Welcome to CJN297!

Hi Class, my name is Professor Kevin Greenstein. I hope you had very Happy Holidays and that your New Year’s off to a great start!

Over the course of the next few months, we will be discussing the ways the world has changed (often quite dramatically) since the Internet started to become a part of mainstream culture in the mid-1990’s.

Dovetailing with those discussions, you’ll be building a WordPress website (topic of your choosing), learning what goes into an effective website (and social media presence) and getting a really strong understanding of the current technology. For this class, we’ll be working with the WordPress software, at first designed as blogging technology but now also a robust content management engine used by the likes of CNN.com.

More details are available on the Syllabus and Assignments pages.

If you have any questions about the class, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

~Professor Kevin Greenstein

In-Class Project: The Music Industry

For this class project, you will divide into teams as follows:

1) Traditional Record Label Executive: The internet has taken off, and CD sales have dropped precipitously. It’s clear that MP3s are the desired format – at least for now – and most music fans in their teens and 20s are not conditioned to pay for music. What strategy will you employ to get music fans to start paying for music again?

2) Longstanding, Successful Artist (i.e. Beyoncé or Taylor Swift): For years you’ve been selling millions of CDs. But now, with the landscape changing dramatically, you have to alter your strategy. What do you do to connect with fans and continue selling music? Keep in mind that for this artist the fan base is aging a bit, so the strategy might be different than for a younger, more current act.

3) New, Up-and-Coming Artist (i.e. Hoodie Allen or John Newman): You’re a product of the YouTube generation, using file-sharing and social media to grow your audience, and it’s worked brilliantly. But now, you’ve got a new problem: your fan base is used to getting your music for free, and you need to convince them to start paying. How to do it?

4) Music Store (i.e. Newbury Comics or Amoeba Music): You’ve been a popular destination for music fans for many years, but now with the increase in the popularity of downloadable music (MP3s, YouTube) you’ve seen sales fall precipitously. What will you do to remain relevant?

5) Online Streaming Service (i.e. Spotify or Tidal or Apple Music): Despite a 10+ year trend of music fans not paying for music, you’ve managed to start convincing music fans that a subscription to your service is a worthwhile expenditure. As of now, Spotify has around 20 million paid subscribers (and 75 million total subscribers), while Apple Music has over 10 million subscribers. What needs to happen for Spotify (or Apple Music) to take another big leap forward growing its customer base?

The project is worth 10 points. Each team will earn 0-10 points for their collaborative effort. Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • A short summary (one paragraph) describing the strategy you want to employ.
  • Two bullet-points per team-member supporting that strategy. This is a team effort, so the bullet-points should not be redundant and each should have supporting evidence.

Please use Google Drive/Docs to work on this project, this way each participant can post directly to the group contribution (and share the resulting document with me when it’s ready: my Google username is kg1016).

Each team will present their strategy to the class (and take questions from the professor and other students) on February 8th.

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