For BCM241 (Media Ethnographies), we have been asked to identify a media niche we are involved or interested in to ethnographically research for our major assignment. I have many niches I’m interested in and struggled to narrow it down to a single idea. I have two niches to discuss in this blogpost, which may actually help me make my decision.
Niche #1 : “Underground” and “Indie” Australian (and other) Musicians and Bands
This is a niche I’ve been involved in since around 2012/13 when I began high school and started expanding my music taste, and listening to Triple J. Since then I’ve always loved finding new bands, going to as many concerts and festivals (and North Gong Sundays) as I can afford, buying lots of merch and making Spotify playlists and recommendations to my friends. Now, due to COVID-19, I’ve also been viewing plenty of live streams and music videos from my favourite artists.
Due to Triple J’s large following and the constantly evolving use of social media across the past decade, many indie Australian bands such as Ocean Alley and Windang locals, Hockey Dad have actually become quite well-known nationally and internationally. However, there are still many Australian artists and bands I believe are majorly underrated within our own country, and this is something I hope will change within the next few years.
I would love to explore the ways in which other music lovers, like myself, find and interact with new music, and what their preferred “methods” are. I would also like to explore the utilisation of TikTok to promote smaller bands and musicians. This is something I have noticed more on my TikTok “For You Page” with many bands combining popular trends with their music to reach a larger audience.
Something I also find interesting as a listener of indie music is the “subculture/lifestyle” that comes with it. I think many young Australians would have a preconceived idea of what a stereotypical Triple J listener would look like and how they would act, and this is also something that could be explored.
Niche #2 One Direction
I’m not going to lie, One Direction was the first thought I had when I posed the question, “what is my media niche?”, to myself. I have been a fan of One Direction since I first heard ‘What Makes You Beautiful‘ in 2011. Something I’ve found really interesting about One Direction, and particularly their fans, is that 99% of them never really grow out of their One Direction phase. The popularity of One Direction within this degree was also confirmed to me when I made this tweet the other day, which convinced me that 1D could be a possible niche I could explore.
Just to expose myself further, I’m watching ‘One Direction: Where We Are – Live from San Siro Stadium’ as I write this blogpost. (Yes, that is a link to watch the film in its entirety on YouTube.)
Personally, I’ve recently noticed a new wave of One Direction fans, which may correlate with a number of factors like boredom during lockdown, the 10 year anniversary of the band (which was a couple of weeks ago) and the increasing popularity of different 1D trends and songs on TikTok. For a more personal example of this “new wave”, my younger sister and her friends (who were only 7 when One Direction went on an “18-month hiatus”) all identify as big One Direction fans, know all their songs and now follow the boys’ solo careers.
I’d love to explore the fan culture of One Direction. What are the different ways One Direction fans express themselves across multiple media platforms? How do fans continue to make new content about the band five years after their split? How has this helped One Direction and their solo careers remain relevant in the media? What are the different fan conspiracies and theories that surround 1D? What makes people remain such big fans of the band, despite there being no signs of a reunion anytime soon? (that hurt me to write lol)