Research paper and Semester project progress

I have not taken direct action in beginning either my project or paper but am still gathering information and ideas.  Today’s class was a big help in helping me move the process forward and get out of the writer’s block I had been experiencing.

As far as my research paper goes, I am researching the theory of the long tail and its relation to the music industry.  The original theory states that with the advent of digital media and the world wide web, niche artists have become more accesible due to the distribution of information throughout broader markets.  Yet after conducting research I have read many articles from music bloggers discussing how they think this is BS and a myth.  Specifically, that the ‘superstar’ artists still control the indusry, with the top 1% of artists collecting over three-quarters of total revenue.  Also, with the rise of Spotify and the search bar, listeners have become overwhelmed with the amount of choices available to them and stick to what is placed in front of their eyes, which are the superstars.  With this, it places me at a crossroads, unable to choose which voice to listen to and agree on a stance because of high amount of mixed views I find on the internet.  What I am going to do to solve this is somehow include both views and consider all arguments to this position to get a broad reflection.  I will then tie in the end what I believe and and my stance on the issue.

For my semester project, I was also unsure the route I would take until todays class which helped guide me.  I was thinking about creating a podcast of some sort, but then I thought about wanting to take advantage of my radio show, which could connect to a multimedia project.  After suggestions from the class and Professor Proctor, I decided I would take his idea about going live on Facebook during my show, where I will interact with viewers and they will ask me questions of any kind, and I will try to answer them to my best ability.  I will spontaneously answer on-air during real time, which would test my abilities to responding to pressure, while remaining cool, collective, and entertaining.

For the other part of the semester project, I am currently working on the “topics discussed in class” tab.  I am not experienced with web design or restructuring so I am a bit overwhelmed by the process.  I am open to being of assistance to any other issues on the blog that need to be addressed.  I only require a little guidance and communication from my classmates so they can let me know how I can help in any way possible.  Other than that, I like what my classmates have done so far in revamping the blog and I dont want to alter anything unless I have permission to do so.

That is what I have planned thus far in my research paper and semester project.  I am willing to take suggestions of any kind for anyone who thinks I can improve or change these ideas.  I can take constructive critism, so if anyone has something to share, lay it on me! It will be interesting to see how everybody’s semester projects and my own turn out in the near future.

Blake Hagerman

Guerilla Marketing and Desensitization

About a month ago we talked a little bit about guerilla marketing schemes done by major corporations and others.  I wanted to do a little more research on the topic and delve into this phenomenon.  Guerilla marketing can be defined as an “advertisement strategy concept designed for businesses to promote their products or services in an unconventional way with little budget to spend.”  What these marketers try to do is try to capture the attention of the crowd on a personal and memorable level.  Examples of this might be seeing an ad for Coca Cola on the side of a bus, or an ad for a law firm on a park bench.  Everywhere you look, there are advertisements in places that we might not even expect.  Especially in the modern digital media era, there are ads all over our interface.  If we log into Facebook we wll see ads on the sidebar or promotions from other people and companies on our main feed.  In today’s day in age, there is almost no escape for advertisement espcially when we go out in to public.

But how effective are these ads? Do they still influence the crowd in the same way they used to?  I believe that with the oversaturation of ads in society, people have become desensitized to them.  In other words, people just see ads as a part of their daily life and they stroll on past them as if they are meaningless.  If humans took notice to every ad that came across their face on a daily basis this would be sensory overload and would be too much for our brains to process.  What many ad agencies might assume is the magic bullet theory, which is that we view an ad and are immediately influenced by its message so passionately that we immediately go and purchase that product.  With a small portion of the populuation who are not regularly exposed to media presense may be more subject to this.  However, for most people, just because you see a bilboard on the street for discounted shoes at DSW does not mean you will drop what you are doing, and run to buy those shoes.

With the advent of what I will call ‘over-advertising’ I believe this has created a downward trend in how effective ads really are.  I think major companies should cut back spending on advertisements and put those funds towards a more useful direction, like stopping global warming. Do it for the polar bears.

Blake Hagerman

Our Modern Day Ability to Create

In the past, we have been only consumers of certain types of media, i.e there were people who made television and people who watched television.  And although this still holds true for many individuals to this day, we now live in a world where people can consume as well as produce at their own leisure thanks to our modern digital landscape.

With the aid of various social media platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and many others, we can freely post what we want for many others to see so that they can then consume our content.  Even if we may not realize it, we are all producers in some way, shape of form, where we are constantly building our own brands and online image.

Things like filmmaking used to be restricted by an exclusive crowd of people were involved in the ‘Hollywood movie-making community’.  Today, everybody yields the ability to create content.  Something that almost every person in the world owns today is a phone, which most have the ability to record videos, and take pictures.  This is an important factor in our modern ability to create media that did not exist in the past.  The once exclusive Hollywood filmmaking community is now open to the public.

Youtube is a great example of this, as it allows you can post large beta media files onto the platform, which opens up the amount you can do as a content creator.  You don’t need to be signed by a label, or have a contract to be able to post onto Youtube. And if you really are talented enough, people will find you, they will like you, and you will become famous.  This is a notion that was almost unheard of in past years.  There are countless examples of Youtube stars that blew up in pop culture strictly from becoming Youtube famous.

In today’s world, if you work hard enough, and know how to get your name out there for the world to see your work, we all have the ability to.  All you have to do is get your foot in the door, and the public eye will do the rest.

Blake Hagerman

Research paper sources

So far in my research I have developed a better understanding of the long tail theory as a whole and how it is relevant in the music industry.  Althought the many articles I have come across in my search so far have been somewhat conflicting.  Some bloggers say that the effects of the long tail have benefited independent artists, while others say it is hurting them.  According to a chunk of articles I read, 77% of total revenue in the music industry comes from the top 1% of big-name artists alone. Even with our modern ability to search for music infinitely has not changed people’s taste of sticking with the artists who are a part of the biggest labels.

The music industry has become a “superstar economy” in which the big artists saturate the market.  In the original theory explaining how the long tail would be benefitial for independent arstists, and even out the distritbution (in some cases it has) but mostly it has hindered small artists moreso.

This is because with the rise of digital content it has caused the superstar’s to thrive because of the lack of ‘front end display’ on digital devices.  Also, the fact that listeners are overwhelmed by the “tyranny of choice”, having too many options in which there are endless possibilities of new music to discover.  This theory states that excessive choice actually hinders discovery.

However, all these sources have been on my first two pages of google, and I plan to continue to dig deeper to find more information about this conflicting idea.

Blake Hagerman



Radio- Why it is Still a Force in Society (podcast presentation)


I’m a radio guy.  I love listening while i’m driving, or even if i’m in my room.  I’m a member of MVL Radio and that is something I value highly.  Being on the radio gives you a certain appreciation for the big names on the big name stations, and the work that they do.  Maybe I’m a nerd for radio, or maybe I just recognize the value that I believe it still holds in our society.

With the rise of music sharing apps such as Spotify, Sound Cloud, Pandora and Apple Music, the tendency for people to plug their phones into the aux and neglect FM radio is more common.  Thus, the radio has experienced a decline in viewing.  Although there is the convenience and freedom of these popular apps, (and I am a victim myself, being a big Spotify user) I believe that listening to the radio can still offer us some postive things, and that we should not cut the radio out of our lives entirely.

My favorite station is 107.1 The Peak, a Westchester based station.  Being an avid radio listener, I have never been exposed to a station like the Peak.  The station has insprired me to potentially puruse a career in radio broadcasting, as well as write this blog post.  The peak is a freeform station, playing varieties of tasteful music from the past and present, offering a wide range of music to multiple demographics.  My favorite DJ is Jimmy Fink, who hosts “The homestretch” which plays 3-6pm on weekdays allowing listeners to induldge in world class rock for their commute home from work.  He also hosts “The 10 at 10” which is 10 songs from one year in history at 10am on weekdays.  He discusses the social, political, and musical highlights of that particular year and explains how the 10 songs chosen are quintessential of that time period.  The Peak truly is a unique listening experience every time and I am impressed by the music selection and the presentation by the radio host’s.

Although some can say, why listen to the radio when I already have my favorite songs on my Spotify playlist? Fair point… Although for a music lover/listener like me, some times I enjoy stepping away from the constraints of a spotify playlist that I listen to over and over again.  At times I find pleasure in letting somebody else dicate my listening and allow me to discover new music and step out of my comfort zone.  Especially when listening to the Peak, you never know what you will hear.  Just the other day, I heard a classic from Neil Young, followed by a new hit from Foster the People.  By listening to the radio you have the opportunity to listen to new and different music that you may end up loving, instead of listening to that one same genre you might play all day long.

An overlook at radio as a whole, there are just certain things you can experience when listening to FM radio that spotify can not suffice.  The voice, the personality of the host, giving input and analysis of music that you may not be able to dissect yourself.  The sense of community built around radio; stations like The Peak love local artists and exposing them to the public eye.  This is not always something you can find on popular apps, and you just might miss something you’ll love.  You can learn things about the artists you listen you listen to, and the inspirations for their songwriting, which may just make you feel more connected to the music itself.  You can find out when that artist you just heard is playing live in the local area, and how the weather will be that afternoon.

For people like msyelf, I do not reguarly watch the news because I am not frequently watching the tv.  When I’m driving, the radio can offer me news updates and other important information that I may have not gotten the chance to discover on my own.

When listening to radio, it’s not always just about the music you hear, but about the voice that talks to you in between those songs.  Some may tune it out, and call it banter, but if you ever raise the volume just a bit to hear what they have to say, it could change your whole day.  That voice you hear over the speaker, for some, including myself, offers a sense of comfort when behind the wheel. It brings a feeling of normality to this crazy world, unlike the quiet, desolate void of a music sharing app that offers no voice, no feeling of companionship.

Music sharing apps, like Spotify, are GREAT, I won’t deny that.  However, I still truly believe there is a place for radio in this world, and that it’s time cannot be over yet.  The radio can offer the liveliness and personality that just our phones cannot, and I believe it is important to make time to include some FM radio stations in into our listening pattern.  Radio may have had a drought in past few years, yet I still have faith that radio can survive into the future, and grow stronger because of the voices who keep it alive.

Blake Hagerman

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Video Games- A Microcosm of Reality and Everyday Life

During the class discussion we brought up the discussion of video games, and why we as humans are so hooked.  From an external perspective, or from someone who does not play video games, you might ask, why perform tasks, or chores, in a game when you can be doing almost the same thing in real life? Some gamers might respond simply, “because it’s fun”.  But I believe there is a deeper subconscious reasoning behind our addiction.

For many, playing video games can act as a void, or an escape from the realities and pressures of real life.  When we experience stress, or consider deadlines or other tasks we need to complete, such an easy way to avoid these stressors is to simply begin playing a game.  When you play, your brain is completely locked in, focused on winning the game, as you control a charectar that depends on you to operate it.  All focuses are now on the game, in which you have entered the virtual reality that all senses are locked on to.

Gaming is like gambling.  You win one, you want to play more.  You lose one, you want to play again because last time wasn’t good enough.  This viscous cycle continues until we’ve realized four hours have passed and our eyes have been locked to the tv screen ever since.  For those outside the gaming circle, it can appear infantile and pointless.  Yet to a gamer, this lifestyle can mean so much more.  Gaming, can be expressed as a more fun, carefree spectacle of real life, and can be an escape from one’s self.  With the crazyness that life can bring, sometimes entering the hyperreal can be expressive as a hobby that people need to stay sane in the real world.  Other things such as knitting or gardending can be one’s escape from reality.

Yet video games make it so easy for people to get carried away in the cloud of virtual fun, and video game designers have become more talented in drawing in gamers to play more and more.  I believe video games can be a hobby for people who need to direct their brainwaves in another direction.  However, limiting the amount we play on a daily basis should be considered.  Everyone needs a break from reality by entering the hyperreal, yet we should not be so consumed in the hyperreal in which this becomes more prominent than our reality.

Blake Hagerman

The Juul Epidemic

Going off of a tangent we discussed in class when talking about effects of red wine and if it is really a benefit to your health or not, we got into the conversation of juul’s, vapes and E-cigs.  Some say red wine can be considered a “healthier alcohol alternative” compared to a beer.  Yet if that is your true concern, either don’r drink alcohol all together, or just eat a handful of grapes to get your daily dosage of resveratrol.  The same comparison can be made toward cigarettes vs. E-cigs.  Yes, they are a healthier alternative in that the E-cig delivers the nicotine without tobacco, burning, or carcinogen-laden smoke.  But if you are already a non-smoker, it is in your best interest just to stay away altogether.

The juul is a USB-shaped e-cigarette with multiple flavors such as fruit medley and creme brulee, and it is taking the youth population by storm.  Orginally produced with intent to be a safer alternative to cigarette smoking for adults, the juul has become a widespread trend among young adults and high school students.  With the sleek design, easy enough to carry in your pocket, tasty flavors and minimal byproduct so that litle amount of smoke is shown when exhaled, the juul is convenient for high school aged teenagers to bring whereever they go and even smoke indoors.  A large reason for this growing trend can be attributed to social media and meme culture.  Buzzfeed reports there are over 50,000 posts under the hashtag “juul” on instragram soley, not to mention endless tweets and youtube videos.

The epidemic is growing as such a vast rate that even high school administrators are beginning to crack down and contact concerned parents to put a hault on their kids near nicotine addiction.  Although the long term health affects of juul’s are still undetermined due to the fact that E-cigs are a relatively new trend, one point still rings true: that nicotine is still a heavily addicted substance, and one hit of juul can pack a heavy dose of that. The nicotine content per pod is equivalent to that of a whole pack of cigarettes.  For a teen especically who does not understand these risks behind the juul, they will be the ones to constantly take hit after hit, because of that lack of burning that a cigarette holds.  With this, an average teen will go through their juul pod a lot quicker and easier than it would take an average person to tackle a full pack of cigarettes.

A juul can cost between $35-50 and pods cost about $4 each, which is not a bad bargain to turn down, especially a high school student with limited funds.  Yet it is illegal for people under the age of 18 to buy e-cigarettes, although teens are always finding ways to get them, usually with the help of older friends, or taking it from their parents. According to the FDA, a recent report from the CDC found that e-cigarette use rose from 1.5% to 16% among high school students and from 0.6% to 5.3% among middle school students from 2011 to 2015; over 2 million high school and middle school students used e-cigarettes in 2016.  If I were a parent or high school teacher seeing those stats, it would alarm me to raise the awareness of the epidemic, and end this no good trend.

Although the juul has been said to be a healthy alternative to cigarette smoking does not mean that it is harmless in any way.  When smoking a juul, you still inhale a lot of chemicals, especially for the flavored pods.  This can still cause asthma and other harmful lung conditions.  Nicotine itself can act as a neurotoxin and alter brain chemistry, especially in the developing brains of teens and young adults.  Another important reason is that nicotine is a gateway drug, and once you become addicted enough, drugs like cocaine and heroin will appear more rewarding to your brain.

With this all being said, if you have never been a cigarette smoker, don’t start now.  Researchers are concerned with the fact that the amount of nicotine in juul’s is enough to cause teens to beomce addicted and may cause them to begin smoking real cigarettes which goes against its original purpose.  Even if a juul is tempting you with its pretty flavors and sleek design, do not conform to the trend and fall into peer pressure.  The juul can be a powerful tool in the future of weening adults off of cigarette addiction.  However, it can also reverse the direction by causing our future generations to re-enter this nasty habit and we start all over again from square one.

Blake Hagerman

Cop vs 18 yr old girl

During class today we watched the video of a cop aggressively pulling a girl off a train and reprimanding her after she was being insubordinate to the cop’s demands.  Who was truly in the wrong?  The cop certainly could have handled the situation more professionally with a level head, without aggression.  However, if the girl had immediately listened to the cop when asked to put her feet down, all would have been avoided.  Yet Americans view a video like this and their first reaction is to feel symapthy and remorse for the girl, as she is immediately viewed as the victim.  The cop, being a white male, committing acts of aggression towards a minority, is automatically viewed as the villain. Even if this is true (which very well may be the case) there is still alot about the situation that we do not know and can’t necesarily judge.

With viral videos, individuals do not begin to record until events escalate.  But what lead to the escalation that has people turning their heads? With the beginning left out,  it leaves the rest of the story open for interpretation based on how the events played out through the video.  Without the entire story, it truly is difficult to “assume” who really is in the wrong, although obvious video evidence may tell us otherwise.  The way we frame certain photos and videos can set the tone for whole story, and can skew our perception.  The captions at the bottom of the video could have been produced by somebody with bias and they have the ability to sway the opinion of the viewer.  Although we want to immediately say the cop is corrupt and the girl is the victim, we really just don’t know the entire series of events that occurred leading up to the incident, or anything else that may have occurred that the video missed.

The media has such a strong influence on how we percieve our external environment, and causes many to “assume” and make generalizations.  It also has the ability to skew the reality we percieve or think we percieve.    I say that you really don’t know the full story unless you were there.

Blake Hagerman

Partner Introduction: Katie DiBiccari

During the first class I had the pleasure of speaking to Katie.  From the outside you might not expect it, but Katie is very interested in gaming, specifically PC gaming.  This is something I found very intersting about her, as she did not immediately strike me as this type.  Katie is also very intersted in graphic design, and photography.  She told me that she would love to design video games as a career.  I think thats great; because if you’re interested in something, that’s the path you should follow.