Does everyone have access to all popular culture

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Music Television (MTV) started broadcasting in 1981 and went on to change the music industry around the world. By the second year of broadcasting, “I want my MTV!” became the advertising campaign slogan.

This simple advertising hook articulated the channel’s goal of a larger broadcast area but put it in the mouth of the intended viewer—a young rock and roll fan. People who did not have access to MTV but heard about it from friends or the media called their cable provider saying “I want my MTV.” Well-known rock artists like Billy Idol, Madonna, Stevie Nicks, and Mick Jagger appeared in commercials saying “I want my MTV.”

By 1985, the media conglomerate Viacom had bought the parent company of MTV and the programming moved away from 24/7 music videos to music pop culture news shows, and by the 1990s, reality shows like The Real World, 16 and Pregnant, Jersey Shore, and adult-themed animated shows like Beavis and Butt-head dominated the programming. Although the channel is still called MTV, it rarely shows music videos. The original sense of rebellion that MTV capitalized on had disappeared. The shared experience of being in the know, having seen the latest music video also disappeared.

Each summer, the United Kingdom shares a musical experience called the Proms. Started in 1895, the Proms (short for promenade concert) is a series of concerts that takes place across the U.K. and is broadcast on the taxpayer-supported BBC network. The Proms has become one of the largest shared experiences in the U.K., bringing the nation together over music. Sharing a musical experience can bring a community together, but first the community needs access.

Review this week’s Learning Resources as well as the student contributed resource.

Discuss the following questions (750 words):

  • Describe how much control production companies or/and governments have over access to popular culture.
  • Explain the role of the web/technology in providing a shared popular culture experience. Analyze how access affects the shared experience.

Sources to be used:

Holt, D. & Cameron, D. (2012). Fuse Music Television: Challenging incumbents with cultural jujitsu. In Cultural strategy: Using innovative ideologies to build breakthrough brands (pp. 245–264). New York: Oxford University Press.
This reading is from a book called Cultural Strategy about innovative and insurgent marketing strategies for popular culture. The book addresses how popular culture finds and develops its audience and at the same time can restrict the development of new popular culture distribution organizations. The book as a whole includes discussions of everything from Nike, to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, to branding social innovation. The selection above is about how a music video channel, Fuse, took on the giant MTV (Music Television) in an effort to reach the audience MTV originally appealed to: people who want to watch music videos, not reality shows or adult-themed cartoons.

Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands, by Holt, D.; Cameron, D. Copyright 2012 by Oxford University Press – Books (US & UK). Reprinted by permission of Oxford University Press – Books (US & UK) via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Federal Communications Commission Consumer Help Center. (n.d.). Obscene, indecent, and profane broadcasts. Retrieved from

The following websites may be helpful throughout this course by demonstrating ways of analyzing pop culture texts as artifacts.

Cultural Politics. (n.d.). Popular culture. Retrieved from

Pop Matters. (2015). Retrieved from

USC Annenberg. (2014). Media, diversity, & social change initiative. Retrieved from

Required Media

TEDGlobal 2013. (2013, June 18) Juliana Rotich: Meet BRCK, internet access built for Africa [Video file]. Retrieved from
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 9 minutes.
This talk highlights access issues around the world and introduces a device that allows access to the Internet even when power is cut.


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