notes on the progress of my third year dissertation (towards BA (hons) Music Industry Management and Studio Production) comprising links to research, extracts of essays and thoughts on the research for this project. This blog essentially ties together the dissertation's presence on the internet.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A case-study into 8bit music and the use of genre theory to describe and explain a market for the purposes of inclusion in corporate strategies.


Genre theory has many facets. One of these is that by studying a genre, certain questions become apparent as to why a genre has a certain quirk. It has been said that fanzines, popular with fans of rock music and an effective marketing space, have never really gripped hip-hop fans. In order to effectively market within a genre, an understanding of how that genre works is required. By applying genre theories, this information is revealed and can be used to better understand a market a record label may otherwise miss.
The research will attempt to use genre theory to identify the factors affecting the way genre develops. The research will attempt to explain the market the genre represents, and attempt to describe the current state of that market. The research hopes to show how, buy using genre theory, record labels can better understand a market and so better deal with an emerging opportunity quickly and efficiently.
To investigate this, the emerging genre “8bit” has been used as case-study for the applications of these theories. This is because, whilst the genre is still comparatively quite small, it is small enough yet significant enough to represent an opportunity to use genre theory to attempt to predict what might happen as the genre evolves, and how to best approach the genre.
Genre theories can be applied to an emerging genre to better describe the market the genre represents in terms of the recorded music industry thus enabling a record label to act quickly and correctly on the genre.

Background Reading - Previous Key Findings.
Wall (20003) provides a frame work of factors that can affect a genre. These being: sociological, economic, and technological.
Frith (1996) notes that genre are categories used to group similar music, and cites Fabri’s “socially accepted rules” as a way of describing a genre through common factors such as ideology and behavior.
Wall (2003) discusses popular music culture and …
Background Reading – 8bit.
Whilst “Chiptune” would seem to have become an all encompassing term for music made using the sound chips and interfaces of these old machines, including covers of the original video game music, music inspired by the original video game music, and original compositions, (, 2007) Mclaren, M (2003) used the term “8bit” to describe a sub-genre of Chiptune that looks forward musically, whilst looking backwards for it’s technology. The result is a new genre of electronic music that takes a wide range of musical influences and reproduces them using lo-fidelity computer equipment to create a new type of sound. This is the definition 8bit used throughout this investigation. From the days of hackers writing their own musical introductions to computer games that they had cracked and shared with friends, the popularity of making music on home computers has increased dramatically and we have seen, with the increased processing power of recent computers, fully fledged digital audio workspaces that even rival professional recording studios become available to the home producer. 8bit musicians, however, shun this readily available technology, preferring instead to concentrate their efforts on making music with the simplest and least powerful hardware, i.e. sticking to the original constraints of low-capability hardware, even though these were surpassed long ago.
David E. Sugar and Pixleh8 have both recently been mentioned in an article in the “Metro” newspaper See apendix. The article by Williams, A. (2007) is the latest mention of the genre in the mainstream press. Sugar has featured on BBC Radio 6 Music and Rob Da Bank (BBC Radio 1 DJ) has previously dedicated a whole show to 8bit and demonstrates 8bit is beginning to garner media attention.
The recent 8bitpeoples release 8BP050 (June 2006?????????) comprises artists from across the world, that are only aware of each other through internet community sites such as, and The main form of marketing for this music is also, unsurprisingly, internet based. The Internet plays a key roll in the dissemination of information about 8bit as the genre is spread across continents. publishes its server status on its home page, which gives information on its users. At the time of writing, their server held sixteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty three accounts, all of which represents a unique person in the world able to upload and download their chiptunes for free. also provides the users of the site the capability to log their location on the “micromembers world map”, a Macromedia Flash applet designed to allow users to enter their longitude and latitude to pinpoint their position in the world. Whilst the map is not very accurate, it can readily be seen that the main areas of the location of users is northern Europe, followed by the United States of America. From this it is clear why, for the consumers of 8bit, the internet is a vital connection to new releases and events.

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