Friday, November 27, 2009

European Music Media

Eurovision is one of the longest running television shows in the world and the most popular music television show. It was planned after World War II and began in 1956 to encourage harmony between European countries but it based on competition. Each country goes through a national competition for an original song by national performers. The national winners then compete in several rounds. The audience during the final contest is 600 million.

See the history of Eurovision logos here.

Eurovision is followed as closely as a the World Cup. The chart below for Eurovision 2009 shows how the countries have voted, Norway earning votes from every country.

In his chapter "More Music Television Channels," Papathanassopoulos explains the dominant influence of MTV on the European music television market.

MTV launched in the United States on August 1, 1981 with “Video Killed the Radio Star." MTV was a corporate product created by Warner Cable. Using video clips and video jockey hosts it was a low cost channel benefitting from content rights and distribution gains paid by record companies. The company used two historic marketing campaigns. They interrupted each hour showing an astronaut planting the MTV logo on the moon announcing music news. They also invited top musicians to convince viewers to add the channel to more cable networks, shouting "I want my MTV." Read more about early MTV US.

By 1985, the record industry passed its peak and Viacom bought MTV with an intention to go global. They launched in Europe on August 1, 1987 with Dire Straights, “Money for Nothing/I Want My MTV.” The only prime competitor was Viva in Germany which was bought by MTV in 2004. MTVE works regionally Central, North etc, with multi-language VJs and commercials. The European Music Awards, EMA, brings all nations together but consistently awards US performers.

In a different look at European music media, Josephine Bosma studied the techno subculture in "12" as Medium." The article observes the connection between the introduction of the 12" single record and the DJ and club culture that emerged at the same time. Focusing on Germany, Bosma describes the techno subculture in the words of Dick Hebdige, “hiding in the light.” Techno was obvious to the world but somewhat missunderstood. Techno was an outsider youth genre that depended on the 12" which was loved by DJs as they could easily play one song and move to the next.

The best selling, most re-mixed 12" ever is New Order's Blue Monday. The song was originally released in 1983 but it was the re-lease in 1988, on 12" re-mastered by Quincy Jones, that then took the song to #3 in British charts and incited DJ's around the world.

Like sports, music has also combined with marketing and tourism. Music festivals generate considerable tourism. Founded in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival is the most important music event in Switzerland and one of the most respected in the world. Since the 1970's, the even has expanded to include other music guests such as Led Zepplin, Prince and many others.

Started in 1994, Sónar is an annual music festival each June in Barcelona. The festival is dedicated to "Advanced Music and Multimedia Art."

Also important are Europe's radio channels
France's Radio Nova, UK's Virgin Ragio, EU's Radio Free Europe and France Culture

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