This week at The Avid Listener, we offer you a sneak peak of one of the essays from the new edition of What’s that Sound: an Introduction to Rock and its History: Norma Coates‘ essay about the entertainment juggernaut American Idol. She places the hit show within the context of both television history and our current penchant for “reality” programming and discusses tensions between mainstream “popular” music and the musical stylings of winning contestants.
Here’s a teaser: “Media scholar Henry Jenkins calls American Idol ‘the first killer app of media convergence.’ It may also be the first killer app of media globalization, as the program that originated in the UK as Pop Idol in 2001 now has local versions in forty countries. Worldwide votes for Idol competitors exceed 3 billion. At the same time, American Idol is the last killer app of old media during a time when digital technologies and the increasingly global economy rapidly undermine entrenched entertainment industry business models…”