Final Paper

Attached is my final paper on EDM if anyone is interested in reading it.

Music Industry EDM Paper



Leave a comment

Across an Invisible Line: A Conversation about Music and Torture

I find this week’s topic very interesting. Prior to the readings, I never thought of music as a form of torture. Thinking about it now, I can definitely remember times when I was bothered by music but I wouldn’t have gone the extra step of visualizing music as a legitimize form of torture. Everyone can think of that one song they really hate. It’s strange, yet makes sense that government entities use it in their torture routines. It was also interesting to find out there were different kinds of music torture: the use of music as torture in interrogations and the use of music as torture as a condition of detention that plays indefinitely. This article makes me realize how complex the use of music can be.

I always find it humorous how the government tries to word things to sound less horrible than they actually are. Instead of music torture it’s called “music treatment,” and the media does the exact same thing when they don’t want people to react negatively to what’s being said. There’s actually a term for this but I can’t remember it right now. An example would be using “company downsizing” rather than “cutting jobs.” A media example I remember was from hurricane Katrina on Yahoo news which they were using the word “find” when white storm victims took from grocery stores and the word “loot” for black storm victims.

The way people use words, even when describing the same action, changes how we interpret and receive the information. Another example is when Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher, chased away at gun point the Bureau of Land Management rangers who tried to confiscate 500 cattle on court order because Bundy has been illegally grazing his cattle on public land since 1993. Some news outlets and politicians crowned Bundy as a hero and a “patriot” for “standing up to the governement” to lessen the fact that what he’s doing is illegal. In many ways, Bundy constrasts the media image of the “welfare queen”, who are both “mooching” of the government but only one is demonized despite being within the law.

On another note, the Invisible Line article talks about the use of Barney and Christina Aguilera as torture and how using these examples as the face of music torture makes it seem like a joke or no big deal. The scholar interviewed argues that when you do that people get a “sense of familiarity with the particular choice of music” and “mislead [them] into feeling that [they] can identify with the person subjected to the technique, and say to [themself], on a completely imaginary level” if I can take it, why can’t others? Even though I myself found these examples humorous, I can’t imagine why people would think blaring music would not be torturous, no matter what’s being played. And often times music torture is done in combination with other torture practices, making the songs torturous by association because now the people subject to the torture will think about their horrible experience whenever they hear of that song as a reaction.

Leave a comment

Sounds like the Mall of America

“In places like the mall of America, music has become a form of architecture” (23 Stern). The fact that some consumers are unaware that music has become a strategy for marketing to consumers is alarming. Music in stores are not only used to promote the brand’s image but is used to draw in clientele. In Sterne’s piece, he mentions music as a form of architecture. It is found in every part of the quintessential mall. Sterne uses the word architecture because it has become a staple part in the marketing of every single store.

Consumers may not be aware, but the music in stores is just one way the marketing team at many retail companies are trying to influence your purchase. The music influences your mood and how long you would stay inside a particular store. “…it not only divide space, but also coordinates the relations among subdivision”(31 Sterne). The way stores are positioned are all part of a marketing plan. Along with the music, store position themselves next to other store similar in demographic and psychographics.

Its actually really scary how much marketing teams in stores track our movements and try to analyze what we do to get a larger number in sales. I have heard that many cameras in stores are not there just to prevent theft but to track our movements so that marketing teams are able to see what installation, sale, or product gets the most foot traffic.


Night Club Royale

In the 2013 New Yorker article, Josh Eells describes the growing trend of EDM nightclubs in Las Vegas. He goes in depth with the company Wynn, currently holding the top DJ’s under contract so they could perform in their chain of venues. Eells’ title of Night Club Royale is very fitting since Wynn is trying to capitalize on the EDM club scene as long as they possibly can. It is a race to see who is able to get the hottest upcoming DJ’s under contract to bring up their profits in a slowly closing market. Since Wynn already has 7 out of the top 10 DJ’s of 2013, it is safe to say that they have monopolized on the EDM trend. They have even been so creative as to start an EDM inspired restaurant in hopes of prolonging the popularity of EDM.

Although EDM has been (from my knowledge) popular for the last 7 or so years, it is funny how the once underground subculture has grown to being so commercially popular. With E-zoo and Electric Daisy Carnival having mass gatherings multiple times a year in various places it is crazy to think that a few years prior, this was almost non existent from the mainstream. The trend of EDM, whether it may be in the form of multiple day festivals, EDM themed clubs, or songs just broadcasted on the mainstream radio; the EDM genre has become widely mainstream.

Just as the article states, the Vegas clubs are trying to milk this trend for as long as they possibly could. I feel as if they have the right mindset. It is a matter of time before these club goers will feel that EDM has become too mainstream and start straying to something that boosts their cultural capital higher.


Leave a comment


I am revisiting this article, since it gives more insight to my final research paper. Prior to reading Gillian Fran’s piece on Disco, I never associated the underground gay subculture with this particular music genre. The things that came to mind were studio 54 and Saturday Night Fever. By the end of Frank’s piece, Discophobia, Frank illuminates us with the history behind Disco and it’s influential gay history. By the end of the 1970’s the Disco era had already been dwindling down. The records of this seem unlikely being that Disco was so popular the years prior. The downfall of Disco was due to the political intervention against gay subculture.

The hidden agenda in regards to political intervention is categorized with the later part of the disco era. Frank often summarizes that, “through a close reading of anti-disco discourses which frame disco as queer, gender transgressive, elitist, and socially threatening, it is clear that disco music declined because of anti-gay prejudice and because of the opportunism of radio promoters” (280 Frank). This seems is the catalyst behind the downfall of the Disco era. Because of political influences, the genre of Disco was oppressed. The gay subculture was blamed, even though it was due to the prejudices of the people in power. The subculture that started this whole genre and trend were vilified and were made as the targets of many attacks.

If there were not any political intervention gay subculture would probably have broken into the mainstream by the early 1980’s. As Frank describes, with the introduction of the New Leftist political party, there were many supporters of both disco and the liberation of gay men.

1 Comment

Blog Post 4

Killing Me Softly With His Song:

An Initial Investigation Into The Use of Popular Music As A Tool of Oppression

     In this article by Martin Cloonan and Bruce Johnson they talk about how popular music is used as a way of oppression or a method of pain. I never really expected that popular music could be used as a tool to inflict pain until it was described in this article. “Examples of the inflicting of pain as incidental to the purpose of music might include a loud CD player in an adjacent flat or the irritating sound of a loud   walk-man on public transport.   At the extremes, this could involve being exposed to any music which the listener finds annoying or even torturous.” I understand how that can be agony to someone and definitely inflict pain.

Leave a comment

Response to “Macklemore’s Indie Rise Is A Simple White Lie”

The article about Macklemore states that the rumors about his music being in indie are incorrect. I agree with the article because he wouldn’t have gotten the exposure that he has had without the help of a major record company. I remember listening to his song,” Thrift Shop,” on the radio consistently; it was on again and again and it was even in the top of the billboard.

Even his music video was of top quality. It was a big budget production and it was shot and put together very well. I doubt that an independent artist could afford that kind of production.


Blog Post 3

“I’m From Rags To Riches”: The Death Of Jay-Z


In this article the author talks about how rapper Jay-z has continually been able to change and re-event himself all while still remaining true to where he started. I think it was genius how Jay-z used his retirement to change himself once again, all while causing everyone who’s invested in hip-hop to panic. I also admired how the article mentioned Jay-z being a hustler and he basically used his same hustle that he learned in the streets as he did in the corporate world. You can tell that everything in Jay-Z’s career is meticulously planned and it seems as if he does all the planning himself like there isn’t others in his team controlling his next move. Jay-z has now reached an iconic level in the hip-hop game where he has surpassed the norms one being his age. I don’t think any other rapper that started around Jay-z era has remain relevant in the sense that they can reach the same audience. When a Jay-z album drops teens as well as people forty plus are still rushing to download it


One thing that stuck out to me is when the author says, “Jay-z embodies the paradoxes that shape today’s hip-hop industry, the ways that it creates and also extracts from and reforms such identity.” I believe that was a true statement he is a perfect example of what hip-hop is and how it is always evolving. Jay-z has been able to keep an identity of that young poor hustler we once knew him as even though we know he has more money than he knows what to do with. He’s in a space that no matter what he talks about the fans he started with back when his first album dropped feel as if though they can still relate to him although he’s no longer talking about the same situations.


Louis Armstrong House Tour

Hey guys.  I went on the Louis Armstrong House Tour and wrote the following summary.  You guys should definitely make time in your schedules to check out the tour.  It was really cool and interesting.

Louis Armstrong House Tour


Response to Martin Cloonan “Killing Me Softly With His Song”

This entire paper was extremely interesting. The concept of viewing popular music as a form of pain or being accompanied with pain is something that I have never seen before. Most of the time music is associated with escape or comfort but as pain seemed strange. For me music is comforting and to think that there are people out there that might consider music as torture is quite sad.

One line really struck out to me when I was reading. “Every triumph achieved by music is at someone’s expense.” This line was eye opening. I have always known that there could have been underdogs or maybe even some mistreated producer or songwriter but I have never knew that it would be serious enough it see it as “someone’s expense”. No doubt this paper was very dark and chances are I will never look at popular music the same way again. Although it really does depend on the association it has on a person.

When Cloonan described the ancients using certain sound such as horns to strike fear into the area that they want to, it starts to make sense to me. If wasn’t because of the sound or the music it’s the association that one has with it. Such as if I was trapped in a room with just the song “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift for a year and then was released. Every time I hear that song I’m going to relate it to the time I was trapped in that room and it will bring me fear. Of course this will never happen but it could be a type of torture that can eventually cause someone to have a mental breakdown.

There is different types or pain and the article goes on about these types or pains as well as how music connects to it. This entire article has caused me to see music in a completely different way. It’s not only something to enjoy but also something to hurt someone by. Something that I enjoy can be painful to someone else. That in itself is already scary.