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

Purpose of investigation
The purpose of this investigation was to apply the genre theory outlined above to the emergence of the new genre of music, “8bit”. It was hoped that significant data collection and analysis of the emerging genre might lead to valuable information about this new genre (such as weather or not to invest in the new market) based on the application of existing genre theory. As outlined in the theoretical framework of the literature review, the theories applied are largely based on notions from Negus, K (1999, p. 53), Fabbri (as cited in Frith 1998, p. 93) and Wall (2003) and will consider how various factors have had an impact on the formation of this “new” genre and describe the current market.
In particular, the aim of the research was to describe or attempt to explain the following factors:
• (Why) does the consumer buy “8bit” music?
• (Where) does the consumer purchase “8bit” music?
• How does the consumer find out about new “8bit”?
• Where do fans of “8bit” discuss the genre
• What is the current interest in the market? Which artists are most prominent?
• Where are the most likely expansions in “8bit” music popularity likely to occur? (Mobile phones?)
• How has the market developed over time?
Choice of research approach
The primary research methodology was to collect data from a sample population of “8bit” music consumers by means of interview and questionnaire. This data was supplemented, where possible, with information on “8bit” usage obtained directly from the internet. This meant that interviewing a statistically relevant sample of “8bit” consumers, in order to determine such things as their buying habits, where they find out about music, where they discuss music, and also how genre rules affect their decisions. Determining these attributes allowed a clearer picture of the current and likely future of “8bit” music market to be drawn. As the internet is the major communication channel for users of this genre, it was felt that this would be a viable and credible source of data, and also the optimum way to reach consumers of “8bit”.
A social survey in the form of a questionnaire was used for the reason of the advantages stated by McNiell, (1985, p.??), these being the ability to reach large numbers of people relatively easily, the minimization of personal influence from the researcher and the natural inclination toward quantitative data that can be more easily expressed statistically. Mixtures of quantitative and qualitative questions were however asked in order to allow candidates to express themselves in their own terms and limit the constriction of the candidate’s responses by offering opportunities to answer at verbatim.
Secondary research, in the form of the literature review, was carried out in order to develop a theoretical framework. The aim of developing this framework was to allow the consideration of a range of genre theories, including points of agreement and points of contention between different genre theories. From this, the key concepts of the research could be pinpointed and the focus of the research made clear. (Kumar, R (2005))

Research Methodology
The formation of a hypothesis, based on reading, research and observation, helps to rationalize the questions chosen (McNiell, (1985), p.19). The hypothesis used for this research, although not formalized, was that technological, sociological, and economical/industrial factors as highlighted in the literature, have affected the development and subsequent market of the genre “8bit” and that by applying genre theory, a description of the market can be made.
de. Vaus, DA (1995?) notes the importance of defining the concepts under investigation and the indicators of these concepts. The concepts used in this research are demonstrated in the table below, along with the indicators of those concepts.
Concept Indicator
Fans refuse to purchase 8bit music and believe it should be free. Based on Farri’s “Commercial and Juridical rules”. Express dismay at an artist signing a record contract.
Express the view that music should be free
Fans are happy to accept that artists sell their art and should be payed a fair price for their work Fans own some “8bit” on any format.
Fans are to some extent dismissive of technology, but also appreciate the convenience and benefits it represents. Expresses reservations of technology, or preferences for older formats, in either the recording process or the product.
Fans are unconcerned with the technological aspect of “8bit” May use any formant but has no opinion on technology in the production process.
Market intelligence helps to describe “8bit” and develop corporate strategies for use in the market of “8bit”. Statistical data based on a range of questions detailed below.
McNiell, (1985, p.19) states fourteen steps to a completed social survey. Among these, he describes several points relevant at this juncture, which are discussed below.
Identifying the population to be surveyed can prove difficult if no clear-cut candidates are self-selected by the research topic. However, for this research, it was determined that a simple qualifying question would be enough to establish that the candidate is suitable as the survey requires only general fans of “8bit”, whoever they might be.
The drafting of a questionnaire or interview schedule, which can be done through informal interviews, helped define that which may need further investigation or clarification. Also it ensured that the indicators used were easily identifiable, wording of the question was suitable and the questions allowed for a truthful response from the candidate. This was done with ten fans of “8bit” gathered at random from the internet and invited to take the survey. The conducting of a pilot survey allowed the functionality of the survey to be tested and helped to ensure the questions were understood by the sample group. Alterations were then made based on discussion with the initial sample group via e-mail. The test-sample group was deemed to be as statistically relevant as possible to the actual sample group, although these surveys were not anonymous.
Sampling methodology
There are three basic different methods of collecting data (Levy, Lemeshow “Sampling of Populations” Wiley, 1991). These are: extraction of data from records; self-administered questionnaire; direct interview. This research dealt with the latter two of these.
The participants in the self-administered questionnaire sample were gathered by posting links to an online survey on the profiles of prominent “8bit” artists on social networking site, as this is one of the most prevalent networking sites and has profiles for most of the major artists connected with the genre. Due to the nature of the genre, this was the only way a representative group of people could feasibly be contacted and complete the questionnaire. It was deemed that a statistically relevant number of responses would be fifty fans of “8bit”.
The results were collected using an on-line form that collected responses to the questions in a data base. This allowed quick statistical analysis of the results, as well as improving the accuracy of the data collection, and minimizing interviewer influence.
The questions were chosen to elicit the required information to investigate the stated concepts and indicators. They were chosen so that there should be no reason for the respondent to not want to answer the question. They were kept as simple as possible, to allow as many people to be eligible to answer them and prevent misunderstanding.
Information to be collected
Age and sex of the participant
What equipment they use to listen to “8bit”
How they obtain “8bit”
Do they purchase “8bit”
How much “8bit” music they have
Have they been to a live concert that used “8bit”
How they hear of a new “8bit” release
How do they discuss “8bit”
Their views on technology and “8bit”
Formation of the Questionnaire
Sirken (YEAR??/?) suggests a five step procedure for designing survey forms. These are:
1/. Specify the information to be collected.
2/. Select the data collection strategy.
3/. Order the questions (group the questions in a meaningful way).
4/. Structure the questions (the way the questions are worded).
5/. Space the questions (the appearance of the form).
Assuring the Quality of the Data
To ensure that the execution of the survey was in accordance with the design of the questionnaire, a subset of people who filled in the form were interviewed to check there were no misunderstandings, and an independent colleague volunteered to check all received answers.
As an internet form was used to collect data, it was possible to group and space questions over several pages, and use “form logic” to maneuver candidates through the form, thus avoiding anyone having to answer questions unnecessarily (i.e. if a candidate answers that they only by online, they are not then asked what their favorite high-street retailer is). The questions were, on the advice of McNiell, (1985) worded as far as possible using every-day layman’s terms to avoid confusion and clearly structured.
Table 1: Questionnaire form

“8bit” Music Questionnaire
Please do not provide identification!
Age years
Gender Male  Female 
Are you aware of “8bit” music? This is music made using old computer consoles and sound chips to create new original compositions. Artist you may have heard in connection with the genre are: Nullsleep, Bitshifter, David E. Sugar, GoTo80, Roll Model. yes
no 
Equipment used to listen to music (tick all that apply) PC 
MAC  iPod 
turntable(s) 
radio/TV 
other (state)

How many “8bit” tracks do you have? (select one) less than 10 
between 100 and 500  between 10 and 100 
over 500 
Do you agree with the statement: “8bit” music should be sold in shops and online so the artist can get paid. Strongly Agree
Neither agree nor disagree Disagree
Strongly disagree
(if agree to neither agree nor disagree above)
How many have you paid for? (select one) less than 10 
between 100 and 500  between 10 and 100 
over 500 
What format do you prefer to purchace “8bit” in? MP3
Other (state) Cassette

Do you agree with the use of modern technology when producing (recording, mixing and mastering) an “8bit” record? Strongly Agree
Neither agree nor disagree Disagree
Strongly disagree
How many “8bit” fans do you know personally less than 10 
between 50 and100  between 10 and 50 
over 100
How many “8bit” fans do you know on-line. less than 50 
between 500 and 1000  between 50 and 500 
over 1000
Have you been to a concert where “8bit” music was played? Yes  No 
How do you discover new “8bit” muisc? Myspace 
Other Froum (state)
Printed media
Word of mouth
How do you most often discuss “8bit”? Myspace 
Other Froum (state)
Verbally (face to face or on the phone)

Anything you would like to add on any of the topics raised in this questionnaire?
Thank you!

A total of ten “8bit” music consumers were interviewed either face to face (preferred) or over the telephone, or via chat rooms on the internet. The purpose of the interview was to explore further some aspects of the questions asked in the questionnaire. The aim was to ensure that the interpretation of the questions by the interviewees was as the interviewer expected and to confirm that the interviewer understood correctly the answers given to the questionnaire.
A total of eight questions were posed, and the interviewees were allowed to determine the extent of their answers. As few follow-up questions or clarifying statements were made, during the course of the interview, as possible.
The following questions were put to each interviewee:
1/. Age and sex
2/. How many recordings of 8bit do you have and where did you get them?
3/. What are your thoughts on technology in the recording process?
4/. How much do you use the internet to find out about and discuss 8bit music?

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