From the ideas I pitched in my previous blogpost, I have decided that the niche I will be ethnographically researching is the Australian indie music scene. I decided on this particular topic due to how passionate and immersed I already am in Australian indie music, which should hopefully assist in my research.
To narrow this niche further, I will be specifically looking at how listeners of indie music discover the bands and musicians they listen to and what platforms they use to listen to the music they discover.
I created a mind map to visualise the ways I, and other listeners of indie music, interact with the genre.
This mind map formed my field site which can be defined as ‘the spatial characteristics of a field-based research project, the stage on which the social processes under study take place’ (Burrell, 2009). This field site is an important basis for my ethnographic research as it is highlights what my research will and will not cover.
After identifying my field site, I became more aware to the fact that the Australian indie music scene, as well as indie music across the world, relies heavily on almost an equal amount of digital and physical landscapes.
I also realised this to be true for myself and to the specific topic I had narrowed down. Some of my favourite artists and songs have been discovered through aspects of the physical landscapes like concerts and festivals, as well as random aspects of the digital landscape such as Triple J’s ‘Like a Version‘ and Amoeba Music’s ‘What’s in my Bag?‘.
By ethnographically exploring this particular niche I hope to develop my research skills through a topic I am very interested in and passionate about. Then, by using this research I hope to be able to expand my creative skills but turning the information I find into a successful digital artefact.
Ethnographically exploring this niche will aid me in current times and in the future. I will uncover new methods of finding music through the experiences of others, which is something I’m always keen to do. For the future, learning this information may be useful to a future career I’m interested in. Any career involving live music and/or music promotion is something I have always considered pursuing, so researching how people engage with different platforms and landscapes within the niche of Australian indie music would be helpful for this.
The information I discover may also be of interest to people such as upcoming Australian bands and promoters as it will show the variety of ways and places people discover and listen to music.
I struggled to find relevant scholarly research to this topic, except for one paper that may be of interest. It revolves around the Australian indie music scene and its link to festivals, the sub-culture and also the sense of community of the scene (Cummings, 2005). This is something I immediately related to the many Facebook discussion groups I am involved in for some of my favourite bands such as ‘Spacey Jane Thrillposting‘ and ‘Ball Park Music (everything is) Shitposting‘. My connection with these groups is something I can definitely utilise to gain important qualitative and quantitative research.
In terms of problematising my media niche, I will aim to uncover the many unique ways in which Australian indie music fans discover new music within the genre. By doing this, I hope to find relevant information that is not only of interest to fans, but artists too, to aid in the discovery of new music.
Burrell, J. 2009. ‘The field site as a network: a strategy for locating ethnographic research’, Field Methods, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 181 – 199
Cummings, J. (2005). Australian indie music festivals as scenes. Tasa 2005 Conference, University Of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, 5 – 8 December 2005: Refereed Papers. Accessed online: https://researchdirect.westernsydney.edu.au/islandora/object/uws:6573