Mediation of Lady Gaga
Creativity and Precariousness Alvina Azaria MA Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship Media and Communication Pathway 1/17/2011 Question: Do objects in the culture industry have a life of their own? Discuss the ‘mediation of things’ argument from Lash and Lury by following the life of a particular object. Test the method by evaluating it in relationship to other theoretical approaches to the object.
Introduction This essay unpacks the life of cultural objects based on Scott Lash and Celia Lury’s argument in the book of Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things. It draws on a set of case studies of a current phenomenon in music and culture, Lady Gaga, using the framework of The Global Culture Industry. Lady Gaga has only been in the spotlight since she first appeared on the television in 2008. Since then, she has been gaining her fans from all over the world. She is seen as a brand that has a global flow of movement.
The theory is tested by being compared to other writers’ view on social objects, which includes Karin-Knorr Cetina (2002), Appandurai (1986), Deleuze (1994), World Industry of Information Culture industry was the term that first mentioned by Adorno and Horkheimer in Dialectic of Enlightment (1947), which has been the main reference to the critical theories. However, in the glorious era of ‘dot. com’ and social network such as blogs, twitter and facebook, the relevance of the theory is questioned by contemporary theorists.
One of the critiques is elaborated in Lash and Lury’s Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things. The book is driven by the concern of the implementation of Adorno and Horkheimers’ Cultural Industries in the global media age. The main argument of the book is culture has taken on another different logic with the transition from culture industry, ‘that globalization has given culture industry a fundamentally different mode of operation’ (Lash & Lury, 2007: 3).
The view of the objects is rather metaphysical than dialectic. Since the emergence of information industry and the global communication system, culture has been seen in different perspectives. The second half of 1990’s was marked with the 2 boost of globalization of the information economy and the rise of cyberspace. The academic studies were followed by business and management analysis with the emphasis on non tangible assets.
In this ‘regime of signification’, signalling ‘not simply a shift to a new mode of producing and circulating signs (cultural commoditization), but an alteration in the very relation between culture and economy’ (Wernick, 1991 in Grainge, 2008). In the nature of capitalism, brands were one of the non tangible assets that have been gaining attention from the world. As Lash and Urry pointed, culture industry is a branded circulating intellectual property (Lash & Urry, Economies of Signs and Space, 1994).
Moreover, the reproduction process is reassuring the sign value (Grainge, 2008). Lash and Lury argues that global culture industry of operates through brands. Anthropologically, culture is seen as ‘the signifying system through which necessarily (though among other means) a social order is communicated, reproduced, experienced, and explored’ (Williams, 1981: 13). Because culture is the main object of the study, signs and text are the analyzed rather than the objective process that is emphasized in ‘political economy’ (Du Gay, 1997; Hesmondaghl, 2007).
There is also ‘culturalization of economic life,’ where ‘contemporary capitalism was marked by a degree of reflexive accumulation in economic life, that included a new degree of aesthetic reflexivity in the spheres of both production and consumption, as capitalist reflexivity in the spheres of both production and consumption, as capitalist production became increasingly design-intensive and oriented toward niche consumer markets’ (Lash and Urry, 1994 in Flew, 2005). In this sense, culture has been industrialized.
Hesmondaghl (2008) defines culture industries as a sector or a linked production system which involved in the production of social meaning and deal primarily with industrial production and circulation of texts. The essay will focus on linking a music brand with performing arts, fashion, publishing, and video games. 3 In spite of its multi-billion dollars success, the singular form phrase ‘culture industry’ was first identified by German scholars Adorno and Horkheimer in Dialectic of Enlightment (1947) to show the negative side of the information manufacture.
The book probes how the culture industry manipulates its consumers through mass media for ‘the interest of financial profitability of corporate oligopoly’ (Lash & Lury, 2007: 3). Human beings become dependent on it and the industry legitimates the power of cultural producer or elitists (Adorno, 1997). At the time the book was written, culture was still in the realm of superstructure, where domination and resistance through ideology, symbols, and representation.
Nevertheless, Lash and Lury believe that some of the process no longer exists with the situation in global culture industry era. Images and other cultural forms are thingified, not in the superstructure, but in the materiality of infrastructure, dominating ‘both the economy and experience in everyday life’. Instead of circulating as identical objects, cultural entities have the dynamics of their own and move as if it is by accident and unintended. The form of the objects is not static as an atom and determined by the intentions of their producers (top down).
Biopower in Cultural Entities One of the arguments of Global Culture Industry is that the industry is animated (Lash and Lury, 2007: 21). In the logic of ‘singularities’, cultural objects ‘move and changed through transposition and translation, transformation and transmogrification’ (Lash & Lury, 2007: 5). Translation is ‘an organizational process in which the product moves in a linear, sequential fashion as a short story to a book, a film, video television and so on’ (Lash & Lury, 2007: 25).
Authorship, creativity, regional or national culture are understood as the result of integrity of an artistic work related to others. By transposition, Lash and Lury mean the intensive features of the 4 object that enables movement, rather than any kind of aesthetic integrity. The movement of transposition is characterized by multiplicity, intensive, associate series of events, merchandise promotion, and publicity. Organized in part by the laws of trademark and passing off, transposition defined by territorial boundaries from multiple origins.
It also can be seen as a zone of identity in order to sell products (Becket, 1998, in Lash and Lury, 2007:25). Meanwhile, is an activity to change into a different shape or form, especially one that is fantastic or bizarre (Menheim, 2010). The objects are viewed as ‘a product of normative or instrumental rational action (mediated by a set of internalized habits and expectations) in the first, and as an outcome of social interaction in the latter’ (Leschziner, 2005). Cultural objects are seen as monads that live in different forms by a trace with a memory complex.
Unlike commodities by Adorno and Horkheimer that are seen as atoms, monads are self-energizing have their own lives. They are living in microstructures. This culture of circulation is not anymore determined by the producers as Adorno and Horkheimer stated. The value is added in this movement or self-modification throughout the range of spaces. Therefore, the indeterminacy process of production and consumption are the matter of the ‘construction of difference’. This logic of difference is where brand, one of the cultural objects (Lury, 2004), work, and circulate. The embedding of social meanings and relations in physical world constitutes a social ‘morphology’, a spacial arrangement of material objects that constitutes the landscapes, settlements, and technologies to which human actions relate. This book’s argument is in the flow of the objects’ movements, media becomes things, and things can transform into media. Argument is nuanced chapters mapping the biographies of seven ‘cultural objects’, which are four media that becomes things, such as Toy Story and 5
Wallace and Gromit; and three things that become media: Euro ‘96, Nike, Swatch. The analysis was drawn from a number of different points of view, which are anthropology, science and technology, media theory, biography, multiplicity, and economic sociology. The theory has a number of influences, including Appadurai on how it traces the objects by following them; Deleuze in relating the objects to one another; and Karinn Knorr Catina in the logic of the space of the objects, in microstructures or networks.
Brand Has Risen As mentioned before, brand plays a key role in today’s global culture industry. ‘Culture is driven by imagination’ (Tuan, 1998). Within the growing critical literature on brands, the cultural work of logos, signs and trademarks has often been read symptomatically, an aspect of the thickening hegemony of global capitalism and of the social disjunction represented in the production and promotion of goods. Brands have lives of its own that actualize themselves. It flows from brand’s memory, that is ‘brand identity’.
A range of series of goods or commodity generates a brand with diversification of products. According to Lash and Lury, Brand experience can be seen as a feeling of intensity. Objects are not always something that can be seen or touch physically. Unlike most natural scientists, social scientists including Lash and Lury refer objects as something that is in the imaginary world. In the new economy, brands are living on the thin air (Leadbeater, 1999; Simmel, 1978) sees ‘economic objects’ that pure desire and immediate enjoyment.
Branding has been linked to structural changes, or intensifications, in the basis of consumer culture, which is especially associated with the move from Fordism to post-Fordism in the last third of the twentieth century. As a critical label, Fordism describes a mode of production based around the factory, the rationalization of labour and the standardization of goods (Grainge, 2008). 6 Although both can be sources of power, Lash and Lury differentiate the brand and commodity. Commodities works through a mechanistic principle of identity, brands through the animated production of difference’ (Fraser et al, in Lash and Lury, 2007: 7). However, Appandurai defines commodity ‘as a situation in social life of any ‘thing’ be defined as the situation in which its exchangeability (past, present, or future) for some other thing is its socially relevant feature’ (Appadurai, 1986). The summary is shown on the table below. Variable Logic Exchange value Production role Valued by History Set of relations with others Life Quantity Determinancy Production Works through Consumption
Commodity Identity Money Produced as products Exchange for quantity, use value for quality No No Dead Singular Determined Labour-intensive Reproduction of identity Generalized Fordist consumption Use value: concrete singularity, qualities of product Exchange value (as commodity): homogeneity Brand Difference Not exchanged except for capital markets Source of production Expected future profits and difference Yes Yes Alive Series of goods Indetermined Design-intensive More production difference Specialized consumption Values Sign value: qualities of experience
Table 1 Commodity versus Brand Methodology This essay uses the method of Global Culture Industry by following the life of Lady Gaga 7 with a biography. Lady Gaga is seen as a thing, ‘the internal organization of the object itself’ (Lash and Lury, 2007). Although she is a living human, she is a singular, manufactured brand (Gaffney, 2010) which makes her a cultural object. She is no just a pop music singer, she other values behind her. There are several people who shape Lady Gaga, including herself who has a major influence on the brand.
The objects are followed by getting as much of information in many places and time from as many points of view as possible (Lash and Lury, 2007: 20). Literature reviews from various articles and research about Lady Gaga are used to reach comprehensiveness and the richness of data; and also to show intersubjectivity. In the book, Lash and Lury uses interviews to support the biography. This essay uses the interviews that are done in the multiple sources. In this biography, writer also incorporates other theorists’ views to the objects in the biography in order to test Lash and Lury’s method on the specific situations, time, and space.
This essay will look at the objects with theoretical approaches by Karin-Knorr Cetina, Appandurai, Deleuze, and Heath and Potter; and Beer and Burrows. The biography is structured in three parts: the most recent development which the object enters to a flow; the structure of the industry; the beginning of the cultural object as a thing. Biography: From Germanotta to Gaga ‘I am my music; I am my art; I am my creativity’ (Gaga in Robinson, 2010) ‘She isn’t a pop act, she is a performance artist. She herself is the art. She is the sculpture’. Lauper, 2010). Lady Gaga is one of the most successful acts in popular music industry in the last decade. ‘There is no denying it. Lady Gaga is one huge global brand. In fact, the money-making machine that is Lady Gaga is predicted to earn more than $100 million in 2011’ (Daily Mail, 2011). She has 8 been gaining her fans from all over the world, whom she refers as ‘little monsters’. With combining performance, she and her image have been shifting in different kinds of movement, adding her values in the eyes of the world.
By the end of 2010, she became of one the most influential people of the year (Time, 2010) and her album ‘The Fame Monster’ was the biggest selling album of 2010, sold 5. 8 million copies across the globe (United World Chart, 2010). Gaga also becomes brand extensions to products. Her breadth of brand can be determined from ‘social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter (Time, 2010). On 13 January 2011, she has 800 million views on YouTube, twelve million fans on Facebook, and 7593466 followers on Twitter. There are 99,800,000 results are found when the name ‘Lady Gaga’ is typed on Google search engine (January 2011).
Animation is drawn in the flow of movement of Lady Gaga. Norman Klein (1993) defines animation as a sense of perception that is culturally informed and social imaginary of shape-shifting possibility or metamorphosis. In this case, Lady Gaga is literally animated and transmogrify to comic cartoon parody. The cartoon below represent the relationship between the PR executive and Lady Gaga. It shows relationship of the lyrics of ‘Alejandro’ and ‘Telephone’. Klein suggests it comes from a memory in a printed page. The image of Lady Gaga comes from a perspective of her in ‘Telephone’ video. 9 Figure 1 The cartoon parody by Pocketcookie. et (2010) Other online games use Lady Gaga’s figure as their objects to be transmogrified, for instance Make-Up Game Lady Gaga, Dress Up Lady Gaga, and The PokerIsland Quest. On March 2010, Harmonix and MTV Games announced that a video game Rock Band is including four songs by Lady Gaga. ‘Bad Romance, ‘Just dance’, ‘Monster’, Poker Face’ are available on Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3 system (MTV Games, 2010). Similar act was also done On June 2010 by DJ Hero 2 (Coby, 2010). Tapolous, music game software developer for Apple (IPhone, IPod Touch, IPad gadgets) use 13 songs by Lady Gaga for Tap Tap Revenge and Tap Tap Radiaton.
The songs are sold on Apple Store online. As a cultural object, Gaga’s music is transformed and transmogrified into video games. 10 Figure 2 Lady Gaga Pokerisland Quest inspired by Poker Face song Source: ladygagagame. com The object, Lady Gaga, has become media. It is in the system of and enters to a flow that is consumed by the audience or consumer. Media are surfaces or waves or spaces or signals in which various contents may be communicated. In this case, Lady Gaga, as virtual object, a thing, is mediated. The thing itself is constructed, coordinated, organized and integrated.
She is in the commodity situation in social life (Appandurai, 1986) where she, as a ‘thing’ be defined as ‘the situation in which its exchangibility (past, present, future) for some other thing is its socially relevant feature’. That is, Lady Gaga is mediated to a manufactured personality (Paglia, 2010). 11 Figure 3 Virgin mobile product placement on ‘Telephone’ music video, 2010 Source: (Pocket-Lint, 2010) ‘Celebrity is instrumental in the creation of affective economies’ (Vellar, 2010). Her prominent identity is used by other brands to promote their range of products. Her videos are one of the media to promote a brand.
In 2009, Lady Gaga’s music video was used to endorse the Casio Baby-G line. ‘Two new music videos are part of the promotion. The bright yellow BG5602-9 gets prominently featured in one of them. Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) and Love Game’ (Riley, 2009). In her music video collaborated with Beyonce, there are also products placements of Virgin Mobile and also Polaroid (Phones Review, 2010). Entering 2010, Android commercial in Japan used her Poker Face’ tunes. Gaga’s music translated in the musical series, Glee (2010). Because of her avant-garde and out-of this world style, fashion is closely linked with Lady Gaga.
She had brand extension to create series of products. Her image is commoditized. In September 2009, Lady Gaga designed a series of Dr. Dre’s Heartbeats earphones which made appearance on her ‘Bad Romance’ video. In Spring 2010, cosmetic line MAC joined her with Cyndi Lauper for Viva Glam Campaign. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga and Polaroid collaborated to 12 release a line of products Polaroid Grey Label in 2011. It translates ‘Lady Gaga’s mission to deliver products that enable creativity for all, celebrate artistry and make sharing instantaneous across the physical and digital’ (Polaroid , 2011).
Lately, the singer is developing the perfume to be launched in April 2012 with Coty. (Michaels, 2010). Figure 4 Red Heartbeat earphones designed by Lady Gaga Source: (Espina, 2009) The set of Gaga objects has been also transmogrified and translated by other artists and entrepreneurs in creating the products. In February 2010, Designer Lu Wei Kang, from Beijing, has spent months recreating Lady Gaga’s wardrobe in miniature for his Barbie doll collection. ‘The 29-year-old, from Beijing, China, now hopes to mass produce the clothes and sell them worldwide’ (Solent News, 2010).
Veik also made similar products with various style of Gaga. Products like hair bow-tie, make up, sunglasses, dvd, biography books, t-shirts, keychain, masks, are included in the list of products that are sold worldwide inspired by the artists. Some of them are sold by the official merchandiser, label, or publicist. The rest are made by fans or 13 entrepreneurs who grasp the Gaga value and turn it into products to be sold. Masks, make up, and bow tie are nothing if it is not signified by a signifier (Saussure, 1966).
In this case the symbol of Lady Gaga is infiltrated in the products or objects. As Karin Knorr Cetina (2002) stresses, ‘there are emergent global microstructures – like new markets. There are, instead, branded global hierarchies that expand through global horizontal integration and even vertical integration to the point of sale. These are not networks’. These products come from various places and time in global territory. The online merchandise official store is developed by Bravado which is a merchandising company that specializes in making products that support the brand.
The hierarchy is there, with the label and publicist on the top, hiring Bravado. The company has their own system with designers and factory, and it distributes the products through the internet, stores, and on the concerts venues. There are also products like Barbie dolls and make-up artists who are self employed to make their own products and services. Social structures are produced and reproduced in interaction and they are subject to constant transformation as individuals innovate and improvise under the given conditions inherited from the past’ (Beer & Burrows, 2010).
Figure 5 A Pose of Lady Gaga doll taken from her ‘Bad Romance’ made by Veik Source: (Flickr, 2010) 14 ‘I’m a free bi*ch, baby! ’ is a phrase on her songs ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Dance in the Dark’ lyric. It is how she makes her self different. The line has been through some repetition (Deleuze, 1994) become the stabilization of the brand. It becomes a tagline or slogan that builds her brand image (Jarowsky, 1986) of her. The line was also said during her performance on UK X Factor 2009, Brit Awards 2010 and also all of her performance during her world tour. Her fans view it as, ‘she doesn’t care what people say.
She doesn’t believe when people tell her she’s not good enough, or can’t play well enough, or can’t sing well enough, or dance well enough, or can’t wear that, or can’t do that… she’s FREE. No limits! Like a bird! ’ (Vixen, 2010). ‘I don’t feel that I look like the other perfect little pop singers. I think I look new. I think I’m changing what people think is sexy. ’ (Lady Gaga in Paglia, 2010). She shows her eccentric style every time she appears in public, even on the most casual event. She has been seen in a telephone and lobsters hat and meat dress. A year from now, I could go away, and people might say, ‘Gosh, whatever happened to that girl who never wore pants? ’ But how wonderfully memorable 30 years from now, when they say, ‘Do you remember Gaga and her bubbles? ’ Because, for a minute, everybody in that room will forget every sad, painful thing in their lives, and they’ll just live in my bubble world. ’ (Lady Gaga in Weiner, 2010). . 15 Figure 6 Slogan for Gaga on Toto Bag Merchandise Source: Lady Gaga Official Website (2010) As a thing, Lady Gaga enters to a system that generates the actual form of her appearance and image.
The production of Lady Gaga is design-intensive. Her persona has been co-created with a team called Haus of Gaga. ‘ I have a small bunch of really creative people who make up the Haus and they work with me on my sets, my costumes, my jewelry and the concept of Gaga. It’s my team and we come up with crazy ideas and make them happen. I do make a lot of money, but I don’t want to own flash cars; I want to make Lady Gaga the biggest star in the world, and that takes a lot of work and creativity’ (Lady Gaga, July 2010).
It is a creative team modeled on Andy Warhol’s Factory that collaborates with her to create clothing, stage sets, and sounds. Lead by Matthew Williams and stylist Nicola Formichetti, Haus of Gaga has a huge role in the construction of Gaga. It has been also said that other artists have used her recipe of success with applying similar appearance. Christina Aguilera, Kesha, Ketty Perry and Nicki Minaj are seen using the similar style as Gaga (Caramanuca, 2010). It means that the image of Gaga has also been translated into the form of other artists. 16 Figure 7 Meat dress on the cover of Vogue Japan magazine
In the web world, Think Tank Marketing helps on seizure of the Twitter crown. The digital marketing company’s Website says ‘in the digital age too many brands struggle to find their way through new terrain’ (Kusisto, 2010). Twitter is now a media to introduce promote her upcoming album ‘Born This Way’ that is planned to be launched on May 23rd 2011 with the first single to be released on 13 February this year. Twitter and Facebook profiles are written in first person and are performance of Gaga’s true interior state of being her support to LGBT rights.
Gaga? support to the gay community is an important part of her celebrity persona and because of that she became a gay icon. Through the new technology, it is possible for the consumer to promote the artist to another consumer (Vellar, 2010). It is done through the social networks. This shows another micro-structure (Cetina & Bruegger, 2002). 17 Even though everybody calls her with her stage name, Lady Gaga was not her first identity. She was born in New York, USA, as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta on 28 March 1986. ‘Lady Gaga is my name.
If you know me, and you call me Stefani, you don’t really know me at all. ’ (Lady Gaga in Weiner, 2010). The name was inspired by Queen’s Song ‘Radio Gaga’, mentioned by Rob Fusari. The name was a result of a marketing meeting to brand her (Callahan, 2010). When Gaga was still under the name of Stefani Germanotta, she has a different style with brunette hair. Because of the transformation, the name has added a sign value to her. In March 2010, Lady Gaga was sued by the ex-producer sued for $30 million, claiming he came up with her stage name and co-wrote some of her hit songs.
It shows that, other than tours and records, the brand ‘Lady Gaga’ has exchange value in form of the royalty of intellectual property. The name has an exchange value of $30 million. Nevertheless, five months later, the New York Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit. It is shown that Gaga’s music production appear as networks (Currid, 2007), and also bigger structure. In March 2006, she performed on a show with Stefani Germanotta Band perform at the Cutting Room in New York. Music producer Wendy Starland saw the performance and referred Stephanie to Rob Fusari, a producer and song writer who has worked with stars like
Destiny’s Child. Though they reportedly had an oral agreement to collaborate on songs and develop Gaga together, Starland claims she was cut out of the deal in May 2006 when Fusari entered into an agreement to pursue a record contract for Gaga. In 2007, Gaga started to collaborate with D. J. Lady Starlight, a personal acquaintance of her. The duo to perform at downtown club venues like the Mercury Lounge, The Bitter End, and the Rockwood Music Hall, their show called ‘Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue’, considered as ‘The Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rockshow’. Their frequent collaboration formed her Gaga image.. In August 2007, 8 Gaga and Starlight were invited to play at the American Lollapalooza music festival, where they gained positive reviews. Gaga was then found her musical niche when she began to incorporate pop melodies and the glam rock of David Bowie and Queen into her music. This is the first step when ‘culture escapes the register of representation to reconstitute itself in register of things’ (Lash and Lury, 2007:181). Fusari shoows the songs he produced with Gaga to his friend, producer and record executive Vincent Herbert. He works for Streamline record, an imprint of Interscope Records, owned by Universal Music Group.
Herbert was quick to sign her to his label. She was then hired to be a songwriter at Famous Music Publishing, which was later acquired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gaga subsequently struck a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV (Harding, 2009). Britney Spears, New Kids On the Block, Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls was included in the list of artists that used her song. Music artist/entrepreneur Akon identified her talent and he had an agreement with Interscope-Greffen-A&M Chairman and CEO Jimmy Lovine to sign Gaga with Akon’s label Kon Live Distribution. She was introduced to D. J.
Matt Williams, who later became the creative director of the Haus of Gaga. Williams, who shared a romantic relationship with Gaga, began to design her album covers and her apparel. Williams stated that the appearence of Gaga makes it possible for the younger generation to access art. ‘There’s just been a hunger for something new and different on a mass scale; it’s been so bland for the aps few years’ (Williams in Robinson, 2010). She was also had supports from gay community. Gaga entered the mainstream popular music industry when the music charts are dominated by popular female artists, such as Rihanna, Beyonce and Alicia Keys.
However Lady Gaga brings a different culture or counter culture (Roszak, 1968) to the bigger audience. She comes as a free-spirited pop star who ignores the society pressure of conformity. She appears not 19 in the mainstream way to be beautiful and sexy like other pop stars in the industry at that time. Judy McGrath, C. E. O, MTV networks, views Gaga, ‘She reminds me of all the great pop women who have preceded her, and, at the same time, none of them. Pop tends to mow through people quickly, but Gaga is still at the beginning of where she is going’ (McGrath in Robinson, 2010).
Heath and Joseph (2005) explain how the counter culture became consumer culture. Consumer consciousness is seen as a form of manufactured conformity, the search of distinction is driving consumer capitalism. Thus, ‘stylistic rebellion feeds the needs by creating a whole new set of positional goods for these new ‘rebel consumers’ to compete for’ (Heath & Potter, 2005). This is when the logic of difference. The cultural object generates a series of actual forms, from music to album translated into videos, that are sold. Just Dance’ was released to radio and television in April 2008 and gained a reputation in club scene. It is followed by Gaga’s debut album The Fame in August that year. In the same month, the song entered Billboard 100 singles chart. It was reviewed by critiques in various types of media, social networks (facebook, my space, twitter, youtube), web site, blogs, radio, television through interviews, music video, and performances.
The album was distributed by the chain of Universal Music Group, the largest global record label. It is sold digitally on ITunes and amazon. om downloads, cellular telephone ringtones, and also with compact discs through record stores. The album and single sales reached the top position in United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, Germany, Switerland, although it did Internationally, the song first entered Sweden, and then Canada, finally the rest of the world (Robinson, 2010). By May 2008, the song was the number one on ITunes Dance chart. She then launched ‘Poker Face’ that was ‘even larger hit, topping singles charts across the board with its combination of pop melodism and club-worthy production’ (Birchmeier, 2009).
Both songs has gone quadruple 20 platinum for sales of four million copies. Three more singles were launched after that, which are ‘Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)’, ‘Love Game’, and ‘Paparazzi’ that received high positions on global charts. By August 2010, ‘The Fame’ was sold more than twelve million copies. On November 2009, the record company reissued The Fame along with eight song in a deluxe edition Extended Play (EP), The Fame Monster. The first single of the EP is an international hits, ‘Bad Romance’, which was released on October 15, 2009.
Alexander McQueen’s design and iconic ballet pointed high heels in the video. It was premiered at the designer’s show at the Paris Fashion Week in October 2009. It can be seen as a relation of things. Despite the controversial lyric and video that’s shows a dead person, the video won seven of 10 nominations it received at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.. The video has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. The song was 4. 33 million digitally sold, making her the first artist in digital history to have three singles to pass four millions sales.
Gaga’s following single “Alejandro” is collaboration with fashion photographer Steven Klein for a music video. It was perceived similarly as controversial, critics complimented its idea and dark nature (Montgomery, 2010), but the Catholic League attacked Gaga for her use of blasphemy (Catholic League, 2010). It was inspired by Gaga’s admiration of gay love. The music video portrays Gaga with a group of soldiers in a cabaret, dancing to the song. It is interspersed with scenes of Gaga as a nun swallowing a rosary and near-naked men, holding machine guns.
The music video received various reviews, with critics complimenting its idea and dark nature, while the Catholic League attacked Gaga for her use of blasphemy, despite Klein dismissing the idea and claiming the scene in question (the swallowing of the Rosary beads) was Gaga’s “desire to take in the Holy ‘Alejandro’. 21 From the series of her videos, it is shown that she exposes her controversial image and her relation with fashion in a repetition. The videos also feature intensive signs that is identified by Benjamin. The value of Gaga is at same time became more and less to different type sof people.
Because people can view the videos for free on You Tube , Facebook, or on television, it is gift-value that is being exchanged in this case. Gaga may lose the gift-value on the religious organizations. However, she also gains values from the gay community because she represents them in public. Touring accomodates the shift toward vertical integration of aspects of music business. Thus, ‘recording, media dissemination, artist management, promotion, ticketing, merchandising, and so on had intensified’ (Starr & Waterman, 2010).
In other words, world tour can accelerate transposition. Gaga went on a world tour twice called ‘Fame Ball’ on 12 March until 29 September 2009 to 69 cities and ‘Monsters Ball’. Her theatrical performance are shown on the sets and videos. Gaga stated, “I consider what I do to be more of an Andy Warhol concept: pop performance art, multimedia, fashion, technology, video, film. And it’s all coming together, and it’s going to be traveling museum show (Universal Music Group, 2009). Her second world tour, The Monster Ball started four days after the release of The Fame Monster.
Being said as ‘the first-ever ‘pop electro opera’, Gaga did 201 shows in cities across the globe. In North America, there was high demand for tickets. Live Nation Inc. to announce that Gaga will return to the U. S. in February 2011 and Semi Precious Weapons will continue on the road with Gaga until the Monster Ball ends (PR Newswire, 2010). According to the report, Gaga’s over-the-top spectacle grossed $133. 6 million over the course of 138 shows, most of which took place outside of North America (Vena, 2010). 22 She did multiple things with the similar concept to stabilize her brand.
The tour became money maker. Besides merchandises and ticket sales, it is the media of promotion for Lady Gaga’s new album and also the opening act, Semi Precious Weapons. In the concert, the consumer, who is already a target market gains awareness of the band. The merchandise for the concert include, tote bags, glow bracelet, , posters and masks. Figure 9 Glow bracelet, The Fame Monster merchandise sold on the venue and online Source: Official Lady Gaga merchandiser (2011) In the concert she provides a fantasy of a spectacular world. What I’ve discovered is that in art, as in music, there’s a lot of truth-and then there’s a lie. The artist is essentially creating his work to make this lie a truth, but he slides it in amongst all the others. The tiny little lie is the moment I live for, my moment. It’s the moment that the audience falls in love. I don’t even drink water onstage in front of anybody, because I want them to focus on the fantasy of the music. ’ (Lady Gaga in Weiner, 2010) Conclusion Drawing on Lash and Lury’s Global Culture Industry in the book titled ‘Global Culture Industry: 23
The Mediation of Things’ (2007), it can be concluded that cultural objects have their own lives as virtual objects. The overall purpose of this essay is to give explanation about the theory and apply it to contemporary social phenomenon, which is in this case Lady Gaga. By following the life of Lady Gaga and Music artist Lady Gaga can be seen as a thing that appear as a singular dynamic brand. Combining the Global Culture Industry and other theoretical views including from Karin-Knorr Cetina (2002), Appandurai (1986), Deleuze (1994), it is shown that the object have a flow of movement that can be summarized in three steps.
The first step is when the culture represent itself to become a ‘thing’ that has difference element. It has intrinsic values to be exchanged as a commodity. In this case, the invention of Lady Gaga image (theatrical performance, dare to be different). Then, the ‘thing’ enters to a system of micro-structures that forms the thing, which are Haus of Gaga, and also the record company and the mainstream music industry itself. It goes in repetitions that makes it a stabilized global brand. The last stage is when the thing become media. The system and actual forms goes into flows and consumed by public.