. Mass media is out to eliminate the traditional ways of doing things, for example, it has led to the almost erosion of tradition musical equipment to modern equipment such as pianos.
Mass media has also played a key role in revolutionizing the music industry. It is in the entertainment industry that mass media has thrived. It has impacted the production and consumption in ways immeasurable. The growth of mass media in the development of radio, television, and computers has been nothing but good to the music industry (Sparks 26). With the current technology in mass media production, an artist can produce music in very short period and create a market for the music as soon as production is complete. Computers, for instance, play a central role in music production including feeding the videos into the production systems and editing for quality production. They have the capability to direct connections between graphics and the theme of the music. Developments of digital technology in software instruments such as Logic Pro helps artists to correct errant singing or provide the artist to make his distinctive sound. Media houses also as a form of developing corporate images and as a way of corporate social responsibility engage musicians in guaranteed contracts to produce their music. Radios and televisions also have impacted the production of music by creation-ng a platform where music production firms can advertise their services. Advertising also presents options to the potential musicians in terms of quality and cost.
Consumption of music has been positively impacted by the mass media. Development of computers and the internet has provided various platforms from where the music to be played. For instance, YouTube is a website where one can upload his song or videos for public view. Many artists have gotten themselves contacts to produce their albums through the YouTube. Computers are also capable of converting videos to audio. This capability strengthened by the production of radio diskettes from media houses ensures that those consumers with only a radio can listen to music. Consumption of music has also been improved by the products made through the mass media including digital video discs (DVDs). These DVDs are cheap, easy to sell, and fast-moving. They also accommodate pictures and sounds. They are also portable and thus create a large market for the music (Sparks 26). New developments such as television have become powerful entertainment medium. The television provides music shows with up to date minute news that enlighten the masses on the emerging issues in the entertainment industry. They play new music and develop interactive segments where they ask viewers to rate music. The show provides a venue to advertise and create as well as promoting the sale of music. Most media outlets create TV shows aimed at promoting music and the arts in music such as dance. They convey these shows to promote music especial to the youths.
Growth of mass media has also brought diversity in the way music is made and consumed. There is more than one way of producing just like there are many ways of consuming the music. Mass media has been accused of failing to drive and stand for the existing culture, but instead it has replaced it with consumerism at the expense of traditional values. However, we cannot ignore the fact that it has brought diversity in the field of entertainment. The diversity has enabled people to appreciate each other’s culture, because before music is a form of entertainment it is a representation of culture. Diversity has also provided people with a variety of music arts from where they can choose. It is through the development of mass media that a teenager in South Africa can download a song from Canada in less than one minute.
With the latest new technologies such expanded mobile phones, the dissemination and thus consumption of music is no longer so much dependent on computers. The mobiles phones have become popular means of dissemination of music because they are easily accessible therefore making them the center of music consumption. However, the development of mass media has also influenced great violation of music rights including practicing piracy especially by downloading music from unlicensed websites.
Bohlman, Philip Vilas. World Music. Torino: EDT, 2006. Print.
Haynes, Jo. Music, Difference, And The Residue Of Race. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Quintana, Stephen M, and Clark McKown. Handbook Of Race, Racism, And The Developing Child. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. Print.
Sparks, Colin. Globalization, Development And The Mass Media. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2007. Print.
Wimmer, Roger D, and Joseph R Dominick. Mass Media Research. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 2013. Print.