Music Media in Young People’s Everyday Lives

  1. How is music interlaced with our everyday lives in general?
  2. What has been the impact of the Internet in the way music is used by young people privately and publicly (and the way this intermingles)?

1. Since the 30s, music has been established in public spaces such as cinemas, shops, cafés and restaurants. The gramophone and later the radio brought about a rise of music in the home. The BBC aired dance band music, but not on Sundays. Stations such as Radio Luxembourg broadcast and also filled the gaps of Sundays and weekday mornings. Gramophones have been replaced by compact mobile devices such as iPods, taking music deeper into and far beyond the home. In the 21st century, music is available via TV channels, DVDs, karaoke equipment, the Internet (MP3 sharing sites, fan sites, music news and band sites, and interactive discussion forums like MySpace), phones (as ring-tones for example) and other mobile devices. With wireless broadcast services and compact recorded music formats we now have music even while we commute. Unless people choose to leave behind their digital devices and go bush for some time, it is almost impossible to escape music even just for one day.

2. As both consumers and producers of music, young people tend to be at the forefront of technological developments, particularly those involving the Internet. The MP3 compression algorithms made it possible for music files to be small enough to transmit over the Internet. Thus it was a pre-requisite before the Internet would make any impact on music usage. Napster creator Shawn Fanning was 19 at the time when he made the music file sharing service. Through Napster, people could download songs over the Internet for free. The IFPA prosecuted many individuals who downloaded high volumes of illegal music, mostly they were people under 40.

Distribution of music is a great use of the Internet. However, online sales of music were somewhat limited until Apple intervened with its iTunes program. With iPod products being taken up by youth throughout the developed world, Apple remains the #1 seller of music consumption.

the iTunes Music store sold nearly a fifth (18 percent) of its music to teens and also sports a healthy franchise in gift cards among that same demographic

(Marsal, 2008)

In addition to dedicated websites, major artists and bands have a MySpace home page to profile their latest music. World famous U2 have and we can find U2 on MySpace too. It is also thanks to the power of the message boards on websites like MySpace, that lesser known bands such as the Arctic Monkeys have become successful.

Arctic Monkeys are heralded as one of the first acts to come to the public attention via the Internet (fan-based sites rather than from the band), with commentators suggesting they represented the possibility of a change in the way in which new bands are promoted and marketed.

(“Arctic Monkeys – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,” n.d.)

Privately, individuals are being creative and mixing not just audio, but also video together to create music mash-ups. Here is an example of such a music video mash-up distributed by video sharing site YouTube.

YouTube views can also aid in bolstering an artist’s image and or popularity. This was the case for Chris Brown whose career was at a low point until his song Forever was danced to in the clip of J&K’s wedding. This video was watched on YouTube over 1 million times in the first week, resulting in some sales no doubt.

Social networking sites are popular amongst young people to say the least. Through sites that combine both music and social networking, people can share and play from play-lists, discover music related to one’s own tastes, find free MP3s to download, recommend and review music, follow their friends music tastes and keep up to date with their favourite artists. The latest incarnation to combine all these Internet technologies is Apple’s iTunes Ping service.

Finally, downloading music from the Internet is only half of the equation. Once files could be transferred from computers to modern mobile devices (with huge storage capacities) music could be consumed on mass in public and private contexts.(Sexton, 2008, p. 177)


Arctic Monkeys – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 4, 2010, from

Marsal, K. (2008, April 15). Amazon expanding digital music sales without eating at iTunes. AppleInsider. News, . Retrieved September 4, 2010, from

Sexton, J. (2008). Music, Sound and Multimedia: From the Live to the Virtual. Edinburgh University Press.