Media Niche: Hip-Hop in Australia

For Media Ethnographies (BCM241), we are required to begin exploring a media niche that we have interest and experience in. There are several media niches I immerse myself in but the one I find myself interacting with daily, is Hip-Hop in Australia.

Hip-Hop has been something I’ve enjoyed as a consumer since a young age and in particular, Hip-Hop in Australia is something I’ve followed for almost ten years. Since the start of the year, I have been working as a journalist and curator for AUD’$, an independent media network that has been reporting on Hip-Hop in Australia for over four years.

The idea of Australian Hip-Hop is young, beginning when Hilltop Hoods found success with their debut album The Calling in 2003. Throughout the 2000s and into the early 2010s, the genre became accustomed to a sound referred to as ‘skip hop’ (Marsland, 2015). It wasn’t until the mid-2010s when Hip-Hop in Australia began to progress into the diverse and constantly growing sound that we hear today. It’s hard to confine all the Australian artists into a bubble of Australian Hip-Hop when the sub-genres and calibre of artists continue to push boundaries and break this mould. For now, Hip-Hop in Australia is a relatively small circle, but the reason this media niche should interest you is because within the the next ten years, Australia’s rap scene will make a serious name for itself in the international market.

Unlike some other media niches, Hip-Hop in Australia lives off line but the obvious platforms that the niche exists online is Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and AudioMack. Additionally, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook home many media networks and consumers that are all a part of the cultural discussion. One platform that includes both the music and discussion, is YouTube. There are several YouTubers who make reaction videos and interviews that are at the forefront of the cultural discussion and play key roles in the media niche similar to the artist themselves.

Ethnography places a strong emphasis on culture and as an ethnographer, it is my responsibility to describe, analyse and interpret the different social realities of cultural members and the communication activities that occur (Daymon & Holloway, 2011). For the ethnographic study of Hip-Hop in Australia, I believe it would be best to apply both a conventional ethnography but also an auto-ethnography by ‘peeling back multiple layers of consciousness, thoughts, feelings and beliefs’ (Boyle & Parry, 2007). An ethnographic investigation would be beneficial to me as both a researcher and a worker in this field. I will be able to gain a deeper insight of the consumers, the content and the culture of this niche. By doing so, I will be able to adjust my own content of journalistic writing and the marketing of my content to better reach and understand my target audience (Miller, 2016). It could also potentially improve my role as a journalist in broadening this media niche.

While this topic is quite large, next week’s blog will begin to narrow this field by identifying some of the key players in the culture today.

Frank Tremain.

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Research Reflection

During the semester, I researched why students listened to music while studying and what the most popular genre is. This is a well-researched topic from academics across the world and the starting point of my research began by looking at the Mozart Effect. This was a study that I was familiar with, but by investigating further into it, and the studies that followed, I recognised that there were two angles I could take.

The first angle could focus on the scientific side, looking at the cognitive benefits that music has on us while studying. However, I decided to steer away from this and look at how music makes students feel while studying and how by better understanding this, we can improve our productivity.

Approaching my primary research, I began with a survey I made on Google Forms and distributed it through Twitter. It consisted of 12 questions, collecting quantitative and qualitative from the 70 respondents were answered. I would’ve liked to have received more answers and I could have achieved this by being more interactive with the Hong Kong BCM210 class. That being said, I was pretty active on Twitter and this gained responses from 35% of the entire BCM212 cohort.

Originally, I was going to conduct a content analysis on the study playlists of BCM212 students. After my survey though, only 12 participants had linked their own playlists indicating that people use others more than creating their own. Due to the previously stated and time constraints, I decided against the content analysis and thought of the idea to create a study playlist. This playlist would be a collaborative effort that would act as an experiment for students to listen and determine what music works best for them.

This was a topic that I am extremely passionate about and I was excited to research it. I had previous experience in ethical research so I did not find that aspect too challenging, however, what I did find difficult was narrowing my subject matter. I divided my research project into three sections: Why do students listen to music?, what is the most popular genre? and is there a solution? This allowed me to highlight important findings, compare these to secondary sources and present a possible solution.

I’m satisfied with my work throughout this semester and while I recognise the ways in which I could have improved my work, I think I created a well-written and useful piece of academic writing that has helped me learn about my studying habits and will hopefully be of benefit to those who read it.

Frank Tremain.