This illustrative example works around the material explored in the very first session on this module, and is designed to provide you with some ideas about how to approach this piece of assessment.
‘Gangnam Style’, by the South Korean performer Psy, was released in July 2012. It was a worldwide hit, reaching number one in the music chart in more than 30 different countries. The video of it has been viewed more than a billion times on YouTube, and is now the site’s most viewed video of all time. Here, I will locate ‘Gangnam Style’ in relation to the circuit of culture, identifying a range of issues as I proceed.
In terms of production, it is useful to begin by focusing on Psy’s single in relation to some of the debates about globalisation, and the idea that we are increasingly able to access cultural products from distant and disparate places around the world. One argument about the nature of cultural production today suggests that the process of globalisation has left us with a progressively uniform culture across the world. This argument would point to the increasing global dominance of the ‘Big Six’ US-based media corporations (General Electric, Walt Disney, News Corp, Time Warner, CBS and Viacom), and the fact that the processes of convergence and conglomeration seem to continue to increase their economic power. It would also point to the fact that people from all around the world are increasingly watching the same films (in 2005, for example, a quarter of the world’s box office was accounted for by just 10 Hollywood films (Screen Digest, 2006)) and listening to the same music (four record companies (Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal) are
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