Lecture Two: The Commerce of Art, The Art of Commerce [September 16, 2013]
The Business Podcast (September 16, 2013 Episode)
Fan fiction take popular characters and write explicit things about them
50 Shades of Grey is based on Twilight. The more explicit version. Money maker, poorly
o Changing it to a movie would not be good. People wouldn’t want to buy a ticket to
watch this since it is something read in private; culturally not good
Readings: Greenberg, Steve. 2012. “Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ at 30: How One Album Changed
the World” Billboard.com, Nov. 12.
Thriller ready to be released by 1982. Thriller label was under CBS.
Radio had a narrow target audience since majority of the market is white. MTV, the rising
radio network of the time, did not play black music
Afraid it wouldn’t sell well because it wouldn’t be played on the Top40 list
Pop music was genre agnostic; Critics evaluating music in the late 80s based on rock
MTV is “rockist” in its orientations – judged based on rock standards
To respond to this fragmented radio, Michael Jackson’s people made a music video with
top of the top choreographer; the thriller video is 15 mins long. They included Paul
McCarthy to get on white radio.
Without thriller MTV wouldn’t have showed black artist
Country music did not have any other genres to rely on, were independent, and so
Readings: Corse, Sarah M. 1995 “Nations and Novels: Cultural Politics and Literary Use.” Social
Is the reflection model sufficient in the types of novels that get released?
She doesn’t agree with the reflection model because she took high culture texts are
influenced by elites. High culture is different because it is a way for a country to enforce
their national identity – high variation. Popular novels have low variation
Media reflects society? US and Canadian society are different, but US and Canadian
taste in fiction is similar
Why does Canada and US have similar interests in books? Look at the industry, the
production of culture. Same novels are popular in US and Canada because of the
publishing houses. Canada was selling many US written books, just repackaged with a
The Production of Culture Perspective To know about cultural products and the media, look at the industry
If we want to know about changes we need to ask questions regarding
o Law & regulation
o Industry structure
o Organizational structure
o Occupational careers
i.e. Technology: Thriller due to radio, and organizational structure between rock and
i.e. Industry: Canadian publishing houses were licensing agents, it was the same industry
as the one in the US
The Golden Age of Hollywood (example)
Hollywood had a problem; Hollywood productions had huge production costs so they
made really good big budget movies, and a lot of crap ones. In a year, they would have 4
blockbusters and all other movies were crap.
Blackbooking was that the people who owned theatres also owned the studio. If you
wanted to see another movie it was owned by another studio so you would need to go to
another theatre. For example, a lot of theatres wanted to show the Wizard of Ox so the
studio would force theatre to also show the less popular movies from the studio.
Technology: The golden age of Hollywood was when 80% of Americans went to 1 movie
a week. By 1950s that dropped to 1 in 8 Americans. The change was television.
Television was a new technology that was introduced.
Law and Regulation: Blackbooking was outlawed by the US saying if you owned a studio
you can’t own a theatre. So Hollywood couldn’t force a lot of movies onto the theatres.
Occupational careers and organization structure
o People lost their jobs since there was no guaranteed movie to make. Back in the
day, the contracts for actors were year round. So regardless of the quality or
budget of movie, studio owners would make sure stars would have a role to play,
explaining the abundance of crappy movies. But this change results in limited
roles since crappy movies would no longer fly. Contracts are now role-to-role