The section of the exam is called ‘Audiences & Institutions’.
Much of the case study work we have done so far has been about institutions: conglomerates, major labels, indie labels and even DIY artists can be described as ‘institutions’.
However, there are a number of key ideas you need to understand about audiences & it is key that you mention audience, their behaviour & expectations in your explanations & essays.
Key concepts for audience:
- Mass or mainstream – the big audiences who consume (popular) music.
- Niche – smaller, more particular audiences who consume sub-genres or follow specific smaller bands.
- Demographics and psychographics offer ways to describe & categorise an audience
- Social media platforms know more about the audience than they do themselves!
- They can target content which is tailor made for a specific audience
- An audience can be ‘sold’ to advertisers
- The online, interactive audience expect to be able to participate in the media, not merely watch & consume.
- The audience are prosumers not just consumers
- The audience seek use and gratification from the media they consume
- Blumler & Katz
- The audience is global, national and local
You = audience.
One of the questions might be about audience behaviour so you must be able to talk about your own experiences of consuming and making music (if appropriate) and how you are ‘typical’ of the average music listener nowadays. It might be easier to adopt an approach that shows how you are easily consumed, attracted by the Big 3 to their marketing, image focused approach but also that you enjoy finding, following and listening to less synthetically produced material in the form of indie artists and can much more easily find this type of music because of Digital Technology and more importantly, they can more easily find you!
This short video covers many useful concepts regarding different audience theories. It uses terms slightly differently from those we have taught you and also focuses on video games rather than music, but it is a really good refresher.