#mamusicindustries MED7011: An introduction to Popular Music as Culture

Hello everybody!

My name is Orsi and this is my second semester studying the MA in music industries as a distance student (although I did travel up twice last semester to say hello, so I am hoping I can do the same this semester too!).

I am doing this MA as a part time student since I’m also working full time managing an online vinyl shop called Fat City and working for a small label called Jazzman Records. I did a BA in Music and Media Management 2005-2008 and that is essentially why I moved to London (apart from my dream of working with music).

During and after my BA I worked for a small label called Brownswood Recordings, and before starting my current job I worked as a project and account manager at two different digital agencies for roughly three years in total.

Apart from that I’ve been hosting my own radio show called Little Miss Sunshiine for about 2½ years on Laid Back Radio, as well as doing some other radio related things on different stations, and last year I took the big step of playing records in public (and I say big because for me it’s very nerve wrecking…)

As for this module, I think all weeks sound really interesting because they relate to personal as well as professional interests of mine.

I guess in a bit broader sense, when I think of music as culture I keep getting drawn back to three things:

1. Can there be commerce without the culture?
2. Would we have a “rich” culture if there wasn’t a commercial/financial side to music?
3. That I’ve unconsciously been part of some sort of “music culture” throughout my entire life.

On a personal side, music meaning, identity, but especially history and heritage in terms of why music I hear today sound a specific way due to music from the past has always interested me. I guess my rather big range of musical taste comes from trying to explore the musical background of music that I have come across and liked.

An example of this is Hip Hop.
Not only was I part of the culture of Hip Hop when I was growing up, and by culture I don’t just mean the music but the four elements and what they represented etc, but being part of that culture sparked an interest in me to dig deeper to discover where the samples & breaks came from in the music I was listening, singing and dancing to. And thanks to that I discovered a brand new world of jazz, funk, soul, disco and electronic music, which in turn lead me to pop, rock, blues, country and so on.

From a professional/business point of view I’d say it’s vital to understand the culture behind music because I think that’s essentially what you are making your money from (but I might be wrong…).

So in a way, the better you understand the culture the better you can use it to your advantage to exploit it and earn more money.

That might sound a bit grim, and maybe it is wrong, but so far that is the impression I get…

Working and in a way “belonging” to a niche part of the music industry, I sometimes get the feeling that people who belong to it too feel like our work/music is more important because we “create better musical culture” but I have never really been convinced by that.

What makes good culture? or good music for that matter?

Sorry, I won’t ramble on… Let’s just say I have a lot of thoughts and questions, and I look forward to have even more once this module is finished.