Taylor Swift has transitioned from a successful career as a country and Western singer to one as a highly sought-after pop artist.
When musicians cross from one genre to another, it can blur the lines of their identities and confound their audiences’ expectations. Their fans keep trying to reinvent thematic trends that define their tastes, and sometimes there is little distinction among them. How does one distinguish among hard rock, progressive rock, alternative rock, and heavy metal rock? There are no neat boundaries.
This is evident from the career paths of two top female artists who have crossed from one genre to another. Taylor Swift transitioned from country to pop. Similarly, country singer Carrie Underwood took a giant leap to Broadway musicals when she appeared as Maria von Trapp in the 2013’s live televised production of The Sound of Music. Underwood received mixed reviews for her performance, but Swift seems to have made a successful move between genres relatively seamlessly.
Crossover genres don’t always bode well with audiences. In 2001, XFL President Basil DeVito Jr. discussed expansion plans with reporters despite record lows in television ratings.
Genres are clearest in sports because the rules have been agreed on, as have the procedures for revising the rules. Nobody confuses baseball with soccer or the shot put with Formula One auto racing. Attempts at crossover genres, like Vince McMahon’s wrestling-inspired XFL football experiment in 2001, don’t do well. The league only lasted one less-than-memorable season.
7.1.3 Authentic and Mediated Performance 1. Objective: Explain how technology affects mediated messages
Before Al Franken was elected to the U.S. Senate, he was a liberal radio commentator who started as a stand-up comic. As a regular on Saturday Night Live, he drew enormous laughter from his audiences, but at times his political views drew criticism from conservatives. In 2004, Franken had a talk show on the Air America radio network. His humor fell flat because the medium had a negative impact on his performance.
Consider Audience and Performance In ways we don’t always realize, media technology affects and sometimes shapes the messages the media spread. The impact of a mediated message is largely a function of the technology that disseminates it.
Audience A play may be staged on Broadway or in a high school auditorium, but every audience seeks an authentic performance where everyone is riveted to nuances of plot and characterization. Audiences can shape their own messages depending on the level of understanding they bring to the text, and their own frame of reference helps them analyze the deeper messages in a play.
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