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OCR AS G322 Section B: Institutions and Audiences | Teaching Music

Rob Miller | Monday September 12, 2016

Categories: A Level, OCR A Level, OCR AS, Key Concepts, Audience, Institutions, Music, Music Distribution, Music Industry, Music Promotion

Music is an audio-visual media industry studied in the same way as film, television and video games. Students need to have access to a range of case studies to draw upon, focusing in particular on one contemporary mainstream and one independent artist and also institutions.

This resource streamlines approaches, identifies past exam questions (with essay plan), recommends mainstream and independent case studies but also suggests a structure or platform in teaching the music industry.

One of the key skills in G322 is to switch from analysing representation in a TV Drama extract to formulating a coherent response to an industry question that references both institution and audience. Students need to know about global institutions like ‘the big three’ (Warners, Universal and Sony), mainstream and independent music production and music distribution platforms as much as they do about the music artist themselves. It is also worth noting at this point there will be no reference to music in the exam question as centres study a range of different media industries - questions need interpreting and mapping onto the music industry using specific terminology.

Universal Music Group for example are part of the oligopoly of music publishers that commercially dominate the industry. Universal are owned by French multinational media conglomerate Vivendi in the same way that most major film distributors are parent company owned. This allows for additional funding, synergy, marketing and merchandising opportunities that the independent sector cannot compete with.

Universal make a useful initial case study. Students can research artists signed to Universal but also to the many different record labels like Def Jam Recordings that distribute their music. Kanye West and Leona Lewis are both signed to this label for example. When starting to teach Section B, the platform of institution is also useful in developing discussions in class about digital...

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