What iTunes is Revealing About Teen Culture

Posted: December 16, 2012 in Entertainment/Media, Youth Culture & Trends
Tags: , , , , ,

more_storesIt’s often been said that “you are what you eat“, and while that’s true, it’s probably equally true to say “you are what you listen to.”  Music has always had a profound impact and influence on our past, and current generations, and that influence is growing stronger and more intense as the digital age advances.  Music not only “soothes the soul”, but is also opens the access panel into the very heart and soul of ourselves, and our culture.

If you’re looking for any level of understanding into the world of teen music and pop culture, then one of your first stops needs to be iTunes.  I’m not saying iTunes is the ideal place for youth and families to figure out what’s appropriate to listen to, or to use the top 10 lists to create your latest playlists.  But what I am saying is that, good or bad, iTunes is THE place youth 11-18 are going to find their music preferences…so if you want t understand a particular culture, you need to know where they’re hanging out, and why!

Jonathan McKee recently posted his top 5 observations about today’s culture from iTunes, and I thought it was a worth-while post to send your way!  Here’s a quick sneak peek into his observations, and if you’re still interested…make sure you read on…!

From Jonathan’s post...

1. TV is Still Huge! A quick peek at TV ratings will reveal The Voice already is one of the top 5 shows watched by America in any given week (it usually lands at No. 3, right under The Walking Dead and football, and always lands among the top 10 shows watched by 12-17 year-olds). But The Voice isn’t limited to a one-screen experience. Following the steps ofAmerican IdolThe Voice sells its performances on iTunes immediately after the show. Hence the blip on iTunes’ charts every Tuesday.

2. “Just Lose Control”
Sure, some music today is straight up raunchy. But I’d say that most of the songs that really last on the charts are the club hits that basically are singing, “Live for the moment, it feels so right, lose control, girl I wanna be with you because you look so good…” To young people, these lyrics are harmless, but they objectify women as sexualized objects. In addition, these songs clearly reveal the focus on the temporary thrill… the quick fix, with lyrics like “lose control” and “drink it up.”

3. Eye Candy Sells
If you pop on iTunes right now and click on Music Videos, you’ll see a music video from Pitbull for his song Don’t Stop the Party. If you click to watch the 30-second preview for that video, you’ll see a huge party, along with shots of naked (with just enough covered to keep it “clean”) and scantily clad girls lying on a bed like they’re in Pitbull’s “harem.” If you wonder about this song’s popularity, Bud Light is featuring the song with excerpts of the video for a new Bud Light commercial during the football games (which are the number one viewed television broadcasts watched by families right now).

4. iTunes is Teaching Kids a New Kind of “Clean”
The will.i.am and Britney song has an explicit warning, because it repeats two curse words. But Pitbull’s pornographic music video has no warnings anywhere.

Trust me, there is no logic to it. LMFAO wiggled their junk in front of our kids all last year without any “explicit” warning” whatsoever. Meanwhile, a song with the word “sh*t” in it will be declared “explicit.” Where this gets amusing (or sad) is when parents use the “explicit” warning as a gauge as to whether a song or music video is acceptable or not. In other words:

will.i.am and Britney song= BAD

Pitbull Music Video= GOOD

5. Humor Lasts
Yes, sex sells. And yes, those club hits really are popular. But nothing seems to sell like a good dance song with a little bit of humor.

Take the hit song and music video Gangnam Style, for example. This music video has been at the top of the iTunes charts since August! I constantly ask teenagers why they like it. Their first response is always the exact same. They laugh and say, “It’s hilarious!” Then they say something about it being a great dance song or wanting to learn to dance like Psy (I do love his dance moves).

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