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  • Writer's pictureAnshuman Arya

Unpacking the Phenomenon: How Gorillaz Navigate Convergence in the Music Industry





DATE: 25/01/2013



Technological Convergence in the Creative Media Industry has not just emerged over the last couple of decades, but it is the result of progressive development in each technological sphere of digital media over a longer period of time.

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, the phenomenon involving the

interlocking of computing and technological companies, telecommunications networks, and content providers from the publishing worlds of newspapers, magazines, music, radio, television, films, and entertainment software, is called Media Convergence.

It brings together the “three Cs”—computing, communications, and content-- that form its basis.

It all started taking shape in the 1960s and 1970s, and in 1979, Nicholas

Negroponte of MIT, looking for funding from executives for his research,

predicted that three spheres, namely “Broadcast and Motion Picture Industry,”

“Computer Industry,” and “Print and Publishing Industry” would overlap

completely by the year 2000.

To quote Pool from his groundbreaking book “The Technologies of Freedom”:

"The explanation for the current convergence between historically separated modes of communication lies in the ability of digital electronics. Conversation, theatre, news and text are all increasingly delivered electronically ... electronic technology is bringing all modes of communications into one grand system."

By the year 2000, the terms mentioned above had been chiselled into

"Interactive News," "Virtual Reality," "National Data Highway," "Info on

Demand" and "2-Way TV."

Such terms were coined through a revolution that was spreading fast across technologically competent nations at that time, involving massive technological and communications breakthroughs such as the omnipresent Internet, which has brought about a new, widespread expanse of content creation, consumption and distribution.

There have been quite a few examples in the music industry recently in which artists have used various formats and platforms to spread their message.

Bjork’s Biophillia, for instance, was partly recorded on the iPad and released in a series on Apps on the App Store, as a first ever app album.5 Beck is another example, who released a 20 song sheet music book called Song Reader in December 2012. These 20 songs can be played by piecing together the sheet music and then playing it through their website.

This new level of fan participation, interaction and immersion into an artist’s work, and how technology and digital media makes their work more accessible to the audience, is the focus of this paper, with the virtual band Gorillaz as a case study.


The Concept


The Apple Age



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