I am a music journalist. I am a radio presenter. I am an active fan of music. So am I part of the journalism industry? The radio industry? The writing industry? The entertainment industry? The performance industry? The music industry? It is difficult to distinguish between the differing industries where exactly I place myself within the industrial and cultural spheres. Negus (1992) suggests that the music recording industry – one of the three distinct segments Hesmondhalgh (2002) and Wikstrom (2009) argue the music industry is made up of, along with music licensing and live music – is concerned with developing global personalities which are communicated across multitudes of media platforms. Therefore, I could suggest that I am part of the music industry in the sense that I am part of the media which creates and ultimately disseminates the global personalities the recording industry is concerned in making.
However opinions on the relevance of music journalism as a sector within the music industry have changed in the past ten years, with scholars (Boyd, 2011; Rogers, 2013) suggesting that the role of the music journalist has been diminished, replaced, and made redundant by online social networks and technological innovation. Whilst social networks have indeed oversaturated the market in which music journalists operate within, creating a bottom-top hierarchal structure of music news compared to the traditional top-bottom format, Shuker (2016) argues that the music press still plays a major part in the process of selling music as an economic commodity, whilst simultaneously investing it with cultural significance, reiterating and updating Frith’s (1983) suggestion that music journalists are the ideological gatekeepers for everyone else.
Carlson (2015) suggests that the question of what makes someone a true journalist hangs in the air, arguing that struggles over journalism are often struggles over boundaries. Furthering this, he suggests that it is difficult to answer who counts as a journalist, what counts as journalism, what is appropriate journalistic behaviour, and where the lines should be crossed. It is at this junction that I suggest that the role of the music journalist is still of significance despite its inability to be clearly defined, labelled, and placed within a particular industry and sphere. I would argue that I constitute as a journalist in the journalism industry who works within the music industry, as if participating in the running of a cultural sphere through another.
Negus, K. (1999). Music genres and corporate cultures. 1st ed. London: Routledge.
Hesmondhalgh, D. (2002). The cultural industries. 1st ed. London: SAGE.
Wikström, P. (2009). The Music Industry: Music in the Cloud. 1st ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Rogers, J. (2013). The Death and Life of the Music Industry in the Digital Age. 1st ed. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Boyd, B. (2011), ‘‘Music hacks playing catch-up with technological revolution’’, The Ticket supplement, The Irish Times, 4 February.
Shuker, R. (2016). Understanding Popular Music Culture. 5th ed. London: Routledge.
Frith, S. (1983). Sound Effects: Youth, Leisure and the Politics of Rock. 1st ed. New York: Pantheon Books.
Carlson, M. (2015). Introduction: The Many Boundaries of Journalism. In: M. Carlson and S. Lewis, ed., Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation, 1st ed. London: Routledge.