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Need Some Help- Dissertation Idea


Jung
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Hey guys and gals, just want to ask your opinions and help on my dissertation idea. Went to see my lecturer today to discuss my title/ideas, and that originally was,

 

"The differences between being successful in the music industry now and 30 years ago"

 

However we both decided that, this was too broad a topic, and I'd be there for forever, and would clearly skim over things, cause there'd be simply too much to try and cover. Thus he suggested I narrow it down, give it more focus. He suggested something like comparing the success of British 70's rock bands (i.e Led Zep, Queen, Deep Purple etc) to the modern day British rock bands (Radiohead, Oasis, Blur, Coldplay etc) which sounds cool to me, However I'm just not sure of what my title would be, and you know the actual pinpointing of my diss. Thus I ask your help if you can, please just suggest ideas or opinions on what you think, as I'm doing my damndest to try and get the right plan.

 

Thanks, much appreciated

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When you decided originally on the title "The differences between being successful in the music industry now and 30 years ago", you must have had some idea of how you wanted to answer it, and a few ideas on how you'd go about it. Why not group all your reasons for picking this title along with all the ways you wanted to explore it, then choose the one that interests you most and build your diss on that?
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What course are you doing?

I'm not exactly shure how to pinpoint a title for that,im guessing the biggest factor of bands popularity in the last 30 years has been the internet.

Sorry that doesnt answer your question.

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Oh its not the reasons thats the problem Sunflower. It's like even if I focused on MTV and it's impact or the Internet, its still encompassing the whole of the music industry, and I'd still be there forever. Thus I need to really limit it to a certain time frame, certain bands who are great examples, and then focus it around that.

 

And I'm doing Media Studies Amy

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What level of study are we talking about for this dissertation Jung? If it's a Masters you can give the project a really vague title and get away with outlining the specifics in a proposal. If not, I would suggest working out a proposal as to your method of answering it anyway, then pick something really specific around your method. The best I can think of based on what you've said so far would be something like (but not exactly) 'Successful British Rock: Comparison and Contrast between the 1970s and the 1990s/today'.

 

Really you're best off working out what it is you want to compare and what your argument is at the end of it, then go from there for a title. You want to have some sort of clear argument - if you're just being descriptive, i.e. listing what your criteria for success are for both periods but not really making any argument out of it that's reflected in the title (which is true in the example I gave before), then you won't get great marks anyway. Having the title as a question helps. Maybe something like 'Can British rock bands achieve success through the same methods today as those that were successful in the 1970s?'. For that you would have to establish what those 1970s methods were, using examples, give your examples of present day/modern bands and examine if those criteria in turn apply to them, then if you think there are other methods involved in present day British rock success you can say what they are and maybe suggest why those methods weren't used in the 1970s or just didn't apply to that time. That way you end up with a yes/no argument, a decision made by you and a clear focus taking into account various factors for the essay, before concluding with some summary but making sure that you're not just repeating yourself by bringing in extra factors there perhaps, using your examples of bands throughout the thing.

 

I'm not always available and I'm useless at doing it, but if you want to talk about this more at all I'd be happy to PM you my e-mail or you could even phone me if you like. Of course, you know way more about he particular dissertation you're doing and you've got your own supervisor to consult I'm sure, so that's probably enough, but I have done a dissertation before and other undergraduate research projects and lectured, so while you might well have all the support you need already, I do have some experience of the bureaucracy of what you're doing, plus a little bit of knowledge about marking schemes if you want another oar stuck in for this. If you know what your word limits and credits are for what you're doing, that might help you work out a proposal as well, as a general guide it's something like an introduction, three main points (more than five certainly would be packing it in) and a conclusion per 2000 words typed. Still, it really depends on the subject.

 

The main thing though is to keep contacting your supervisor. Your project will be the main thing on their mind if you keep bringing it up to them. You can't pester them enough and you never know when something may occur to them, or something they say may give you the idea that ends up being the one that works.

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Cheers man, much appreciated on your opinions. It's just real tough narrowing down, cause you have to be so uber specific. It's like even if I say successful, then I have to say do I mean critical or commercially successful, and then you have to narrow it down to literally like 5 bands, and talk about them. I've been thinking of just comparing and contrasting the careers of Led Zepellin, The Who and Queen, prolly the 3 biggest British Rock Bands of the 1970's (mainstream success wise that is, Sabbath, Purple, Lizzy, and no Stones because their line-up had changed, and they don't really fit the same category). I'm just trying to be real specific, so yes very difficult.

 

And plus I just used The Who, Led Zep, because they were similar in they all split (originally) for the same reasons, they all had different patterns in getting to the same place, all had different kind of fans, and appealed to different demographics, all were renowned for different things, plus there was around 4-5 years between each starting album (Who around 64, Zep in 69, and Queen in 73-74).

 

Plus they were all big influences on British Rock music afterwards, and thus I can link that to modern day bands. But it's just an idea at the moment.

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I'd personally look at album sales rather than critical acclaim which is an iffier area, but that's just me. You can't go wrong with album sales really. Try to keep things as black and white as possible.

 

The other piece of advice, although obviously you're in a position to know way more about what you're doing than I do, is not to get too attached to it. You'll want to pick bands you like to make it more interesting, but if some of the links are a bit tenuous, you might be better off picking someone who's thought of by you as a bit worse just to keep the continuity going. For instance, you could maybe use Status Quo to compare with Led Zeppelin and Sabbath as the only line-up change in the 1970s between all of them came from Sabbath with Dio and Quo bringing in Andy Bown on keyboards as a proper member in about 76/77 (although he worked with them before that). That would mean less of a variable factor than if you used Deep Purple with Gillan leaving, Coverdale coming, Blackmore leaving, Glover leaving, there's a lot of change there. It sounds like stating the obvious, but it's easy to be so determined to include something that you lose the focus of the thing you're doing when it could have been avoided.

 

Best of luck and of course give a shout if you think there's anything else you think people here could check with it. :)

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Ah I meant like I wouldn't include bands like Sabbath and Purple because they were only really critically successful in the 70's and nowhere near the level commercially of The Who, Zep and Queen. Plus those 3 bands all had very different ways of getting to the top of commercial music whilst also being at the forefront of British Rock. Where as Sabbath and Purple arguably weren't at the same level as them. Although I will no doubt mention them as big influences, and contemporaries.
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