Essential Learning

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
  • WeMedia
  • 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!

Audience Theory

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.

Distance Learning – Week 7 – Music Industry – Exhibition and Exchange 4/5 – 10/5

Hi, well done to all of you for keeping on top of this – we recognise it is not easy for some of you but we are impressed with the majority response to the work online.

This is the outline for this week in case you want to plan the way ahead. All posts will be on classroom and some resources will be copied onto the blog too,  to ensure that you know what to do. We will also set overviews on MILK. Don’t forget to amend the blog league so that your teachers can keep on top of what you are doing.

  • Monday  – Catch up on posts or rest.
  • Tuesday/Wednesday
    •  Task 14 – Exhibition and Exchange – Scavenger Hunt Collage  0.5 hr – submit to classroom
    • Task 15 – Converged Technology – Generation Game  – 0.5 hr – we trust you to play the game and amend the blog.
  • Thursday/Friday
    • Task 16 – Glossary of terms – Quizlet – 1 hr – submit to classroom
    • Task 17 – Complete case studies on slideshare Exhibition & Exchange and Converged Technology and Digital Technology –  1 hr – submit to class slideshare on classroom
  • Friday – Bank Holiday but catch up on outstanding posts.


My Audience Profile

Media Theory Reminder

In order to create a magazine for a specific audience you should understand what makes them tick, especially what reasons they might have for investing their time and money in your magazine.

A couple of theorists who considered this were Blumler & Katz, who suggested that there were four reasons collectively known as Uses and Gratification. Their theory describes an active audience and suggested four reasons for people to actively seek out and consume media:


Information Self education to suit personal needs; advice on practical matters; information on events or issues of personal interest; curiosity or general interest
Personal Identity Media reinforces personal values; models of behavior; content explored to challenge, adjust or affirm sense of self
Social Interaction Identify with others to gain a sense of belonging; find basis for real life interactions; substitute for real life relationships
Entertainment Escape; diversion; emotional release; filling time; aesthetic enjoyment

Audience Theory Extension

Below is a slideshow on Stuart Hall and his ‘Reception Theory’. Consider what he says about audience.  He argues that an audience decode a media text through the filter of several things:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Situation
  • Cultural competence.

Media Theory Booklet

Here is the Theory Booklet with all of Hall’s ideas on Pages 11 and 12.


So…what am I supposed to do with all this theory?

TASK – Create a dating profile for your…

Perfect Audience Member

My Research Process

I have decided to make a magazine similar to Kerrang.

Of course I had to understand my audience and what media they consume and use this information to give me ideas for my inspiration search.

I looked at a number of back issues of Kerrang and used YouGov for artists that appeared on those front pages. I took snips of their audience’s demographics and their media consumption, particularly the other musicians/ artists / bands which cropped up. Here is my research on my audience and what media they’re into.

Do similar research for your target audience, and then decide on the following features of your audience:

  • Which other bands/artists your audience would be into?
  • What other media they would consume, fashion tastes, musical genre preferences?
  • What are their values, attitudes and beliefs they hold about what’s important in their lives and the world around them?
  • What demographics describe your audience?
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Education
    • Occupation
    • Marital status
    • Cultural background
    • What ‘communities’ do they belong to?
    • Where do they live, work and play?


Here is a handout we gave you earlier this year which describes different audience groups / communities which is helpful in reaching some conclusions about their values, attitudes and beliefs, and how to describe their communities and social groups.

Use Google slides to design a profile for your target audience which they might upload to a dating site.  You may want to use someone you know to model the profile on – although don’t use their name or photo!

Give your ideal audience an image, name, gender, relationship status, groups, status, likes, dislikes…all of this should be through the filter of music and should help describe your audience profile. Make it as detailed as possible – why not consider someone you know (do not actually use them) who likes the music, is a fan of that music/band and use them as inspiration.

Here is a template that you may wish to follow:

YOU MUST ALSO USE THIS WEBSITE: and mention it in your introduction or even better, take a snipping tool screen shot of the profile target audience for your performer.

KEY TERMS needed in your reflection

‘Preferred reading, encode, decode, oppositional reading, demographics, psychographics, cultural experience, uses and gratification, target audience, producer, target audience, entertainment, education, social interaction and personal identity etc.