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The Business of Media in a Digital Age

The Business of Media in a Digital Age

Cultural and media products are often thought of in terms cultural consumption—that is, how people interact with the products of mass media and popular culture. This course examines the production of culture through examining how cultural goods, broadly defined, are made within changing social and economic contexts. We examine the products of “leisure, information, entertainment, media, and creativity” industries, which include traditional mass media as film, music, and publishing. But we’ll also look more broadly at how other industries use aspects of cultural production in the design, distribution, and marketing of their products. The focus of the course emphasizes how digital technologies change the market for media goods (like cds or song downloads) and media experiences (like concerts).

In this course, we focus on cultural production within a wide range industries like music, film, television and arts. We’ll learn how they are organized, how work in the industries is structured, and how products are distributed. What can we learn by comparing different kinds of media products and media production this way? How are media products unique and in what ways do they resemble other goods and services? What are the economic and social challenges of creating cultural products and how are those challenges solved in corporate media, independent media, and other non-profit institutions? How are new communication technologies changing how culture is made? These are a few of the questions that we will tackle together.

Students at the end of this course should be able to:

 Identify and describe cultural industries
 Analyze the similar dynamics facing the production of cultural products in different media
 Understand the social and economic conditions that shape the production of media products
 Analyze a particular media product using tools of cultural production approaches to media industries