Possibilities and threats for popstars in Web 2.0
Popstars have an economic function, like filmstars. They promise a performance. They are the profit makers of the entertainment industries. From an ideological point of view, popstars maintain a myth of meritocracy. The industries and the stars themselves want to show that stardom stands for freedom and wealth and present this as positive, something everyone must have and therefore, everyone can and should be a star. A star is happy!
In my final MA thesis I show several routes tot stardom. Wannabe stars navigate to a created status of stardom. During their travel they face all kinds of barricades. Juries decide whether or not a candidate may pass or has to turn around and forget his or her dream. However, not every aspirant agrees the juries’ verdict. Candidates still believe they can become a star and choose a different route with other juries. Some travel on the Web 2.0 highway and do reach the status of a pop star. In the thesis I show three stars taking three different routes. Susan Boyle, a singing Scottish housewife, convinced the jury of Britain’s Got Talent and the whole world she can sing and made it to the final of this television show. Esmée Denters didn’t pass the jury checkpoint of Popstars: The Rivals, but by placing YouTube videos she managed to get a contract and reached the destiny of stardom. Katie Thompson navigated to stardom by cleverly using the Web 2.0 application Sellaband.
After showing these routes to stardom, I show how the appearance of a star is negotiated in Web 2.0 applications. Anti-groups in social network sites show how an arrived star (I use the German poprock band Tokio Hotel as an example) can become a ‘victim’ of a collective hate campaign. By hating the band, a social network site prosumer doesn’t want tot let the band disappear, he or she shows an act of impression management, in a new and commercial environment.
Read the thesis ‘Bill is een mislukte cavia, mogelijkheden en bedreigingen voor popsterren in Web 2.0” here on my blog (the thesis in Dutch). For related links on stardom, celebrity, Web 2.0 and social network sites, please visit my Delicious profile.