Happy Birthday Media Bubble – our blog turns 9 years old! To coincide with the event, our editors picked out what they considered to be the best posts of the past few years – and discovered that many topics are still very relevant today! Below, you’ll hear from us about what’s been going on in the world and on our blog in 2019…
The state of the music industry in times of crisis
For several months now, especially at the beginning of the Corona crisis in Germany, the motto ‘Social Distancing’ has been dominating the lives of each and every one of us. But not only was our social interaction even brought to a standstill at times, but cultural life as well. Find out how the cultural scene – especially the music and events industry – is dealing with the effects of the crisis in this post.
Fake accounts and the streaming market
Music consumption via streaming services has increased rapidly in recent years. Algorithms record user behavior and create a picture of opinion that is supposed to be representative of the popularity of the artists. But what if this supposed opinion, expressed in the form of clicks, is "fake" and has been manipulated for economic purposes?
Online streaming: This is where the music plays!
Music streaming is no longer a novelty, at least since its legal introduction. Swedish company Spotify has seized the opportunity to offer music for free or at a low rental fee by launching online streaming. Find out why the streaming service is now also interested in the DNA of its users and what disadvantages music streaming could bring here.
YouTube: An opportunity for music newcomers
Justin Bieber made it – Charlie Puth too. For many, the YouTube platform is a springboard to a music career. But only if the community wants it.
The business of social media: The music industry is adapting!
A live concert, an appearance on television or on the radio: in the world of a musician there are many stages he may enter, but a very special one has been added in recent years, that of social media. It promises a more exclusive closeness between artists and the public, but behind it seems to be not only a social act, but a marketing strategy that has become mandatory for the music industry.
When suffering becomes happiness – The Eurovision Song Contest 2016
by Sonja Sartor
The hall is in the dark. The white dots of light in the audience alone give you an idea of how many people are gathered here. Then the first beat sounds and the spotlight is thrown on the artist. The crowd goes wild. The flags are waved joyfully again.
On 14. In May, it was that time again: Last year’s winner Sweden invited Europe to the 61st Eurovision Song Contest. Eurovision Song Contest to Stockholm. But this year the competition was even more gigantic, because for the first time the show was broadcasted to China and the USA. So a colorful, peaceful and rousing Song Contest went over the stage, which caused some surprise. Summaries of the ESC can be found online; media-bubble concentrates on the performance of the French candidate according to the series "Medienperspektiven à la francaise".
A glimmer of hope for France
With the first note, the young man in his black suit and white sneakers seems to have won over the hearts of the audience. Before 16.000 spectators in the hall and an estimated 100 million viewers in front of the TV screens, he sings his song as if he had never done anything else. "J’ai cherche" (Eng. I’ve been looking for) is a catchy and good mood spreading pop song, which fits perfectly to its performer.
The song is about being on the search for the right path. Amir, the Israeli-French singer with the infectious permanent smile, knows this feeling all too well. The trained dentist was missing something in his life. He wanted to wake up in the morning thinking he was happy in his job. Eventually he found what he was missing and made music his profession. Then, in 2014, it was presented in the French format of The Voice Known and finished in third place.
Amir has probably reached his musical peak this year with his participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. What is special about "J’ai cherche" is that it is sung in French as well as English. It is a well-known fact that the French people are very proud of their own language. It’s no surprise, then, that a French secretary of state, whose portfolio includes the Francophonie, took to Twitter to vent his outrage over the song in the run-up to the contest. It was "upsetting and unacceptable" that a song with an English chorus would represent France, said Andre Vallini.
Amir, who himself comes from a multicultural family, wanted to make a statement with the bilingualism: "The English phrases are really just so that the audience understands what I’m singing. They enable us to convince people of our message and of our song." After all, 80 percent of the text is French. France wants to project a positive image of the Grande Nation. It should show that despite all the terrible events of recent months, the country does not let itself get down and is optimistic about the future.
A Swedish milk boy, an Australian woman on a glitter box and an emotional lament song
Belgium got to open the competition with Laura Tesoro, a young woman with a wildly curly head and sequined costume. She gave a successful and energetic performance with her pop song. Powerful continued with typical ESC moments: half-naked drummers, singers in skin-tight, sparkling evening gowns, curious hairstyles and amazing lighting effects. Some performances, such as that of Frans, the Swedish boy next door, impressed the audience with their simplicity and unagitatedness. Australia, represented for the second time among the candidates, had sent a petite woman into the race. On a glittering cube Dami Im performed the song "Sound of Silence" and took the whole hall with her amazingly powerful and clear voice.
Jamala from Ukraine fell completely out of line with her song "1944. Dramatically and almost wailingly, she staged the story of the expulsion of the Crimean Tatars in this sadly beautiful lament. Russia considers the song politically motivated and sees it as a provocation in light of the 2014 annexation of Crimea. Political issue or not, Jamala managed to captivate the audience.
The German song, on the other hand, did not seem to be able to keep up with the competition. Solid and sympathetic, but unfortunately nothing more. It was different from "Ein bisschen Frieden", with which Nicole had brought the ESC trophy to Germany in 1982. At the time, the only 17-year-old had performed her song in seven languages.
Being understood was visibly important to most of the artists. Few songs used the national language, Austria had even chosen a completely French song. English was the language of the evening.
The new voting procedure, in which the points of the country juries and then those of the viewers are compiled, has deliberately created suspense right up to the last minute. Australia and the Ukraine had a neck-and-neck race until the last points were awarded and it was clear that the victory would go to the Ukraine.
Amir from France also has reason to celebrate. He ended up in sixth place with 257 points, which is France’s best finish since 2002. Although his home country has been waiting for another victory since 1977, the singer is sure after the show that he gave France back a piece of its pride with his performance.
The queen of blues is alive!
By Maya Morlock
The documentary "Janis – little girl blue" by director Amy J. Berg depicts the life of blues and rock legend Janis Joplin. The viewer accompanies her from her birth in Port Arthur in 1943 until her untimely death at the age of 27. Interviews from family members, friends and band members, personal letters from Joplin herself and the authentic footage of live performances and interviews provide a true-to-life portrayal of Joplin’s life and persona.
As she lives and breathes
At the beginning we see the adult Janis Joplin on stage, in the place where she feels comfortable and safe. In the spotlight she is someone. There she gives everything, there she is completely absorbed and lives every note, every word. The lyrics come over her lips as if they had just occurred to her, not a bit contrived. She radiates an energy that fascinates, that infects and you catch yourself bobbing along to the beat. Quickly everything around is forgotten, Joplin manages to captivate you with just a few lines, her presence and charisma are touching. One admires this energetic bundle of life and wonders: what happened, what went so terribly wrong??
The black sheep
Joplin is a bit of a brawler, always looking to make a ruckus. She is an atypical girl, not a beauty you would expect to see in a fashion magazine: strong and almost masculine features mark her face, with shaggy hair hanging down, neither straight nor curly. She has strong legs and is a little chubby around the hips. She is bullied at school, her first escape into the big wide world fails and her fiance betrays her. It’s probably a matter of interpretation, but the first half hour of the film alone paints a deeply wounded person who spends her life searching for recognition and love. Again and again the already scratched self-confidence is destroyed, for example when the young singer Joplin is elected ugliest man. Joplin catches herself, but drugs and alcohol are constant companions. Several times she tries to get clean, but she never really gets rid of it.
"Take another little piece of my heart, baby"
The film accompanies her during her time with the first band "Big Brother and the Holding Company" and also during her second project "Kozmic Blues". The music, of course, is not neglected alongside Joplin’s amazing life: live recordings of "Piece of my heart," for example, and also the genesis of Joplin’s greatest success, "Me and Bobby McGee," are shown. Her idols and sources of inspiration are given space; a cloud of blues, folk and rock’n roll mixes into a gigantic sound experience.
Do you know Janis?
Many mosaic-like pieces from interviews, the film material and the very personal letters from Janis to her parents gradually put together the puzzle of Joplin’s life and person. Incredibly vivid and at the same time respectful, Berg manages to portray a multifaceted existence in less than two hours. At the end you feel like you really know and understand Joplin, like you actually met her. Incredibly moving is this documentary, from which some love stories could learn something – incredibly authentic and finally inconsolably sad.
A tribute to a beautiful woman with a huge talent. I hardly dare to say it, but this film lets Janis live on a bit more. She lives in the minds of the young generation, who rediscover her before she could be forgotten.
Catcalls at the highest level
By Maya Morlock
At 29. October 2015 Xavier Giannoli’s new film comes to theaters. In the tragicomedy "Madame Marguerite or the art of the crooked tones", the Madame is played by Catherine Frot (Dinner for Spinners), it is superficially about a woman who sings completely crookedly and unrhythmically, but who does not know this because of the consistently positive response of her audience. But the film also has an extremely vulnerable and sentimental side.
Until the ears bleed
In the 1920s, Marguerite Dumont gives a benefit concert for war orphans in her small chateau near Paris. Some gifted musicians and singers perform, delicate and melodious pieces of classical music can be heard. As a climax Marguerite enters the stage. The well-known opening notes of the aria of the "Queen of the Night" from Mozart’s Magic Flute ring out. There the Queen of the Night sings of the repudiation of her daughter Pamina. "Hell’s revenge boils in my heart. Death and despair", sings Marguerite, but unfortunately not with the usual tones. Completely out of tune and wavering in rhythm, she struggles through the piece. At the dreaded high note and the coloratura, the blood almost freezes in the veins of the spectator, so unbearable is the dissonance. At the same time, the fervor with which the hostess shows off her non-existent singing talent is impressive.
The audience is not surprised, in the private club they already know the Madame and her yowling. Only the journalist Lucien Beaumont (Sylvain Dieuaide) and the spontaneous singer Hazel (France’s shooting star Christa Theret) are new. Despite the obnoxious croaking, the audience applauds and showers the hostess with praise – the newcomers are astonished. When journalist Lucien publishes a rave review the following day, Marguerite makes the decision to finally perform on a big stage in public. Her husband, who is ashamed of her, tries to prevent this at all costs.
The origin of the crooked sounds
The story is based on wealthy heiress Florence Foster Jenkins, who died in the 1940s in the U.S. On YouTube, you can listen to her distinctive and truthful interpretation of the Queen of the Night. She too was convinced of her singing quality, even though she couldn’t hit a note. Nevertheless, this film is by no means a biopic (this one is currently being shot in the USA), but develops its own plot line after the basis. For besides the amusement, the spectator finds a connection to the inner world of Marguerite and realizes that she is actually completely lonely. During her husband’s business trips, the only thing she has left is music and only through it she can express herself and get some attention from her husband. Because basically she just wants him to be proud of her.
The perfect cast
Catherine Frot is brilliant in her role as Marguerite: she is exuberant and cheerful, but retains a core of sadness even in these scenes. Her facial expressions speak volumes, so she has to say comparatively little to portray herself. Another eye-opener is the eccentric singing teacher Atos Pezzini (Michel Fau), who is supposed to prepare Marguerite for her big concert. He lives for the music, freezes to a pillar of salt when he hears the eerie song of the Madame for the first time and tries, despite all bad omens, to arm her in the best possible way for her project.
Even if the film has some lengths, it is worth seeing for any music lover. The richness of facets is pleasing, a simple comedy in which the Madame is degraded to a joke character would be too shallow and would remain below the possible potential. One laughs tears, covers one’s ears and suffers with the main character, who basically only wants to be loved for her own sake. One eagerly awaits the big appearance and hopes she will finally hit the notes.
Whether Marguerite Dumont’s ambition and will were worth it in the end, you can find out from the 29th minute. Follow October on the big screen. Three thumbs up from me in any case!
Photos: © 2015 Concorde Filmverleih GmbH
Media Bubble – the media-critical blog of students at the University of Tubingen, Germany. Thematically, our contributions are based on three pillars: