Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DIGITISATION: book industry

I'll cross-post this on MusiVidz/BritCinema/ProdEval; relevant to all
Digitisation is perhaps the single most important concept you'll look at in AS/A2 Media. Its influence spans every industry, and renders what you're doing as A-Level students in producing practical work as industry-level, not simply an academic learning exercise. If you don't get this, you don't get Media Studies.
So here's another example: the book industry.
Big-name author Anthony Horowitz writes with some disdain about the all-powerful book publishers ... and how digitisation (he doesn't use the term; he doesn't need to) has opened up all sorts of self-publishing and online tie-ins (with the likes of Amazon). Writers just don't need the publishers anymore, he argues. Their response? You do need us, especially for promotion.
He dismisses that ... but they're right, at this point anyway. There is scope for self-promotion of course, and you've all being doing this with blogs, twitter, facebook ... But, that isn't always as effective as buying ads on TV/press/online/billboards/radio/cinema, a similar argument that can be rightly made with the film and music industries (look at Avatar and the huge promo campaign that underpinned it, partially reliant on the vertical and horizontal integration of News Corp, and the cross-promotion/synergies that enabled).

See http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/feb/27/anthony-horowitz-do-we-still-need-publishers

Anthony Horowitz: Do we still need publishers?

At an event hosted by children's booksellers The Book People last week, the author gave a talk questioning the role of the publisher in today's literary world. This is an edited version
Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Horowitz. Photograph: Andy Paradise / Rex Features

The title of this talk is, "Do We Need Publishers Any More?". I was going to call it "Thank Christ We Don't Need Bloody Publishers Any More" – but I felt that sounded too partisan.
Relationships between writers and publishers are of course very strange and change all the time, rather like a see-saw.
I remember my first meeting at Walker Books. The first question they asked me – and I swear this is true – was what mug would I like my tea in: the one with the teddy bear, the tennis racket or the pink one with the flower? And when I left the building, they asked me if I'd be OK taking the tube on my own. I was 33. I was married with a child. But they clearly saw me as some sort of demented child myself.
Cut forward 20 years: I've grown up, and they're nervous of me. There's Alex Rider. I've created a brand. Walker also resent me ever so slightly because now I'm the one with the SMA powder and the changing table. To a certain extent, they need me and that's probably tricky for a publisher who might find life so much easier without writers.
Meanwhile, across the river, I have my adult publisher, Orion – and they also have problems with me. Relations between us have been strained ever since they published my Sherlock Holmes novel, The Mouse of Slick, with no fewer than 35 proof-reading errors. Their proof-reader tried to kill herself. She shot herself with a gnu. Even so, we're doing another book together … a story of murder, suspicion and revenge.
But the truth is, I have other options.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DIGITISATION & rise of music Indies

I'm cross-posting this from an A2 blog as its a good illustration of the importance of DIGITISATION - a really central concept in our study of British Cinema (and for coursework Evaluation), and one we will look at shortly in lessons:

Indies hit an impressive 25% of market share in 2011:
independent labels – small companies not tied to the "big four" of Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI – had an unprecedented 25% share of the 113m albums sold in Britain in 2011. But industry observers say that what will perturb the majors more is the worldwide extent of Adele's breakthrough.
With EMI now effectively swallowed up, the big 4 is now 3; just THREE companies accounting for 75% of all music sold in one of the biggest music markets in the world.

The Guardian article notes the influence of digitisation here:
But Martin Mills of XL's parent company, Beggars Group, which also runs its sister label 4AD (whose Bon Iver is nominated for a Brit too), attributes the rise of indie to several factors. The most important is the internet having levelled the playing field. "You can be a little guy playing by little guys' rules, but that doesn't stop you from accessing the world market," said Mills. "Bigger players are in trouble, because online challenges [illegal downloading] have harmed their businesses more than they've harmed us."
Read the full article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/feb/20/adele-brit-awards-indie-success