Good stories and good characters, not good music. A research on music and media in Italy
Istituto di Comunicazione Università IULM Milano, Italy
Dipartimento di Scienze della comunicazione Università Cattolica Milano, Italy
The ?remediation? (Bolter, Grusin 1999) of the music cultural industry from the old media to the new ones has reshaped not only the presence of artists and their songs on the media and the way the are built and promoted as ?stars?, but also sets clear some questions that are now crucial for the whole cultural production system.
As for media production in general (Tunstall 1998, Hesmondhalgh 2003), for music too there is quite little sociological empirical research on production. The proposed paper will analyze the changes in the production, distribution and communication of music since the coming of the ?digital age?, and how these changes are perceived by Italian professionals of music and media.
The paper will present and discuss the findings of a qualitative research (25 in-depth interviews to Italian music professionals such as journalists, A&Rs, music tv and radio managers, artist managers, publicists conducted from june to december 2008).
The main results can be summarized as follows:
1. Eight years after the closing of Napster and four years after the launch of iTunes, the internet and the digital evolution are still perceived by most Italian professionals as a threat and not as an opportunity.
2. The scouting seems to be better carried out by ?traditional? television, that takes the place of new technologies in the finding of new artists.
3. On the other hand, the press seems to undergo a process of trivialization, from the news to the gossip.
In general, the research findings stress the more and more relevant process of narrativization of music: A&Rs, publicists, managers and media operators co-operate in building stories, thus proving to be the ?hidden narrators? of music (Sibilla 2003), to the extreme of thinking that a good story (even a good gossip) works better than a good song, provided that it is properly told by tv, newspapers and the internet.