Streaming, Taste, Delivery

I’m not going to lie, I spent most of class on the claritas site. IT WAS REALLY INTERESTING IT’S NOT MY FAULT!

You know the saying “Birds of a feather, flock together” that’s what the claritas site was like. I do think it’s fascinating how you can see which zip codes across the country are similar to yours. The shared identity to which the site exposes makes you want to investigate more areas (and also helps you procrastinate). I also think it’s convenient in terms of moving, you can move to a neighborhood similar to the one you’re leaving. It’s also AMAZING for advertising, because you already know your target audience. ahh capitalism..

Digital Music Theory/How Music Got Free

I believe digital music changed the way we obtain any information. How Music Got Free helped me realize that the compression we’ve talked about is due to digital music and the way we obtain and listen to it. “Most listeners didn’t care about quality, and the obsession with perfect sound forever was an early indicator that the music industry didn’t understand its customers” (Witt). Although, Witt argues that the music industry created this problem (which is totally true) we have adapted to the life of digitized information. I listened to the free audio version of this book, do I feel terrible now that I know what the book is about? Yes, but digital music was the turning point for which we became forever intertwined with the world wide web.


Sampling is the basis of hip hop, and after learning about boundary transgression, it makes sense as to why at first certain people were against it. The sampling brings genres together and I believe that the ways in which people sample music helps keep us remember the past and our culture.

Crowd Sourcing and Wikipedia/Copyright

I don’t think there is anything wrong with crowd sourcing or Wikipedia. I agree with Richard Stallman in which I believe that information is most productive when it is freely shared and circulated. In a capitalist society, I understand why we put restrictions on information, music, etc., (besides copyright and plagiarism) to create competition in which one has to obtain permission to have said information. However, I feel as though all knowledge should be widely circulated. I believe everyone should have the right to endless or as much knowledge that we know of. The restriction of knowledge seems like an infringement on my human rights, but that’s just me.

Race Records

Is it weird to say that I love race records? I listen to Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Miles Davis, and many others, but I never thought of their music as “race music” or “race records” until today and I’m black. 

I don’t know how I feel about the fact that many record labels, like Atlantic, Chess, and King made money off “race records” and would turn around and sell them to white audiences with white artists singing the same song. Business is just business, so it shouldn’t seem like that big of a deal. Right?

Although I know I’m speaking from a different time period and era, we talked about Romanticism and how it influenced the way we look at music and argues that we are moved by music not a rational feeling. If so, then why is it that the universality of music did not come about until decades later? Because United States has this weird contractual relationship with race and we find anyway to enforce it. Music is just music.

Country Music

I want to start by saying country music is gross.

However, I think it’s interesting that country music was created from the displacement of white people. My granddad listened to a lot of country music or as he calls “Country-Western”, but it was mainly black people who sang the songs. However, as we talked Hank Williams and Muddy Waters, I look at some other artist like, B.B. King and wonder realize how segregated music was. Although they appealed to different audiences, Hank Williams, B.B. King, and Muddy Waters shared musical similarities. As time went on, why is it that we never redefined the music in which Muddy Waters and B.B. King made as country? Does this mean music is still technically segregated in a sense, as we only sing certain types of music?

New World Music

New World Music is a hybrid between African and European music, so it’s basically the music I grew up on. I think the best representation of New World Beats is Latin music, because it’s a perfect mixture and most of it contains the misplaced beat that we discussed in class.


Actually, I find that most music that we deem “dance-able” contain that misplaced beat, such as samba, swing (obviously), cha-cha, salsa, and hip hop, reggaeton, etc. Many of these forms of dance have that “Habanera” beat as many have no veered far from their origins. It’s fascinating how these different genres are so closely related, although some produce completely different vibes.



Boundary Transgression

Boundary Transgression honestly sounds like some passive aggressive nonsense to explain racism. Boundary transgression is always either a monstrosity or sacred as we discussed in class. American pop culture is just a mixing of cultures, but there are quite a few times where it is deemed unacceptable. In the 50’s, for a white person to buy a race record was unacceptable. Just as it was strange for a black singer to perform opera, it was boundary transgression that was not okay to the public eye.

In class we discussed the concept of American political culture instilling segregation, even with the mixing found in pop culture. This is how we get cultural appropriation and minstrel shows. The idea that black people listen to or create music that is beneath a white audience, for a then, white entertainer to take that same musical, entertaining or culture concept and profit from it is boundary transgression. For example, Elvis with “Hound Dog” originally sung by Big Mama Thornton or Pat Boone “Tutti Frutti” (a version I’ve never heard before until someone told me) originally sung by Little Richard. However, cultural appropriation is a complex topic as some cultural appropriation is derived from stereotyping, such as Miley Cyrus and her performances in 2014 and Gwen Stefani in the 2000’s. It’s a hard factor that is prevalent in today’s society but has been happening for decades.

American Popular Music: Minstrel Shows??

I didn’t think that we would be talking about minstrel shows as American popular music, but since we’re here…WHY NOT!

The minstrel show, to me, is one of the darkest points in American pop culture. It seen as almost a national treasure and it’s everywhere…

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And I mean EVERYWHERE! Even children have seen reminiscence of the minstrel shows.

We’re told that the minstrels lead to the separation of whiteness vs. blackness, but it feels so much bigger than that. The minstrel show is more like a separation of blackness from the rest of the world. To many people, it is just entertainment, using blackface and minstrel songs about slavery and laziness to get laughs; however, it is humiliating among the black community. The mass production and spreading of the minstrel shows makes it worse as it lead to stereotyping and more discrimination against black people that still happens today.

We also talked about black people today who use the minstrel show concepts for laughs, like Dave Chappelle, or who use a form of blackface as a persona, like 50 cent. It’s something I never thought about, but it’s probably because it’s an idea that is so entrenched in pop culture that even people within the black community don’t see or realize it. However, I do hold the argument that although people like 50 cent dress like thugs for their careers, they’re also the products of their surroundings. I know many people who dressed and acted like 50 cent did when he was a rapper, but that was the environment that they knew. Kendrick Lamar is an artist that is sometimes consider too “black”.


Does Kendrick use minstrel concepts for his music because he is a “hoodlum” from Compton? Some people would argue yes, but I believe there is a difference between using blackness for entertainment value, and being a product of your environment. I would argue that more black entertainers are more likely to be products of their environment than certain white entertainers who use black culture as marketing opportunity.


Signal to Noise Ratio/Analog Computers: The world may never know


I have no idea what this has to do with anything. I was generally confused for half of class and just wrote a bunch of notes that probably don’t make sense.


Mostly because signal to noise ratio is boring and I’m not sure if we talked about analog computers or not, but it is interesting that signal to noise ratio can be analyzed through everyday concepts.  When I think of signal vs. noise, I think electrical signal you hear vs. everything that’s not the signal. As we learned, noise is a general deterioration of signal as its traveled. But, anything you don’t like can be deemed noise. It reminds me of anytime you see a TV show and the kid is playing music, the mom always says,”Turn that noise off!” The idea that outside sound or noise disconnects the natural order.



So, how you determine what is signal and what is noise? When we ask questions like this class, the first idea is: it depends on the person, but why is that? It can’t possibly be true, because there has to be some way to determine non electrical signal and noise.

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