This project was very multidimensional and allowed me to apply multiple theories. It allowed me to apply the theories we learned in class into the research for the project. At times I was using different theories without even knowing. Since my project focused on the influence of social media on the music industry I focused on the ideas of digitalization, identity, community, shared experience, distributed networks, connections and interaction. I believe a project like this benefits a new media student a lot because it encourages them to apply what they have learned about new media into a project. Therefore, while creating the project they gain a better understanding of the concepts. I think it is important for students to apply what they have learned in class because it further expresses their understanding of what they learned in the class. A downside of this project is that it is difficult to narrow what type of project you want to do, that will encompass the class. It could be that a student has a great idea, but it won’t completely express their main points of the class. It can also be limiting to a student who is not as passionate about media because this project requires a lot of effort. I also think that students who are very passionate about media will enjoy it more, while others will try to do the minimum required.
Like I stated earlier the research for this project really encouraged me to apply the ideas and theories we discussed in, which is evident in the ways I analyzed and engaged with my sources. I think the research for this project gave me a better understanding of the course because I was viewing it through the lens of the music industry. Therefore, it enhanced my interest in the project. Specifically it helped me understand how new media influences our daily lives because it revolved around the concept of social media. And social media is something that is constantly present in our daily lives.
Danah Boyd’s article “Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace” was very important for my project because it discusses the purpose and influence Myspace had on users and those apart of the music industry. It provided groundwork of understanding to the initial impacts of social on the music industry. Further, it allowed me to draw on the interactions that occur with fans and musicians. In the end it was very beneficial when used to analyze different pieces based on consumption, interaction and beginnings of social media within the music industry. Another piece that was important in the construction of the argument of the project was Nancy Baym’s piece The new shape of online community: The example of Swedish independent music fandom. This piece was the very base of the project because I spent significant amount of time discussing music fandoms. It also provided examples for the section in the project that talked about independent artists’ interactions with social media. Baym’s piece was easy to apply broadly in the project, but also specifically in subsections of the project.
Based on my experience with this project I think that new media specifically social media is shifting into a powerful role within society because of its economic and cultural influences. I think in terms of the music industry, social media will either become the backbone of the industry and can either change it for the better or worse. While social media is great for reaching a large audience, it promotes the idea that in order to be a successful artist you need to have a large audience and be a people pleaser. Therefore, while it can open the door for artists that would normally not have the opportunity to break into the music industry, it allows opens the door for anyone. So I personally think it lower the standard of the music industry. Yes I think it is amazing that so many smaller artists are getting a chance, but what about when they do get discovered and realize that they need to conform to the new norm of social media in order to remain relevant. They run a higher risk of losing themselves in social media. In the end only time can tell, as well as how the music industry decides to react to social media.
The most important lesson I learned from this project dealt with group work. I decided to have a partner for this project, but quickly learned that I would be doing the majority of the work. Therefore, an important lesson I learned it the need to be more clear and assertive when working within a group. I also learned that I need to take more time and think about the project and if id be better off doing the project on my own or with a partner. I feel that if I had known sooner what I wanted to do my project on I would have chosen to do it alone because my topic is something I am very passionate about. I learned that I need to stand up for myself more and not let people walk over me because in a project setting it ends up with you doing all of the work. I keep calling it my project because my partner was absent for the majority of of it, so yes I am still bitter, but I have learned from it. I am proud of my project, but I think it could have been so much better if I had worked on it by myself because I would have narrowed down the topic more and not had to do my partner’s part last minute. In the end other than having problems with my partner I really enjoyed this project because it provided me with the liberty to research a topic I love and apply my schoolwork.