Monday, 3 March 2014

Evaluation Question Booklet

Question 2

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

To represent a particular social group, a product needs to contain the codes and conventions necessary to connect with the audience. In my case, my music magazine follows the codes and conventions of R&B magazines. The demographic to whom I was aiming my music magazine at is very similar to that of the R&B/ Hip Hop music genre. Therefore I attempted to convey the conventions of the genre through my magazine in order to gain a sense of comfort for the audience – and present a product which they find identifiable to them.
One convention of the genre that I try to keep in my music magazine was the image of my artist. The women of the R&B / Hip Hop genre present a contrast to the males of the genre. The women are seen to be more elegant, seen in high fashion clothing. In comparison to the baggy jeans and heavy chains. One example of how I tried to repeat the idea is by dressing my artist in an all black outfit – leather jacket and jeans. This sense of high class and high art was also conveyed through the pose – the hands forming a box around the face. I made a direct decision to not over sensualise my artist, as historically the genre has. I felt that this idea was outdated and would not give any merit to the music magazine. Therefore allowing me to follow a more high class approach with the music magazine matched the evolution that the demographic has undergone. When the genre started out in the late 70’s and 80’s, many of the demographic would have been in the C2/D/E category and therefore felt that the genre was a reflection of the social and political issues at the time. However, now many of the demographic would be classed in the A/B/C1 category and now have dispensable income on products such as music magazines, justifying the evolution of the genre. Therefore it could be said that my media product is representative of the social group because I have attempted to capture the evolution of the genre.
One code and convention of the genre that I attempted to convey through my music magazine was the content that I put in my magazine. Many indie / rock magazines would have a list of artists within the genre and have some content related to that artist. I did not think that this fit the codes and conventions of the genre. Many contents pages to R&B magazines are very spread out with limited information on the contents page. The main prominence of the page would be the artist that the issue is focused on. That is what I attempted to do with the second contents page – with the image of Keisha in black and white. Therefore it could be said that my media product is representative of my social group because I tried to structure the magazine in a format that the audience would find some familiarity with the magazine and not find it too intimidating.
The main article itself has identifiable codes and conventions of the R&B / Hip Hop genre. One code and convention of the genre is the associated iconography that each artist has. This trend could be said to have picked up with the Edition font that was used on Beyonce’s “I am Sasha Fierce” album cover. This is the font that I used on the masthead – to reinforce the image and genre of my music magazine. The iconography that I used for my artist was a calligraphy-type bold font. This iconography was effective as the contrast between the thin edition font and the boldness of the name “IMAN” emphasised the feminine theme of the magazine. Another code and convention of music magazines is that they try to summarise the journey of the artist, from often humble beginnings. This helps the audience identify with the artist (echoing the ideas of the Uses and Gratifications theory). Therefore it could be said that my media product is representative of my social group because they feel that they can relate to my artist and that they have more knowledge on the artist that they did prior to reading the article

It could be said that my media product is very representative of my social group because of the type of artist that I have in my magazine, content that relates to them and interests them. Content that is relevant to the scene of that genre. It could also be said to be representative of them in terms of the way that the magazine looks – a structure that they would not deem to be too intimidating.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Question 7


Transcript :

¢What did you make your preliminary task on?
¢I made my preliminary task on Abode Photoshop. This software is a program that is primarily used to edit photos – however it is possible to magazines and leaflets on.
¢What was your magazine about?
¢My preliminary magazine was about a Haydon magazine – that contained news and information about the school, e.g. Upcoming events.
¢Do you think it was beneficial?
¢I think it was beneficial having made this magazine because it taught me the basics of what to include in a magazine – e.g. Sell lines on the front cover.
¢If you were to remake this magazine, what would you change and why, and you think there was anything that hindered you?
If I were to remake this magazine, I think I would change the sell lines and make them shorter and easier to grab the audience’s attention. I would also retake the photo so it grabs the audience’s attention. Also I would include more institutional features such as a barcode on the front page

¢What did you make your final task on?
¢I made my final magazine on Adobe InDesign. Adobe InDesign is a software that allows you to make leaflets and magazines and posters. This is a software that actual published magazines have used to make.
¢What was your magazine about?
¢This magazine – in contrast to my preliminary magazine – had a specific audience and was about the R&B music industry
¢Do you think it was beneficial?
¢I think it was beneficial making my final piece in InDesign because it allowed me to use software that the industry use – thus making it industry standard.
¢If you were to remake this magazine, what would you change and why, and you think there was anything that hindered you?
¢If I were to remake this magazine, I think I would not change anything because I feel it is at a level that would be deemed industry standard, thus allowing it to compete with other R&B magazines – such as Vibe

Question Six

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing of the product?

Throughout the process of creating my product, there was a variety of technology used at each stage. Many of the technologies I used were of industry standard, which I believe heightened the overall aesthetic of the music magazine.

To take my pictures, I used a 50mm, 1.8f Prime Lens on a SLR 550D Canon. One advantage of using a digital camera was that it can store more photos than a film camera, giving me more of a variety in the photos I had taken. I think that one advantage of using a high quality camera is that they produce good quality photos, which was of the utmost importance as the photos hold the most prominence in the music magazine. Another advantage of using industry cameras is that they look professional. One thing I have learnt from using the camera was altering the ISO to give the photos more clarity.

Once I had taken the photos on the 550D Canon, I used Adobe Photoshop CS5 to edit them. Adobe Photoshop is a program where you can manipulate a photo, and enhance features on a model that are not naturally defined .One advantage of using In Photoshop is that it is a program that companies in the industry actually use – giving the photos a more professional aesthetic .One use that I used on the program of the tools is the Gaussian Blur. One reason why I used this tool was to hide / get rid of spots. By getting rid of the spots, it enhances elegance I attempted to make and also enhanced the quality of my photos. But one of the disadvantages of that is that if you don’t take out the background and don’t feather the edges – once placed on an InDesign document – the edges come out jaggedly. Therefore decreasing the quality of the overall product. Another tool which I used was an effect was the black and white effect in Photoshop. The reason why I used this effect on the photo is because i think this effect echoed the colours used in the house style. Another tool which I used on Photoshop was the action tool, as it created many layers to photo, increasing its depth. In conclusion, what I had learnt from using this program was that editing the photos gave them more clarity and made them look more professional.

I used InDesign to create my magazine. When I opened the document, I made the decision make a 7 page booklet. InDesign is a program that allows you to make pamphlets, books and magazines. One advantage of using InDesign is that Adobe InDesign you can wrap the image around the text – using the wrap text icon. This means that everything fits on the page neatly. Another tool which helped keep everything organised was the boundary lines. By pressing “W”, you can see what is kept within the boundaries of the page. Another use of InDesign is the idea that you can apply a drop shadow to both text and images, giving more prominence to the photo or text. However if overdone it may undermine the benefit of the drop shadow. For placing images, I clicked “File” and then “Import” to drop the edited photos that I edited in Photoshop. To separate my page, I used the line tool, another tool which helped keep the balance and symmetry of the magazine. In conclusion, what I had learnt from using this technology to create my product is that keeping everything in symmetry kept the music magazine in balance and looks very professional.

Overall the benefit of using technologies that companies in the industry use allows me to make my product as close to theirs as possible. However one of the drawbacks of both programs is the amount of time and skill needed to use the programs. Using industry standard programs means that neither of the technologies and programs are easy to use. I have however gained new skills and enhanced and my analytical skills, therefore making my product better.

Question Five

How did you attract/address your audience?

With the rise of the internet and with it, the rise of social media it is becoming increasingly competitive to market a music magazine. However I feel that I have a music magazine that attracts its demographic effectively.

The Uses and Gratifications Theory is the idea that we – as an audience – purchase music magazines in order to find information, personal identity, social interaction and escapism. This is the criteria I had in my head during the creation process of making my music magazine. In terms of the Uses and Gratifications theory, people would buy my magazine because it concludes content that they may not find in other magazines – such as tour and festival information, audience could identify with an artist who grew up in an average working class area who now is one of the biggest artists in the world and now feel she has a split personality (I think this is the biggest area of my magazine that I feel audience addressed and would attract them, because of the common ground they have with the artist). Because of the content addressed in the magazine – e.g. how to get the look – this would create more social interaction within my audience by giving them common interests and discussions, increasing their social interaction levels. I think that there is a strong “escapism” factor about my magazine – because it allows the audience to connect with the music magazine on different levels, such as fashion, music and other celebrities.

It contains tour information and festival information – e.g. how to get the look and Wireless Festival dates. Which I feel is unusual because most music magazines do not contain tour dates – because most music festivals do not have R&B and Hip Hop artists, therefore making them relevant. Therefore my music magazine breaks the codes and conventions of R&B music magazines. However I think I was successful because my music magazine contains “exclusive” content that the audience would not find anywhere else. Separating my magazine from competitors.

It’s easy to understand. As previously mentioned, I did not want to include language that my audience would find daunting/intimidating. This would not also fit the codes and convention of R&B and Hip Hop magazines – mostly inventing their own terminology, e.g. referring to the music industry as a “game” and artists as “playa”. In regards to this, my music magazine does not break the codes and conventions.

It contains social media connections – such as a page on Facebook and a Twitter page. I think this is especially effective because my audience age range is the key demographic that make use of social networks. Therefore I think that this was especially effective to use because it allows the audience to find more information about the music magazine (Uses and Gratifications Theory). 

Question 4

A product is always made with an audience in mind. The perceived opinions of the audience contribute to the overall finished music magazine.  There were several procedures I had to take in order for me to conduct thorough research on my audience and properly direct my product towards my audience.
There were two classifications that I had to make for my audience. The two classifications were my primary audience – the people who the product is directly aimed at. The second classification was my secondary audience – the people who the product is not directly aimed at, but may still possibly be interested in. My primary audience is females aged 17 – 23 in the ABC1 category. The ethnicity would primarily be mainly ethnic minorities – predominantly black females. However, the product is not specifically targeted solely at the ethnic audience, however many of the ideas and values expressed in this genre is typically associated with an audience of colour. Once I had figured out what my audience would “look like”, the next step was to figure the ideology amongst the demographic, thus conducting psychographic research. My primary audience is aspirers who consider personal status important. Typically, aspirers make up 25% of consumers. They aspire to certain lifestyle; choose purchases for fashion/ range. Choose products/services contribute to aspirer’s perceived image. My secondary are mainstreamers /conformists. They make up 40% of consumers – because they are mainstreamers. They do not want to stand out from the crowd – they want to fit in. They need to have trust in products/services – thus staying with well known brands. I think it was effective choosing aspirers as my primary audience because that’s a continuous theme throughout the genre – as I’ve mentioned previously, many artists in the genre excessively talk about how their hard work has got them to where they want to be.

How have you gathered all this information?

When conducting and gathering research there is two types of research that can be conducted. Primary research is when you personally conduct research and secondary research is when you use an external source such as the internet to gather research. There are also two types of ways to conduct research. Quantitative research is when the research is concerning numbers whereas qualitative research could be in the form of focus groups and interviews and is a much more personal approach to conducting research. The reason why I have chosen the age range of 17-23 is because of the information I received from my “Audience” research and the results I got from my “Questionnaire”. With half of the people who answered my questionnaire, most of the people who answered my questionnaire were aged 17-26. They also dictated the price. Many of the people I asked were also black males and females who listened to R&B – because I thought it would be effective to gather data from my main audience and a range other secondary /tertiary audiences.

Do you think this was an effective decision?

I do think that this was an effective decision because from my “Institution” research, I have learnt that the readers of magazines are aged 17-23. I also thought that it would not be effective to aim my music magazine at people in C2/D/E categories because they do not have the disposable income that A/B/C1 category people have. Also from American music TV shows – like 106&Park – it is clear that the primary audience are aspiring black males and females aged 17-23. Because they have the aspiration to achieve what many artists from humble beginnings have achieve, thus relating to the artist as well, identifying them as the “common person”

Question Three

There are four main distribution companies that distribute magazines in the industry. PC Media, Bauer Media, Condé Nast & Hearst (National Magazine Company). In order for my music magazine to successful, I would have needed to have chosen the right distributor to distribute my magazine. The role of the distributor is very similar to that of the record label in the music industry. There were several decisions I had taken in order for my magazine to be successful and cement itself with its competitors

The institution that I have chosen to distribute my magazine is Vibe Media. I felt that the four main distribution companies did not have any knowledge on increasing awareness for my music magazine, leading to the magazine possibly not selling very well. Vibe media is most famous for distributing Vibe Magazine – an R&B magazine, very similar to my music magazine “The Hype”. One reason why I chose to pair up with the distribution company “Vibe Media” is because they produce Vibe Magazine in America and do not have any magazines that they distribute here in the UK – thus opening their market share, allowing them to dominate their share of the market. The size and scale of the R&B / Hip Hop music magazine industry is considerably smaller in the UK than the US. Yet many of the perceived conventions of the genre are still evident in magazines in the UK. One way that this proves to be beneficial to both “The Hype” and Vibe Media is that Vibe Media are able to capitalize on the expansion of the market in the UK and “The Hype” is able to sell more by its association with Vibe Media.

Another reason why choosing Vibe Media as a distributor would prove successful is because I feel that they already know how to effectively distribute an R&B magazine – because they already distribute Vibe Magazine in the US. Meaning they know where to sell them, where to advertise the magazine and will already enhance the level of interaction it has on multi platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube). Having a distributor that knows how to generate profit for a music magazine of this nature means the magazine would be advertised more effectively. I feel that choosing Vibe Media as a distribution company would prove to be successful because of the up rise of web 2.0 and new media – which means that there is a variety of ways for the product to reach the intended audience.

I think that not choosing IPC and the other three main distributors in the UK was an effective decision because they are large institutions that already supply a wide range of music magazines. I think that they could not put in the work and money to make my music magazine as much of a success as I feel Vibe Media would. Also IPC produce more indie magazines – which I feel is a completely different direction, therefore would not know how to market the brand effectively. Many of the ideas and values captured in my music magazine are very different to that of IPC. I think that distributors enhance the associations made with the magazine, thus if I did choose any of the four distributors, the magazine would not be able to cement itself with the other magazines of the genre.

However one concern of choosing Vibe Media as my distributor is that they do already produce Vibe Magazine in America. This means that the level of competition will potentially increase – because they are both of the same genre and intended for the same audience. Which could also potentially increase confusion – because both magazines are expensive and although they have disposable income it varies between magazines.  One way of combating this issue is by making sure that that I solely effective appeal to British audience. Through including segments such as introducing new artists (which is what I did with the issue I produced), British festivals such as Wireless Festival and tour dates that are around the UK.

Overall, I feel that combating the issue of not having a British distributor that distributes R&B music magazines already, leading to me pairing with an American distributor will lead to an increase in the R&B music magazine industry and will allow my magazine to be distributed effectively, capitalising on the lack of competition here in the UK.