MCS 353/INTC 307

Music Industries and Culture

 

Dr. Daniel Makagon

College of Communication                                                                 

Office: 14 E Jackson, #1828   (temporary SAC 597)             

Office Hours: M 9:00-10:00 and by appointment

Phone: (312) 362-7979                                              

e-mail: dmakagon@depaul.edu

http://condor.depaul.edu/~dmakagon/


Course Description and Objectives

 

Music has remained one of the most important forms of cultural production and sites of media consumption, serving a variety of purposes for individuals and groups. Some consider music to be an outlet for personal expression, others use music as a resource to connect with people who share aesthetic interests, and others are attracted to music as a (creative) source for profit. The individual interests in and uses for music extend to broader cultural and economic features of music. That is, music is a powerful form of symbolic action that is both a site for cultural exchange and a complex industry that is simultaneously influenced by and seeking to shape that cultural experience.

 

This course critically examines music as a form of cultural communication and as a media industry. We will be guided by two larger learning goals: (1) To understand how some individuals seek to create and share music and how others use music as a form of collective fandom. (2) To critically engage different features of the music industry in an effort to develop a deeper understanding of this unique media business.


Required Texts

 

All course readings are accessible via a password protected Web site. You are required to complete the reading assignments before you attend class. This will lead to more fruitful discussion.

 

http://condor.depaul.edu/~dmakagon/student/


Course Assignments

 

Participation                                        05%                 ____(pts.) X .05 = ______

Music Culture Presentation                 05%                 ____(pts.) X .05 = ______

Industry Update Presentation              05%                 ____(pts.) X .05 = ______

On-line Reading Quizzes                    25%                 ____(pts.) X .25 = ______

Mid-term Culture Paper (4-6 pages)   30%                 ____(pts.) X .30 = ______

Final Industries Paper (4-6 pages)      30%                 ____(pts.) X .30 = ______

 

 

                                                                                    Final Grade= ____________

 


Reading Quizzes

 

Weekly reading quizzes will allow me to gauge how well you understand the arguments made in the readings. Unlike your papers, presentations, and class discussion, where I am interested in your opinions about the issues and the strength of the writer's argument(s), the quizzes are designed for you to demonstrate your understanding of the course readings. Reading quizzes will cover assigned materials for that week only. You must take the on-line quiz in D2L by 5:30 PM each Tuesday night. Please note that the quiz will be made available at 5:30 PM on Monday night and will close at 5:30 PM on Tuesday evening. If you choose to take the quiz at the last minute and have technical problems or run out of time, I won't be able to do anything for you. Also, please use the on-line discussion forum to ask questions about issues, concepts, terms, ideas, etc. that you do not understand in the reading. I will answer questions up until 5:30 PM on Monday each week. In general, each quiz will feature 8-10 questions and you will have 10 minutes to take the quiz. We will not have quizzes on days when there are not assigned readings. Moreover, each reading quiz will only feature questions about that week's assigned readings; once we finish a reading, we will likely continue to discuss the issues in class but we will not be quizzed on a reading beyond the initial quiz for that reading.

 

Music Culture and Industry Update Presentations

 

The goal of this assignment is to offer each student an opportunity to share with the class some historical and/or contemporary features of music culture and industry practices. The first presentation will focus on a topic that would fall under a broader heading of music culture (i.e., your presentation will cover some feature of music that helps us understand an aesthetic and/or social experience). You will not focus on industry practices, or the business of music, in this first presentation. The second presentation will focus on music industry practices (i.e., the business of music). Each presentation should take 2-3 minutes. I will send around a sign-up sheet the week before each presentation date, which will help me group presentations around similar topics or themes. Each presenter will submit 4 abstracts for each presentation. A sample abstract can be found in the folder where you access course readings. Your abstracts will summarize sources that inform your presentation and can summarize a range of credible popular, academic, and industry sources. Culture presentations will occur on February 7. Industry presentations will occur on March 6.

 

Presentations will be graded based on your ability to find and present unique information about your subject from high quality sources, to write clear abstracts that foreground central issues, to present your topic to the class in a way that leaves us feeling more informed about the subject and to do so within the assigned timeframe (i.e., your presentation is smart and tight).

 

Sample Topics might include, but are not limited to: Culture—music festivals, changing music genres, gender/race/sexuality and music, fandom, music and art, live music experiences, music and censorship, music and lifestyle. Industry—music consumption technologies, music production technologies, piracy, distribution, radio, night clubs/live music/touring businesses, music promotion, music industry executives, contracts and royalties. 

 

 

Mid-term Music Culture Paper

 

This 4-6 page assignment asks you to make an 8 song mix and use that mix as a foundation to simultaneously reflect on the music in that mix and course readings from the first half of the class. Research process: (1) Identify 8 songs that say something about your life and experiences or that speak to you in some meaningful way. (2) Identify some issues, concepts, or themes that foreground how music functions a site of culture/as a cultural experience. (3) Use the overall meaning of your mix and those issues, concepts, or themes from the course readings as a foundation for a thesis. (4) Advance an argument about the culture of music through an analysis of the meaning of the songs and the course readings.  There is not one way to write this paper; the paper is purposefully open-ended because I want you to follow the threads that you find interesting and important. With that said, your paper needs to (A) feature some review of the course literature and the music to help frame your argument and (B) advance an argument about the issue(s). Note: I am not asking your to write a memoir or autobiography; rather, I am asking you to select songs that are meaningful to you because you can examine a range of cultural contexts for those songs given your interest in those songs and your experience with those songs. Writing in first person is fine, and writing about some connections among your life and those songs is fine; however, your life and experience with those songs should lead to something bigger about how people use, experience, and share music. This last part is what matters for this paper. A hard copy of this paper is due at 6:00PM on January 31.  You can send me your music in two different ways: (1) you can copy and paste youtube links into the body of an email or a Word, RTF, or TXT document and send that email or document to me. (2) You can use some other social media sites to compile a playlist and send me that link (e.g., Lastfm, myspace, maybe http://mixtape.me/, youtube). Note: I"m not on Facebook so that is only an option if the mix is public.

 

All papers must be typed, paginated, double-spaced throughout the entire essay, and use a consistent style (e.g., Chicago, MLA, or APA). See the writing handout in the folder where you access our course readings for more information about my grading criteria, general writing expectations, and writing tips.

 

Visit the Writing Center for assistance with your writing: http://condor.depaul.edu/writing/

The Writing Center has offices on the LPC and Loop campuses with outposts in the libraries on both campuses.

 

 

Final

 

This 4-6 page paper asks you to develop an argument about the immediate future of the music industry. Using the course readings, notes from course lectures, and notes from talks by our guest speakers, you will develop a plan to reinvigorate the music industry. Your paper should advance a thesis and then explicate that thesis vis--vis an argument that grounds claims with support from course materials. This paper is due by email on March 13 at 6 PM.

 

All papers must be typed, paginated, double-spaced throughout the entire essay, and use a consistent style (e.g., Chicago, MLA, or APA). See the writing handout in the folder where you access our course readings for more information about my grading criteria, general writing expectations, and writing tips.

 

Visit the Writing Center for assistance with your writing: http://condor.depaul.edu/writing/

The Writing Center has offices on the LPC and Loop campuses with outposts in the libraries on both campuses.


Course Policies

 

Promptness is expected as a general rule. If you are consistently late to class, your grade will be negatively affected. Leaving before the class ends or arriving more than 10 minutes late is an absence.

 

Attendance and Active Participation are expected and required. You are allowed one absence in this class. That absence will need to be excused if you are absent on a date when an assignment is due (e.g., you have documentation about a medical illness/emergency, legal issue/civic responsibility, or are missing because of an official DePaul function). If you miss more than one class session, even if the second absence is excused, you will receive an "F" in the class. Missing this many class sessions (20% of the term) undermines the integrity of the classroom experience. If you miss this much class because of illness or a family emergency, you should meet with the Dean of Students to discuss withdrawal options. Participation grades are factored based on quantity and quality of contributions to course discussions, asking questions about readings and class materials, and helping to foster lively and thoughtful discussion.

 

All assignments are due on assigned days and in class. There will be NO MAKE-UPS. Documented illness or documented emergencies are the only exceptions to this policy. Changes in work schedules, personal celebrations (e.g., birthdays), assignments due in other classes, car problems/EL congestion, etc. are NOT considered to be legitimate reasons for missing deadlines or class meetings. If you have an excused absence for a class session when you would turn in an assignment then you can submit the assignment the next date you attend class. (Note: If you will be missing a class because of a religious holiday, let me know in writing at least two weeks before the holiday so we can make arrangements to make up missed work.)

 

Students with disabilities should provide documentation from the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) #370, Student Center, LPC, (773) 325-1677.

 

Cellular Phones: If you have a cellular phone or pager, turn it off or set it to vibrate, and keep it in your backpack or purse. All cell phones must be put away during the class session. I will confiscate cellular phones for the remainder of the class session if you are sending or reading text messages or using your phone to check email/surf the Internet.

 

E-mail: I will regularly send e-mail announcements to the class. You need to (1) make sure your preferred email address in Campus Connect is the address you check regularly so messages do not bounce back and (2) make sure my email addresses will pass through your spam filter.

 

Plagiarism

 

We have often found that plagiarism becomes tempting if students are feeling pressured. Remember, when in doubt quote. If you are quoting someone else in your presentation, you need to clearly identify the information as a quote and the source. Similarly, when paraphrasing, you should clearly identify your source. If you are quoting somebody directly in your paper then you need to list the information within quotation marks and cite a page number. If you are paraphrasing then you need to cite the person and a page number. Never copy and paste entire documents into your paper and do not quote others to the point where your ideas become indistinguishable from your source's ideas. There is no reason to plagiarize given the resources available to you (e.g., opportunities to meet with us; coaches in the writing center; my handout on writing for the class; and DePaul's policy on academic integrity, which can be found at http://academicintegrity.depaul.edu/). If you do plagiarize, you will automatically receive a grade of "F" in this class. Moreover, the Academic Affairs office will be contacted.


Grade Scale

93-100 A, 90-92 A-, 88-89 B+, 83-87 B, 80-82 B-, 78-79 C+, 73-77 C, 70-72 C-, 60-69 D, 0-59 F

(I do not assign incompletes)