Wednesday, 17 March 2010

my evaluation

For my project I had to design a music cover, article and contents page with reference to Q magazine and NME. My magazine is called Raw and is aimed at upper working class or lower middle class females aged 16-25. It is available monthly for £2.90. It features indie and rock music.

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

The conventions of Q are:

· It is usually aimed at a male target audience
· There are no more than four colours in their scheme
· Use bright colours to attract attention
· Is always £3.90
· Use unusual photos to capture their audience
· Basic colour scheme is red, black and white

The conventions of NME are:

· They use a basic colour scheme
· Always £2.30
· Use a red and black colour scheme for the text
· Use bold eye-catching text
· Tamper with photos to attract attention to the magazine
· Basic colour scheme is red, black, white and sometimes yellow.

My magazine challenges the conventions of realistic media products as the model I have used is female whereas music covers such as Q and NME usually promote male artists or groups. The colours I have used on the cover are stereotypically feminine as it is aimed at a female audience unlike Q and NME. My music article(left)features a model in an invitational pose inviting the reader to read about her in the interview. The photo is a close-up of the artist highlighting how attractive she is, so the magazine will sell. The font I have used is Eras Bold ITC. I used this as it is bold which makes it stand out and adds edginess to my magazine. By using a justified bold font it adds to the indie/rock genre. Q and NME always feature artists in an invitational pose either in a medium shot or close-up.

The article follows conventions in the way the textual information is set out in columns however I have broken conventions by having three pictures down the right hand side of the article. They all feature the star which is part of the interview. There is a part of the text at the start of the article which is in bold to introduce the reader to the star who is being interviewed. All of the shots are close-ups or medium shots as i wanted to capture the model and make her appear as an inspiration.

My contents page(left) features a female model against a red background. I chose red as it adds edginess to the magazine. I have only used one image on the contents page which is of an up and coming singer typical of the conventions you find in music magazines. It fits in with the theme of the magazine which is Indie/Rock as rockers are associated with danger or have bad reputations. It follows conventions of music articles as I have included an editor’s letter explaining to the reader what to expect in the magazine. Existing products such as NME and Q also feature editors letters and information on up and coming acts plus behind the scenes access to gigs and concert dates. It is set out by having a picture of the singer in the top left hand corner, an editors’ letter beneath it, information about what’s in the magazine around them and a block colour attracting the reader to the free subscription for the magazine. I have chosen two different fonts for the letter; one is in Eras Bold ITC whereas the other is in a font which looks like a handwriting to make it look like the editor has signed the magazine himself. This is important to include as it allows the fans to feel like they are part of the magazine. I have chosen a red and black writing scheme similar to Q and NMEs’ as it looks effective and applies to both sexes taste.
This is my old cover which I decided to change as the style didn't make it look like a typical music magazine and the photo of the model was unclear.The colour scheme on this cover was too cluttered and too feminine but still breaks the conventions of music magazines as it uses a female model.

My new cover(left)looks more like the type you would find on a real published magazine. I have changed the basic colour scheme to red and black similar to that found in Q. I have kept the model the same but she is now in an invitational pose. I have only used four colours on it so it appears simple but will still attract people to it. It could now attract males however as the colours used appeal to both sexes. The writing around the model is unconventional of music covers as the writing is usually just in the middle or on one side, rarely on both, the model is a female whereas most magazines use male models. It follows typical music magazine conventions as the model is centered with the writing structured around her. The bright red label advertising a free c.d with the magazine would attract an audience as they would be able to read about music but be given the chance to listen to it as well.

How does your media product represent social groups?
My media product appeals to mainly young women who are students or working part-time that can afford to pay £2.90 however the colour scheme appeals to both sexes. Q and NME appeal to males who work part-time and are willing to pay either £3.90 or £2.30. When I carried out research I found that my magazine appealed to upper working class or lower working class females aged from 16-25 who were willing to pay the asking price for it and they said £2.90. Q and NME both target a male audience. My magazine competes with Q and NME as the price for these ranges from £2.20 to £3.90. My product represents the music artist as a successful person encouraging the reader to think they could be the same. It breaks conventions as the model on the cover is female and is shown in a positive light due to her accomplishments. She is in an invitational pose as the emphasis in the shot is on her eyes.Even though there’s sexism within the industry, she would have had to overcome this which would make fans more appreciative of the success she has already achieved. Q and NME present their models by using their experiences to attract the audience so they can relate to the artist. The audience could also be inspired by the model as they might be able to relate to her in some way due to her going public about an illness such as anorexia or bulimia or even something simple like her parents being divorced.

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
The media institution I would choose to distribute my product is Bauer. I would allow this company to publish my magazine as they already have Q assigned to their chain. It is a market leader and people have confidence in their brands. The format of my magazine would benefit from the way this company advertises its products but there would also be a secondary purpose as the company’s audience would increase due to my product bringing a new genre to the company. Their profit would increase as the magazine is aimed at a niche audience which is specific to females.

What would be the target audience for your product?
The audience for my media product are people interested in Indie/Rock music aged from 16-25. They should be interested in bands such as The Killers, The Macabees, Oasis, Mr Hudson, Florence and The Machine and La Roux as my product is based on these types of artists. The magazine will promote feminism as well as equality which are both needed as the industry is associated with sexism a lot. It would only cost £2.90 a month but if the reader subscribed it would only cost £40.00 a year, more than half the price of NME which is priced at £84.10 a year. I took time to ask some people their hobbies and the type of music they liked; I chose this audience profile from a select few.

Name: James Ellington
DOB: 01.09.90
Age: 20
Interests: Indie music and loves playing football for his team at university
Income: Approximately £10,000
Buys: Download music to iPod, CDs, music posters

How did you attract/address your audience?
The reader could be attracted to my product as the model on the front cover could appear desirable to them or an interview could reveal an experience the audience can relate to. Naomi Wolf (1991) suggests women buy products that use sexually attractive women in their advertising campaign. She is also suggesting that women have become conditional by patriarchal society (i.e. they are dominated by men) to aspire to the current idea of what attractive is so they buy the product to be like the women in the picture. My magazine takes advantage of this as it uses a sexually attractive woman. My target audience will identify with the lifestyle the music artist is trying to promote. My audience actively seek out media to gratify their need of being socially accepted. The models are of a similar age to my target audience as it adds appeal to my product. This also gives them a sense of personal identity as they can aspire to be like some of the people featured. I have also based my cover hooks, features, stories and magazines’ format on my research and analysis so I could give my target audience what they want. This takes advantage of Katz and E. Blumler’s theory of uses and gratifications. The uses and gratifications are simply that people buy your product to retrieve information and to gain a sense of identity from buying a product that features their favourite artists.

What have you learnt about new technologies from the process of creating this product?
I have learnt through new technologies how to construct a product on Adobe Photoshop and upload it to Blogspot. Last year my only audience would be people like the teachers, examiners and colleagues. This year I’ve published my work on the internet taking advantage of web 2.0 which is an extended part of the internet; this could reach a potential audience of millions who, in theory, can post comments on my work. They can also comment on the blog so I can get feedback from the audience. I used Blogspot to upload my photos and add textual information so others can see it. I altered 2 images, one on my magazine cover and one on my contents page. I did this on my cover as the first picture I took appeared a bit blurry so I took a new picture of my model wearing different clothes; I also changed the font colours so they both would fit in with the genre of my magazine.

The second thing I changed was my contents page to follow the conventions of music magazines and the layout of them. I took a new picture to go at the top of my magazine, added an editors’ letter to it and placed the text around them so that it looked more like a contents page you would find in NME and Q.

Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression to the full project?
Looking back to my preliminary task I have learnt how to use the tools on Photoshop better and the importance of analysis of the conventions of existing products and how to research to find a suitable target audience. I have embossed text, cut out pictures all because of learning how to use new tools. My product has improved more since my school magazine project as the pictures are of a better quality; the effects I have used this time are more effective for the genre of my magazine. I know more about the types of shots you can get for example medium shots, close ups and long range shots so I was able to take pictures which flaunted my model compare to the shots I took last year which weren’t as effective. Most of the feedback the audience gave was positive. I asked a mixed sex audience so I wasn’t being gender-biased to voice their opinions on my product. I did this to get an idea of how the readers would react if my product was being published in ‘the real world’. I could change the colours to make my product appeal to both sexes or use a photo of a male to apply to a stereotypically male audience like Q and NME.
Alex aged 16 said: I really like the colours they’re very feminine, I would definitely buy it.’
Sophie aged 20 also said she ‘would buy it as there aren’t many magazines aimed at females which also include my favourite type of music as well.’
Ryan aged 24 said ‘there is definitely a gap in the market for something like this type of product.’
Joe aged 18 believes the magazine ‘gives a good insight into the lives of music artists.’
These comments are important in the publishing world as a company wouldn’t want to invest in a product which they were unable to sell.