Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Music of Media Convergence, 03102007

Ross Melnick -- In 1922 Roxy Rothapfel began to broadcast from the Capital and the early embrace on this new media he was able to influence the synergistic influence between film, radio and music. In short, between 22 and 29 the film industry was an early intertextual activites.

Following Roxy's success, others began to follow suit. Other theaters began to grow radio stations and many of the studios would do the same. This in the case of Warner Brothers, KFWB is built out of which eventually comes vitaphone.

But I want t focus on Fox Movietone films. Focusing on these films will give us something new. Fox picks up a movie hall and a conductor slash composer, Erno Rapee, who made the film's theme song. Murnau's sunrise was big well as it got a soundtrack that would be broadcast and sold as sheet music.

The Roxy Theater orchestra would get big out of this as it would have more distribution channels than ever before.

Take for example, "Angela Mia" by Rapee and Pollack that would be used to distribute the movie and the theme song. (ed note. sell the film for an experience and you would then sell the song as repetitive fare?). The film Street Angel was sold by the soundtrack and vice versa. The tune would be played on the radio and in other areas as well.

by 1929 "Angela Mia" it would be the number one song in America... The term theme song began to be known as a common theme

Later -- theme songs would be written for books and political parties in order to create revenue streams. Tie ups were iteresting in this way.

To take advantage of all of this commerce, you sold sheet music in the lobbies of the theaters. You promote upcoming attractions on the air in the 1922-1929 period and used radio as a way to get people into theaters and away from radios in their home. There was an interesting way in which phonorecords get involved in this as well. Radio broadcasting would utilize radio, records, songs and films to promote each other.

We see here the growth of vertical and horizontal modes of integration. Film producers would buy

See "syncopation" as a set of films from the likes of Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians... this is the systematized element of decentralized acquisition of media.

We see all kinds of diversification and the like. We also see issues like this to see in numerous cross promotional efforts.

Warner Brothers picked up a number of music publishing assets... something that has been of importance for quite a long time.

The coming sound was not just a new technological changes, but new issues in capital issues and production for intertextualization regimes.

Katherine Spring -- In the united states we have seen so many convergences in the ever consolidation of media concerns, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. But this is an issue throughout the history of the 20th century. The issue of song marketing and the convergence influenced the issues of produtcion. I want to ook at this in effect of this in the production Weary River.

in 1928 you had the likes of Irving Berlin, inc that had non-exclusive affiliations with multiple studios. By the end of 1929 you had more exclusive affiliatons coming on and by 1903 you see the acquisition of these publishers by numerous publishers that highlighted issues of tie-ups. This is key as movies would promote sheet music and vice versa.

What is interesting is to see how a song could be placed in numerous areas. Let us look at the case of Weary River the film and "Weary River" the song -- it was composed and had a 50/50 arrangement. The film's theme song would be used in multiple arenas. We also see how songs operate as a musical video. "Its up to you" will be sung and reoccer as a leitmotif to underscore romance. Now we see "Weary River" .. one in which the composer of "It's up to you" sings from a prison radio broadcast. The song concludes and there is enough of an encore demand where the demand gives a place for repetition.

What we get here are a number of practices

  • 1) Song star identification -- something that was developed in common with sheet music and was appropriated for records and cinema. In the case of "Weary River" they are seen as the stars songs although they were oft dubbed for tech and style reasons

  • 2) Allows for Male sentimentality -- the ballad allows the male star to bring about sentiment into the place of the film.

  • 3) Theme songs function as narrative devices -- they assert issues of moral growth and or stability.

The idea that popular songs threaten narrative economy is something that is challenged by these early theme songs in the same way that leitmotifs are utilized. These strategies endured on soundtracks for later decades.

Paul N. Reinsch -- We are looking at the convergence of the senses and their synchronized elements. Let us look at the synchronization of Jolson's voice with Larry Parks performance of Jolson in Jolson Sings and Jolson sings again. If the Jazz singer forged a synchronized sound then these films may have been seen to have disintegrated these systems. These films present many close ups of Larry Parks and they were very popular. The star of these films... well they were Al Jolson. They are arguably about Jolson despite the lack of himself on the screen. They are a biographic representation of such. Even reviewers noted this. Columbia was paid rather handsomely given 50% of the first film's profits and 25% the next time.

This was one of the few ways to hear Jolson and see a Jolson like performance. The audience knew that the performer on-film was not doing any singing and this was something that they all knew.

What holds these issues together are visual synch nodes.

Jolson publicly stated he had no problem not being on screen, but he did express frustration privately, even getting a "screen test" for the second film. The studio used this film, btw, to train Parks even more so in the art of imitating Jolson. WB did not share and circulate their films with competing studios. Joslon eventually got to play himself later in the rise of the radio show. This knowledge of Jolson not performing is circulated openly in Jolson Sings Again -- see the "Toot, toot, tootsie, goodbye!".

Jolson's recordings of songs for the studio coincides with the recordings for the Decca label. These came out after these musicals such as the Jolson Story and Jolson Sings Again. Thus, in this case the star of Jolson is seen as an intertextual conglomerate.

Laurel Westrup -- Rock Star INXS -- this was a performance show where it looks, on the surface, like an American Idol gone rock. It was given a sense of what was supposed to be a rock star and what one needed to become a rock star. It included a media and industrial convergence. we are not privileging the tech or even the industrial, but we are looking at the social and why the show succeeded (then cites Jenkins). One of the things we need to look at is "Affective Economics" to see why someone would need to look at how this operates in a specific sense. Let us look at the similarities that look at rock music specificially.

For example, we are looking at the issue of authenticity. Many people looked at Hutchence as a pure rock star, even his death seems authentically "rock" in this sense. Following up rock's embrace of TV in the 1980s in MTV. Grossberg has often critiqued the idea of rock on the small screen where it is seemingly appropriated.

As a genre, rock is both open and oppositional at the same time. To distinguish pop from rock we see the issue of authenticity mobilized once again.

Rock Star INXS saw itself as a way to distinguish itself from American Idol and they had to some work by mobilizing a rhetoric of seriousness. This rhetoric understands pop as something that cannot be taken seriously and it is precisely this rhetoric that they mobilized to get the rights to perform "authentic" rock songs and get INXS. We will see how this is done in the clips as well.

On the website, rock history was often noted as key to both the audience and the singers, many of whom had to show the adequate reverence necessary to understand rock.

JD Fortune was chosen as he is able to do his own thing as well as pay homage. In this the "author" had to become clear for "authenticity" of the rock performer.

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