Branded Terminology

By: Amara Pope  

The modern music industry has undergone an unprecedented level of change over the last decade, marked by declining record sales. This is due in part to the arrival of new technology such as online streaming services. For decades artists have utilized music videos for self-promotion and expression; however, only recently have artists released music videos online, simultaneously promoting record sales while increasing their exposure and reach. This study explores how short handle terminology, as introduced and defined within music videos, have become a successful tool for promoting and expressing a musical artist’s ideas through online communication. I found a gap in the literature that explores how musical artists occupy their ‘star image’ within online communication by introducing and defining short-handle terminology in their music videos. I argue artists create “branded terminology” to be continually promoted outside the context of the music video itself. As the term is memeified, themes surrounding the artist’s star image are continually disseminated in society. As social media users become familiar with a “branded term”, an artist’s star image is more easily understood and potentially increases a consumer’s ability to relate to the artist. Using the theoretical framework of resemiotization, this paper examines how the lyric YOLO is defined in the music video The Motto. I conduct a compositional analysis of 'The Motto' to reveal how the term “YOLO” is defined. I yielded quantifiable data in a content analysis conducted on Twitter in 2016 to determine how social media users define and hashtag the term “YOLO”.

Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Amara Pope