Week 2 Lecture: Industry and Regulation

The second-week lecture was dedicated to the main issues of regulation and moral panic within the music and radio industry. Regulation and moral panic are inseparable because without regulation there is no reason for the violation. Therefore, there are no reasons for moral panic. Panic helps society define where the boundaries lie.

In the reading, Thornton focused mainly on moral panic in response to the British rave culture in the 90s. He discussed some details of the concept of underground subcultures, and the relationship between them and the media. However, he also argues that micro and niche media play a big role in this too. Without media attention, subcultures as 90 rave would not exist.

These reading showed me that throughout the history of the music industry there has always been a connotation against youth culture and the media facilitates but that ultimately youth culture thrives on this disapproval. The “media are integral to youth’s social and ideological formations”(p. 176) influencing youths establishment as an adult through the particular worldview that is most fitting at the current political estate. Youth form groups of subcultures growing against the commercial mass media that sells consumer worldview by a virtue of the underground music that sounds “authentic”.  In Thornton’s journal was highlighted the relation between subcultures, underground and commercial pop-music production while growing into the classic music as a heritage of generation. It is explained that youth underground ideologies set themselves apart from commerce, “they are a means by which youth imagine their own and other social groups, assert their distinctive character, and affirm that they are not just “attention spans” to be bought and sold by advertisers, nor faceless members of an undifferentiated mass“.(p.177) In such, underground movements define themselves against the mass media. Although, some underground music model is still hypocritical due its “popularization by a gushing up to the mainstream.” (p.178)

The main pop-music medium is focused to the wealthy middle-aged group that is more or less cohesive in its music preferences, and still prefers classic that used to be underground. Throughout the taste establishment, the pop music is mainly accepted by women while the underground belongs to males that form the future of classic that used to be avantgarde, that happens infinitely. A good example is Jazz Music that turned into Ph. D music.

From the text is also getting clear that club music and live music are existing against each other and cannot coexist when club music is recorded and artificial, and live music is ingenious. Niches exist against the pop-music while classic music is indifferent to both. Both high art and underground “criticize mass culture for being derivative, commercial, shallow and femme.” But they differ as “subcultures romanticize “the street” and crowd, not artists’ studios and individual genius.(p.178) Music preferences also define social boundaries.

The readings try to document accurately significant events in the music industry. But that what was documented may have been highly hyperbolic. This means it is hard to agree with some of what they are saying as the information may not be accurate. Thornton gives more details about a specific era.

IThornton, (1994). “Moral Panic, The Media & British Rave Culture.” In: Andrew Ross & Tricia Rose (ed), Microphone Fiends, Youth Music & Youth Culture. 1st ed. London: Routledge. pp.(176-192).


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