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Friday, January 9, 2015

Artists and Spotify

Back in November, Taylor Swift hit the news in her decision to take her music off of Spotify, to mixed reactions.

Spotify says that its services allow a legal, free way for users to stream music, which may stop people who would otherwise download it illegally. Artists that support streaming sites, such as U2 singer Bono and British Artist Ed Sheeran say that streaming sites increase their exposure, which leads to more CD and concert ticket sales. Critics of streaming sites, such as Aloe Blacc, take issue with the paltry royalty payments, which can be pennies for relatively unknown bands.

Spotify's equation for royalty payments (Source)

Swift's reasons are more complex than other critics. She argues that because users do not have to pay to use Spotify (in exchange for viewing ads), there is no real monetary value being placed on her music, which may cause listeners to devalue her music and lead to decreased iTunes downloads, CD sales, and concert ticket sales.

Clearly, this is a multi-faceted issue, calling into question the value of music and the various ways of listening to it. As for me, I greatly prefer when I can listen to a song in full before purchasing it, so when artists make their music accessible, I end up buying more of their music. However, making music accessible also makes it conducive to pirating. There are many websites to turn Youtube videos into MP3s, making it extremely easy to obtain music without paying.

So what do you think? Is it worth it for artists to pull music off of streaming sites, risking a smaller audience? Or is it more worthwhile to keep music accessible, risking illegal downloads?

Written by Jenna M, Homework Assistant

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lammily vs. Barbie: A movement towards realistic beauty standards

For generations, Barbie has represented a symbol of beauty in our culture. However, as one of the most popular toys in history, millions of girls have received not only the doll, but also a flawed message about what it means to be beautiful. In fact, according to the dailymail.co, if Barbie were a real human her waist would measure an impossibly tiny 16 inches (for reference, an average soccer ball has a circumference of 23 inches). The average waistline of today’s women? 35 inches. If we continue to regard Barbie with the same idolization, we will be perpetuating the harmful idea that beauty is synonymous with (ridiculously) skinny, tall and blonde.

Enter Lammily: a new doll that we can be proud of. Lammily Doll was modeled after average body proportions in order to promote realistic beauty standards. In January, a pack of stickers will unveiled so girls can give Lammily acne, freckles, moles, cellulite, scars, and even tattoos. Why? Because “perfection” is out, and being yourself is in.

What do you guys think about Lammily? Is it no longer Barbie’s day (or decades) in the sun?

If you are interested about the history of Barbie and her influence on society, check out these books! They’re available in the Mountain View Public Library.

Post by Allie C, Homework Assistant