Media convergence is not an endpoint, it is an ongoing process shaped and endorsed by consumers and their interactions with technologies. As new technologies have emerged, tensions have arisen that have challenged the adoption of new media and presented problems in the validity of the cyberspace and the ever-changing producer/consumer relationships. These tensions are outlined by Henry Jenkins in his article ‘The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence’, and perhaps the best way to examine them is through a new media platform.
One media ‘tension’ outlined by Jenkins is the ‘redesigning of the digital economy‘ (2004). While some feel that the commercialising of cyberspace has been a negative move, I would argue it has been key in allowing Pandora Radio to flourish. Essentially, Pandora pays royalties to the artists it features, and is paid by advertisers who run their content audio-visually and orally while the internet radio is being used. Users can choose a free subscription, in which they are exposed to the advertising, or they can pay a small subscription fee of $3.99/month for existing users, or $4.99/month for new users. Using the paid subscription option, users can enjoy their music without advertisements interrupting. This has encapsulated the changing digital economy very well, providing revenue regardless of which subscription option users choose.
A further media tension is the ‘renegotiation of relationships between producers and consumers‘ (Jenkins 2004). Increasingly, relationships between producers and consumers are becoming hostile, especially in regard to the music industry. While producers have mainly turned to legal action to repel torrenting and loss of income, I think Pandora offers the perfect solution. The system, while still allowing consumers to access free music, also ensures producers earn royalties. Thus, both parties are benefitted and the relationship between producers and consumers can move away from hostility surrounding the stigma of free-download and toward a relationship that will foster further revenue.
Jenkins, H 2004, ‘The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence’, International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, pp.33-43