The Music Industry: How Record Labels Changed Everything

Abstract

The days of the superband are over. Artists do not make extravagant amounts of money or dominate the market for decades anymore. The middle class of musicians has emerged, and it is here to stay, but  the artists that comprise it are not as permanent (Holmes, “There’s A Rising Middle Class”). In today’s music industry, survival is the name of the game.

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Keeping your New Year’s Resolutions

 

Finished Infographic (2)

Reflection:

At first, our group had a difficult time coming up with a topic we all liked to base our infographic off of. We wanted our purpose to be both informational and helpful to the people who were referencing it. But the same time, we had a feeling most of the other groups were going to create more serious infographics so our plan was to create one that dealt with a more appealing and enthusiastic feel to it. It took us several days to come up with our final theme, having ideas that ranged from “The Art of Procrastinating” and “Burger Eating.” Since the holidays are coming up, it only seemed logical to create an infographic that could relate to the most celebrated time of the year. A struggle that many, if not all of us, go through is creating and keeping a legitimate New Year’s Resolution.

After deciding on a general topic, we spent some time thinking about what the main focus of our infographic would be. Upon realizing that the most common problem that people have pertaining to new year’s resolutions is that they have a hard time keeping them, we came to the conclusion that focusing on how to keep a new year’s resolution would make the most impact as well as cater to a broader audience. New Year’s resolutions are everybody’s way of saying that they are trying to make a new start, turn a new leaf, or do something with their lives. Our infographic is useful to anyone who is currently trying to stay committed to a resolution because our infographic has advice that can help them reach their goal. Our audience includes all people who make a new year’s resolution because it pertains to them and has all the information they need on how to be successful in completing it.

The design of this infographic is supposed to give a positive vibe and encourage a sense of victory or celebration. The way that the colors are boldest at the top draw the viewer’s eyes to the title, or topic, grabbing their interest. From there, the colors and shapes fade off as the infographic starts to focus more heavily on statistics and information. Towards the end, however, the celebratory theme picks up again with the reappearance of the stars. The charts and visuals were also added to aid the viewer in understanding our infographic. Each visual references to some fact, statistic, or piece of advice that is mentioned in its same general area, and as a whole, they make our infographic seem more visually appealing and colorful.

 

What Device Best Suits Me

Devices(LucasEdit)Lucas Müller & Joshua Kassab

Infographic Assessment

We realized early on that we wanted to create an infographic to inform our audience in a way that would help them accomplish tasks the average person is not capable of. For example, an infographic on how to build a computer would present a watered down guide that could point people in general directions, such as what type of processor to buy, or how much RAM is needed for specific functions.

After some browsing we landed on the idea of creating an interactive infographic to help those with little technical background make a decision about what type of device would best suit their needs. To address this type of audience, however, we had to assume that they knew nothing aside from what they desired their device for.

Our graphic is neatly broken into three parts, the eye-grabbing title, the flowchart that narrows down what the reader is looking for, and the table of information. As expected, the first item that the viewer should see is the title. We decided to use a solid oval instead of a hollow one to designate its purpose as a more important bubble. The flip-flop of the bubble/text color scheme that becomes standard throughout the rest of the graphic also serves that function. The lighter background pops out at the reader more, hopefully intriguing them enough to want to read on. The convenient aspect to the title, however, is that it directly feeds the reader into the middle part, our flowchart. The flowchart is intended as a robust ‘weed-out’ mechanism that isolates their preferences and expectations for a device and uses that information to guide them to a specific selection within the third block of the infographic. By bridging the gap between the title and the data, a task that we struggled with, the flowchart smoothly brings the reader to the final, and most complex portion of the infographic. This data-intensive table serves to give the reader a much more detailed description of each device. We designed this section to have one purpose: provide a visual representation of each category so that the reader can make trivial comparisons across columns at a glance, but also have the ability to read the text in each cell for more detailed information.

Originally, we had conflicting views about how much text we desired to see in the infographic. When one of us wanted images to convey generic ideas to the reader, the other wanted a more text-based and statistic-heavy section to show every detail about the devices. Our great compromise can be seen in the third block of the infographic, where a combination of icons and short texts are used to present the information. In doing this, the two styles can support each other by offering general concepts through images, and more specific details through short phrases. This, overall, balanced out the infographic and allowed it to present information in an engaging and informative way simultaneously.

 

 

 

Why to Buy a Hybrid Car

Hybrid Car Infographic

Andrew and Stefan

As a group, we decided to use an infographic to make the claim that hybrid cars are a better choice over the conventional automobile. The topic we started with was environmentalism, and then, as we had learned to do from previous assignments, we narrowed down the rather broad topic of environmentalism to specifically the major environmental symbol of the hybrid car. Many people today see hybrid cars as an incredulously over expensive piece of equipment for an only negligible return on the environment. This infographic seeks to bring to light how greatly driving a hybrid car benefits the environment and also how much driving a hybrid actually saves you money as an automobile owner.

The first block of the infographic is a general comparison between the average hybrid car and its average conventional automobile equivalent. The very first argument addressed in this part, and therefore the rest of the infographic, is that the cost difference between a hybrid car and a conventional automobile actually is not very large. The price difference is almost always the first thing on anyone’s mind when thinking about getting a conventional car over a hybrid, and as a result it is the first thing that we address in our infographic. Basic monetary comparisons are made, with a gold dollar sign over on the hybrid side of the chart to help emphasize that driving a hybrid is the way to save money.

The second block provides a more visually appealing chart of how a hybrid car is better than a conventional automobile. The second block draws arrows to each individual part of a car, and then gives a brief caption on how that particular part of the car on a hybrid is better than its conventional equivalent. The picture uses a white car and black arrows and lettering to allow a very easy contrast between the two, in addition to drawing attention to the actual information being displayed because it is a darker color on a brighter green background. We stick to the theme of all black clip art in this block to create an informal structure, and also to prevent distraction from a wide array of different colors.

The last block provides closer to the infographic, finally stating the claim that has been swirling about its text for its entirety. Unlike the block above it, this block has many different colors, illustrating a vibrant environment that is made possible by those that choose to drive hybrid cars. There is also money on the tree and on the bush, making a claim that when you drive a hybrid car, you are saving so much money you’d think it was growing on trees.

How To Survive Ebola 2014

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Harrison and Hang

We chose the topic of the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak for our infographic project. It did not take us a long time to decide on this subject; many people are curious about the Ebola virus due to its unclear origins and often-dramatized effects. We decided to put information about things the average citizen should know, starting with a disclaimer of the probability of contraction and a timeline of its most recent flare-up. We focused our timeline specifically on the Ebola virus present in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. It initially originated several decades ago, but its damage has significantly increased in 2014. The timeline of the Ebola virus shows how rapidly it is spreading and affecting other countries. The reported number of human cases in 2014 is larger than cumulative reported cases of Ebola virus from its start to 2013. This timeline is designed to not only show its progress, but the magnitude of its scope in Africa.

We realized that merely listing information about the Ebola virus might not be useful to viewers, so we took another step, developing our infographic by explaining Ebola’s symptoms and what not to do in order to avoid the virus. We recognized that its transmission is different from other common diseases, such as cold or common flu. By demonstrating how to avoid those illnesses, the public can grasp the basic methods of staying clean and disease-free. More people should be warned and not neglect importance of easy prevention of diseases, such as keeping your hands clean.

This infographic is for everyone who heard about the Ebola virus and is concerned about its presence in America. These diseases do not only affect him/herself, but also damages people around. By understanding and practicing simple common methods of prevention, your risk of getting serious illness can go down significantly. Since our topic of infographic is quite familiar to many people, we targeted a wide group of audience, and finding information was not that hard. We gave extra attention to how to organize our information and data. I hope people can increase their awareness in diseases and its prevention by viewing our infographic on Ebola 2014.

Infographic and Reflection

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We decided to to make our infographic about the effects of caffeine. We wanted to do something about coffee, we decided to focus our infographic around the effects of caffeine itself, as neither of us really knew what it did aside from keeping people awake. We decided to split our infographic down the middle, with positive effects on one side of a human body and all of the negative effects on the other side. This helped make it  more organized.  We tried to arrange the information around the human body to provide a balance, so there wasn’t too much clutter in anyone one area.

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This worked out fairly well; since caffeine is a stimulant, most of it’s effects are in the central nervous system. So, we were able to put two large bubbles with general effects caffeine has on the central nervous system on either side , this further helps to divide the inforgraphic. Then we added in other information around the human’s torso. However since caffeine primarily acts on the nervous system, it has very few effects that act on other area’s of the body. This left us with some empty space. To solve this, we placed additional facts in the blank space inside of the circular coffee stains.

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We put one additional fact on each side of the infographic to maintain balance. These facts also align with the positive versus negative divide that we established. Conveniently, these extra effects can’t rally be targeted to a specific body area, so this way we could still include them. On the positive side, we noted caffeine’s link to lower suicide rates, and on the negative side we noted that a lethal dose of caffeine would take approximately 100 cups of coffee. The fact that it would take so much coffee to die of a caffeine overdose also helps to reinforce our argument since it shows how safe caffeine is.

 

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We put a happy guy on the positive side, and a crazy lady on the negative side. We used different colors to display the information on the different sides. On the positive side we primarily used blue since it’s associated with being calm, and on the negative side we used red since it’s much more aggressive. We also used neutral colors, and put text in contrasting colors so it was easy to read.

Blog Self-Assessment

Summary:

 

I did all five of the blog post. I started with three reading response post and then did two experimental post. As far as comments went I have nine associated with my username and one of the anonymous comments is mine. I am not sure why it is anonymous but it is the one in response to “Whose Side is Congress on?”

 

Revised Post:

 

I decided to revise “Fighting for which Future? When Google Met WikiLeaks.” since this blog post had the most comments on it. I decided to change the concluding sentence based on the first comment suggestion that I do mention how WikiLeaks changed the internet. I liked this suggestion because it went along with my argument that WikiLeaks was not actual what was so interesting, but the structure of the website itself was what generated so much “buzz.” Another change I made was to expand on the statement that WikiLeaks is mentioned more when discussing a government controlled internet. This is because the second comment showed confusion about what this statement meant and though it could mean WikiLeaks would support a government controlled internet. In reality I was trying to infer the opposite position so I added another sentence explaining the previous one to remove any confusion. I believe these edits to the blog post made it easier to understand and removed any confusion from the original argument.

 

http://www.ericrettberg.com/datacultg2/wp-admin/post.php?post=617&action=edit

 

Two Other Posts:

 

I did like my first post about big data in the historical world. I liked this one because of how easy it seemed it was to incorporate the historical world with the current term of big data. This was before we started to give defined definitions to our terms, like data, and this enabled me to give a broader use of example since I only had to argue the reason for each example. I had also been reading Caesar’s Commentaries at the time and was happy I was able to use the term pleb since it was the proper term for the Roman peasants.

 

http://www.ericrettberg.com/datacultg2/reading-response-blog-posts/big-data/

 

My second favorite post I had was the “Does Education Need to Change?” I have watched TED talks for a while now as was happy to be able to write a blog post about a TED talk. It took a while for me to decide which TED talk I wanted to use but picked one on education since I had not seen it yet and education is a very interesting current argument. I think I did a good job describing why Robinson’s argument was so strong, especially through the TED video format instead of an essay format. He was a very strong public speaker and gave me a lot to work into my argument.

 

http://www.ericrettberg.com/datacultg2/experiential-blog-posts/does-education-need-to-change/

 

Comments Sections:

 

The comment section was probably my favorite part of the blog. I did like the change to one longer blog post but after the change I did not get any comment on my own blog post so I only ended up replying to one or two comments. I had three different types of comments I would write.  The first type of comment I would write is when I agree with the author. These were not the most interesting comments, but I try to add to the author’s argument and mention any particular parts of the argument I really like. The second type of comment I will write is when I think there can be things added to the argument. I mention parts of the argument that are confusing our places where more information can be added to the argument that would help the overall blog post. The final type of comment I would make is when I disagree with the author’s argument. These are the most interesting since they create a discussion. I usually spent the most time on these since I was disagreeing with the author. In these argument I would try to create a compact counterargument. I would direct each example at specific example of theirs and I found this the most fun argument. It was very helpful when I started to get emails when a comment was put on one of my blog posts since this allowed me to respond right away, but unfortunately the last two of my post have no comments.

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Multicultural society

Today, you can easily see people with different race, culture, and nationality in many places around the world. Multicultural society is becoming common in rapid pace, and connections among people of different culture and race will increase significantly. Multicultural society is made out of necessity and definitely contains lots of benefits, yet, many people do not see the danger hiding behind it. In world history, there are numerous instances of conflicts made when groups of people from different culture or race live in the same place, and some of those conflicts went as far as wars. Some might say those concerns are overstatements, but human nature has revealed its ignorant jealousy and aggressiveness too many times throughout history. People should also take attention on not only what to gain, but also what can they lose and how to not repeat the same mistakes over again.
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The Cyclical Nature of Novels and Culture

In his essay, “Graphs, Maps, Trees”, Franco Moretti comes to the conclusion that, due to the cyclical nature of the graphing of literature and genres, there is never a definite winner in regards to the trends that occur in writing over periods of time. When debating on the topic of Male or Female dominance of British novels, he states:

“…No victory is ever definitive, neither men nor women writers ‘occupy’ the British novel once and for all, and the form oscillates back and forth between the two groups.”

This conclusion got me thinking. He makes a very valid point: the trends involving novels tend to be very cyclical. When thinking about this, I realized that not only can the trend in novels be in a sort of cycle, but our culture as a whole. Sometimes I talk to my mother about clothes and what is, for lack of better words, “in” or “out” at the time. I tell her that guys now wear shorts that sit only above their knees and sunglasses that have larger lenses (such as Aviators) whereas girls have been wearing higher wasted shorts/pants in the summer and high boots in the colder times of the year. After she processes everything, she almost always says, “Those types of clothes have made a comeback?! I remember your father and I always wearing those types of clothes when were together back in high school and college.” Even music nowadays tends to follow old school rules, with artists such as Justin Timberlake creating jazzy and retro beats; even setting up his concert stages to represent the classiness of the earlier decades of the 90’s. There has never been a certain culture or trend that has thrived and dominated America, but several cultures that come and go and then repeat themselves in later years.
In regards to what Moretti states, I think he is correct when he says that human culture, or in this case, novels, has a cyclical nature.

How Big Events Shape the Novel World

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In his essay, “Graphs”, Moretti asks “What would happen if literary historians, too, decided to shift their gaze from the extraordinary to the everyday, from exceptional events to the large mass of facts?”. He shows how this is possible by using charts to display the rise and fall of novel production in Britain, Italy, France, India, Spain, and Japan from the 1700’s to 1900’s. After correlating trends with external factors of all magnitudes, however, he suggests an interesting theory to explain the volatility of the novel world.

Using data from numerous scholars, Moretti shows that British novelistic genres between 1740 and 1900 were segmented (page 17, Figure 9), and that the decline of one genre always coincided with the rise of another. He realized that there were 5 big shifts in the novelistic field during this time frame. This leads him to theorize that these shifts were caused by the birth of new generations that differed significantly from the preexisting ones. To appropriately addresses the question, “But since people are born every day, not every twenty-five years, on what basis can the biological continuum be segmented into discrete units?” he states that the birth of these generations were caused by large-scale, external events, such as war or natural disaster. For example, harsher living conditions in 19th century Britain created a generation that would find Gothic literature more appealing than Epistolary literature due to its darker subject and would hence explain its rise at the same time of the decline of epistolary subjects at this time.

There is a saying that we are a summation of our experiences. Moretti understood this and applied it to explain that the trends were being affected external influences applied over an entire country, resulting in new generations of people with personalities distinct from former ones.

Quantitative Research and its Misconceptions

In this week’s reading, author Franco Moretti argues about trends in novel literature over a span of several decades, and how literary history is defined by data sets and not by individual works. He states that:

Quantitative research provides… data, not interpretation. Quantitative data can tell us when Britain produced one new novel per month, or week, or day, or hour for that matter, but where… and why–is something that must be decided on a different basis.

While I do agree that quantitative data does provide data, such data sets are capable of exhibiting a limited form of interpretation. Collection of large data sets can be passed off to outside viewers as being completely unbiased, but for the most part, data mining does not exist for the sake of mining data; the motivation is almost never that circular. Big data, therefore, presents a watered-down form of interpretation of a subject through both the data it provides, and that which has been purposefully omitted from it. Applying a more concrete argument to a data set is essential to strengthening the claims made by both, but the fact is that data sets are assembled for specific, situational purposes, and therefore carry within them implicit arguments to be defined by the viewer/reader.

Genres, Generation Cycle

The book, ‘Graphs, Maps, Trees’ by Franco Moretti, explores the cultural effects on novels. The book emphasizes the effect various aspects of culture have on the novels being read at a point in time. Moretti claimed in the novel that the regular rhythmic decline of genres of novels after 25 or 30 years is caused by ‘generations’. Moretti writes “but (almost) all genres active at any time seem to arise and disappear together according to some hidden rhythm.” This is show in the fig 9 of the novel that certain genres last for some years and a new set of genres replace them. He also states “this, then, is where those 25 – 30 years come from: generations.”

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Moretti argues that if one genre replaces another one then there can be a reasonable internal cause but when several genres randomly vanish collectively from the literary field, and another different unrelated group of genres enters, then it must relate to a change in audience. This is very true because only something external to the genres could cause the genre swap. It is rather strange for the group of genre to disappear randomly so it only makes sense that the audience dies out and a new one comes in. This leads to the idea of ‘generations’.

He says that “books survive if they are read and disappear if they aren’t: and when an entire generic system vanishes at once, the likeliest explanation is that its readers vanished at once.” This is similarly true because people in the same generation think alike. Though the term ‘generation’ is not exactly certain but it can account for the 25 – 30 years period of each genre. When a generation dies out and a new one comes in, they come in with different tastes so they demand a new genre and when their time is up, the cycle continues. In order to answer the Moretti’s question “since people are born every day, not every twenty-five years, on what basis can the biological continuum be segmented into discrete units?” Mannheim answered the question in ‘The Problem of Generations’ that it doesn’t matter when a new generation style emerges, what matters is the cultural trigger action that creates a bond between members of a generation. Mannheim referred to this process as ‘dynamic destabilization.’ This is a very good way to look at generations because it is wrong to categorize based on a regular time interval. The cultural effects make a stronger effect on the members of the generations giving them certain similar tastes. All these assumptions summed up can accurately explain the cultural effect on the genres. Moretti used these together to show that the generations have an effect on the active genres during a time period.