Standardisation of music
Standardization was a concept introduced by Adorno & Horkheimer to explain the process in which cultural commodities are constantly reproduced to follow a particular guideline in the hope that the commodity succeeds financially. (Ironstone, 2013) Adorno & Horkheimer believed that cultural reproduction was a necessary attribute of the culture industry as cultural commodities could be accessed from a "large number of widely dispersed consumption points". (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1999) In today's technological society the ability to access cultural products can take the form of something simple as your basic radio or streaming a song through an online media player (i.e. Youtube, SoundCloud, Pandora) making access to music for the masses quite simple. Although the ability of easy access can be viewed as a benefit for the culture industry it instead forces the producers to continuously reproduce cultural commodities which in turn creates standardized products. Within the music industry there are a number of standards and requirements in order to be considered a place on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the Nielsen BDS system is used by Billboard to measure a songs popularity based on the number of radio air-plays, web-based streams and record sales. (BillBoardBiz, 2013) When addressing the Billboards selection of "hot" songs there begins to become a standard set of musical genres which are consistently ranked amongst the top 50 songs. The dominant genres of the current music industry according to the Billboard charts are: pop, r&b/hip-hop, rock, dance/electronic and country. This creates a standard set of genres in which the music industry reproduces as pop and r&b/hip-hop songs combine for more than half of the Billboard top 50 songs. This reproduction can be seen through the process of artists covering another previous artists work and placing minor modifications in which places their on personal spin of the song. The song "Forever Young" by the 1983 pop group Alphaville has undergone this process in which artists such as Jay-Z and One Direction have taken the original version and have manipulated its structure to suit their respective genre. (BillBoardBiz, 2013) The process of standardisation is a relevant and continuous process that is perpetuated clearly within the music industry as the need to produce new music for consumers is a constant demand. By recreating popular songs from the past the music industry is able to capitalize potential profits by applying a new genre to an already established song within the cultural industry. As we can see in the examples below the Jay-Z cover below provides the consumer with a hip-hop cover of the classic hit "Forever Young" and the One Direction's cover would fall under the pop genre.