Making Cents of our Blog

Our blog centered around the relationship of economy and media. As media surrounds our daily lives, as does money, we “made cents of the media” in very distinct categories. Our topics of advertising, music, social media, sports, and wall street took different perspectives on economy and media that was relevant and hopefully as interesting to our audience as it was to us.

Sam: Advertising and Commercial Media


When our group was assigned “economy”, I was initially worried that it would be a bland subject I have no interest in. However, focusing on advertising was anything but bland. I had fun learning about the layers of advertising beyond just what I see on TV or magazines or Billboards. I know my first post was excessive but it is very representative of the excitement with which I left into this subject with. It was cool to apply concepts like the digital lifestyle or branding from class to things that I see everyday. It definitely helped me to improve my media literacy and excited me to learn more about the world of advertising.

Sophie: Music Economics


Since music is the one form of media that every American has access to, it is a huge asset to our economy. Over half of the money we spend on music goes towards live events, so it is important to spread the right social messages at these events. I got the opportunity to dive into music streaming controversy and the reasoning behind people’s arguments.  As far as the government goes, I learned about Trump’s budget cuts and the extreme damage they will do to aspiring musicians.

Kate: Social Media


In today’s society people of all ages are using social media to interact with each other, however usage is most popular among the two youngest generations. Companies of all shapes and sizes are using social media to promote their brands as well as get people interacting with their company. They are taking advantage of the power social media has on society by using it as a tool to reach the public.

·      Social media’s convenience is appealing to its users

·      Companies realize the importance of targeting millenniums when attracting customers

·      Companies are now able to use algorithms in the practice of behavioral targeting

Jordan: Sports Media

Super Bowl Picture

When you think of the economy, you typically think of Wall Street and men in dressed in suits; not athletes wearing their uniforms. Yet, the sports world is an extremely important factor in the United States economy. Sports plays an integral role in media and advertising. Sponsorships, commercials, and television all major factors in the constant economic flow. Some athletes aren’t even paid any money yet millions of dollars is devoted to them, for instance, NCAA basketball players during March Madness. While others receive multi-million dollar contracts like professional baseball players. Interestingly, one of sports biggest media events doesn’t even involve sports at all, like the NFL Draft.

Natalie: Wall Street


Making Cents of the Media covered a wide variety of topics, media and economics has proved to be a much more encompassing topic then we previously thought. Wall St economics can be hard to relate to our everyday lives but the amount of impact we have on our local and global economy is shocking. What we post and circulate around on our social media reflects larger problems in our society and our greater investors listen. The world of Wall St is not all that far from us as Hollywood seems to make it seem. The wild, and high powered world we’ve come to believe is in total control of our world actually has ears wide open to our voices.

Music Economics

How Is Music Funding Being Affected?

Under the Trump administration, massive budget cuts have been made for the arts. What does this mean for music?

Photo: Don Emmert of Getty Images


Public schools that are centered around music and the arts like The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC will have a much harder time getting the funding they need.

I went to high school at The Fine Arts Center and while I was there, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley cut $1 million from the state’s support of the arts. So during my last couple years at FAC we had many more fundraisers than we had in the past to make up for the money we used to rely on.


The NEA, or National Endowment of the Arts, is a federal organization that supports all genres of music through performing ensembles and music presenting institutions. Their support ranges from professional symphonies to school ensembles.

In the past ten years, they have donated almost $40 million to help facilitate live performances and tours.  Needless to say, the NEA is essential to helping people chase their passions, especially if they are at or near the poverty line.

In part of Trump’s $1 trillion budget cuts, the NEA will be dramatically changed.  In response to this, Neil Portnow from The Recording Agency wrote to Congress, pleading for Trump to continue funding the NEA.

“Love of music and the arts brings us together, and celebrates the richness of American culture and our spirit of curiosity and creativity. Music and art serve as one of America’s greatest exports, and support jobs for creators in cities, towns and rural areas across the country. The White House proposal to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is shortsighted and alarming.

-Neil Portnow

The Music Industry’s Response

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.26.54 PM

In December, nineteen different music organizations united to express their concerns to President Trump through a letter.


Andrew Rafferty of NBC News

Jessica Whitman of Entertainment Weekly

Klisala Harrison, The Relationship of Poverty to Music

National Endowment for the Arts

Featured image courtesy of Bryan Better from Getty Images

Wall Street

Wall St. fears the summit and America’s fall

The United States has dominated the global market since 2009. What has come to be a global norm is now facing the threat of being overthrown. The US stock market has produced a large amount of profit foScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 4.51.04 PMr investors since 2009 but new, more economic competition is looking to take over the market. As show in the accompanying graph, the US is set to take second place in global production and dominance by 2030. This means that investors will now take their money to these countries and we will lose our seat front and center. There are certainly solutions to this problem. The main one being to diversify our market and be more inviting to outside investors. This policy comes head to head with President Trump’s policies that promote the domestication of all transactions.

Although we may consider issues such as Obamacare domestic issues they greatly affect the willingness of outside investors to bring business into our country.

In this graph alone one can observe how the inability of our government to replace Obamacare has driven investors away. The following graph shows the rate of growth in the AUM (or Assets Under Management) in Japan and in the United States.

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 4.56.41 PMThe AUM of a country shows how many assets or investments are being invested in a country and circulated through an economy. The higher the AUM of a country the better of the economy of said country is.

The majority of the financial world is waiting for the quarterly reports to come in. Rumors of economic slow down have frightened outsiders into coming near the stock market.

It is always important to remember that investors are not merely looking at policies and important head figures. Your voice counts and publicly expressing your opinion about these issues influences where money goes in our global economy. The large amount of public backlash against certain policies and the apparent lack of momentum expressed by the public over our variety of social media platforms has made investors shy of coming to our market. The outspoken voices on social media have made our economy and society seem unstable and therefore unprofitable to outside investors.










Advertising and Commercial Media

Advertising Ethics

By: Sam Fowler

As modern advertising continues to become more extravagant and competitive, questions of ethics have become extremely important.

Testing Ethics

One test of ethics sought to simplify the evaluation of if an ad is ethical. This is called the TARES test, standing for:





-socially responsible

While this test seems relatively simple, each is a truly complex term when you consider it fully.For example, the word “truthful” is more trivial than what we would think.

Don Knowlton, well known advertising agent raises the question,“How much of advertising is really true?”.

He asserts that most advertising is based on actual facts but yet very little is truly “true” due to exaggeration, symbolism, and playing to the human mind. This is because if a product was only shown in its true light, it would be much less appealing than that golden Big Mac bun with perfectly browned patty, fresh tomato and lettuce with a perfect artwork of mustard on top. Here is a video to show just how much truth is stretched to achieve that golden arched image.

Screenshot 2017-04-03 22.51.05

Advertising to Children

Speaking of fast food, this exaggerated advertising may seem harmless and lighthearted ,but when kids are the most susceptible to buying into this advertising while not fully understanding that line between exaggeration and reality, it can raise serious questions. When most food advertised is unhealthy, that has an impact.

With America battling increased diabetes rates, many government organizations work to analyze marketing to children in an effort to reverse this trend and help kids to make healthier choices.


Children, on average, see 40,000 commercials a year, and commercials are specifically designed to influence behavior.

The Federal Trade Commission has set general expectations to limit exaggeration in advertising.

However, there is no civil penalty for violating these expectations unless it raises real concern in which a full investigation is launched. The FTC Endorsement Guides also state that if there is a connection between the endorser and the marketer of a product that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, it should be disclosed, just as medical product advertising must include all risks and side effects.

Cookie Monster

Another recent concern raised in advertising is the new installation of  “cookies” in digital media use that tracks what you look at online.


This raises ethical questions regarding personal privacy. Most consumers are not informed of the information that is being collected about them and they cannot effectively opt out of this process. As digital media is everywhere, there is no way to escape the digital lifestyle.

Our likes and dislikes are now digitalized knowledge. Looks like Big Brother who’s been watching wants to bring a gift to the digital party.



Psychology Today

Digital Advertising Journal


Federal Trade Commission 

U.S. National Library of Health

Journal of Ethical Tests in Advertising

Social Media · Uncategorized

iSpy Something You Wanna Buy

By Kate Lewis

Everyone has that one item they would die to own. Whether it be a car, a pair of shoes, or a picture-perfect house you only ever see in the movies.Unknown We spend hours searching for it on the internet, “pinning” it on our Pinterest page, and possibly even making the bold move and putting it into our shopping carts. However ultimately our self control overcomes us, and we cannot justify the action of pressing “Check Out.”

Not only do we watch as that item stays in our shopping carts, but for the few weeks following our search we see it on the side column of our Facebook page, in an advertisement on a different website, or even receive an email informing us that the item is still in fact in the cart (Like we didn’t know that already?) The internet knows exactly what we want and remembers it because marketers tailor web ads based on their customer’s behavior. This way they are able to know exactly who is interested in their product, and when they are eventually going to press the “check out” button.shopping-cart-abandonment-email-1_copy.png

This is the ultimate promise of behavioral targeting. 82% of internet users over the age 15 use social media, sharing their personal information and habits online. As defined in The Media of Mass Communication by John Vivian, behavioral targeting is using personal information and patterns in activities to match advertisements with potential customers. So all this personal internet trafficking can provide a lot of information. By using sophisticated set of software tools and analytics, algorithms are created that marketers use to their advantage. They can view what their consumers view, research, and exactly how close they come to making a purchase.

Three major components go in to the action of behavioral targeting; tracking and dataSalesDeck20_US_iceberg-e1438724443513-610x475 collection, segmenting a user based on their online behavior, and connecting this data so that advertisements that target this customer based on their interests will show. Behaviroal targeting is so successful because it gives real-time relevance to the consumer.

Marketers, who also carry the title of advertsisers, rely on ad networks to perform the bahvioral targeting. These networks are technology companies that partner with websites in order to access information about visor traffic. Through these websites, “cookies” are dropped on consumers hard drives that keep track of their activity. The websites are also able to collect visitors’ IP addresses. All this together creates a portfoli of a customer, which a company can review and use ot see their like interests and Web surfing habits. Ad Networks sell access to these portfolios to marketers/advertisers.

Behavioral targeting is a cost-effective way of turning browsers into customers.Market research firm eMarketer projected that spenidng on behavior targeting would double to $1 billion in 2008 and hit $3.8 billion by 2011.


John Vivian


Music Economics

How Do Americans Find Music?

by Sophie Harris

People may spend the most money on live music like I said in my previous post, but how do people find the musicians they want to spend money on?

Through online stores like iTunes or streaming sites like Spotify.

But how did we get here?

And what is the economic controversy surrounding these places?



Before the 1990s, people were mostly limited to radio if they wanted to discover new music.  In 1999, however, everything changed.

Brothers John and Shawn Fanning and investor Sean Parker had a very different concept of Napster than what it turned out to be.

Napster’s purpose was peer-to-peer (P2P) MP3 file sharing. So if you were to discover a new song that you’re obsessed with, you can send the file of the song to your best friend for free instead of waiting to hear it on the radio again or buying a cassette of it and sharing it.  Napster had thousands of files you could choose from for free across every genre.

It seemed like a blessing that all the songs were free, but the problem was exactly that. It may not seem like a problem on the surface, but the fact that 80 million users were sending each other music for free was an infringement on music copyright laws. Musicians across the globe were upset because Napster caused them to lose a significant amount of profits.

“We’re elated. Sharing is such a warm, cuddly, friendly word … this is not sharing, it’s duplicating.” -Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich

Napster was sued and shut down in 2001. But its legacy made a huge impact on the music industry, thanks to Steve Jobs.



Jobs discovered through Napster that people liked downloading individual songs instead of waiting to hear them on the radio or buying an entire album where they didn’t like half the songs.

Two years after Napster shut down, Jobs opened iTunes as a way for people to still be able to download individual songs online, but while giving the artists the money they deserve. Customers could buy individual songs for 99 cents (nowadays for $1.29).

Streaming Sites


Streaming sites like Spotify are different from iTunes. With streaming sites, you pay for a subscription instead of individual songs. The artists are still payed for their music through the amount of times their songs are played.

Unfortunately, artists aren’t paid as much through Spotify as they are through iTunes, but Spotify is interactive. Based on your listening habits, Spotify can generate suggestions of artists you’ve probably never heard of but will most likely fall in love with. That’s why streaming sites are so popular among small artists – it helps them build up a fanbase, with whom they can communicate through sites like Twitter.


Some bigger artists aren’t fans of Spotify because they don’t need to be discovered – like 2016’s highest paid musician, Taylor Swift. Taylor dropped jaws when she took her music off of Spotify and has publicly shamed the site. Taylor equates Spotify to illegal sites and piracy:

“In my opinion, the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work, and the financial value that artists (and their labels) place on their music. Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically.” -Taylor Swift

Despite the uprising against Spotify that caused a lot of negative attention, Spotify has made a point to prove that its model is beneficial to those who are just getting started who actually need the money for each time their songs are played.


ABC News

Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight

Anthony Bruno, Upfront: Digital Entertainment – Internet: Profits From Profiles

Jack Linshi of TIME

Lizzie Plaugic of The Verge

Mark Harris of Lifewire


Steve Knopper of Rolling Stone

Cover photo courtesy of Roger Ho for Rolling Stone

Wall Street

Energy, YouTube, and out best day in 8 months

Today was the day we broke the losing streak that has lasted eight-months. This up in the economy has given the energy and financial sectors the boost they needed. The energy sector has suffered greatly with the conflict surrounding oil and the concerns for the environment. Our fear of conflict has driven stock number for energy companies to all time lows until today. This comes around the same time that President Trump has stated he will end the Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 9.29.48 PM.png“war on coal”. The public has used social media platforms to show their distaste for conflict and their eagerness to have conflicts resolved. The government taking this voice into consideration has opened more venues for energy, such as coal.

The market seemed to level this week but upon closer inspection one can see the fall in YouTube and online video sharing websites’ stocks. This may seem unimportant to us, after all the economy does not depend on YouTube. However this represents a larger problem for our economy.  YouTube’s recent expansion into the larger movie and TV show edge of media has proven to be unsuccessful. In a world where online streaming is our life source, YouTube has failed epically. Large TV conglomerates are looking to take over this platform and use it was a way to advertise more and raise their stock prices through newly acquired customers. Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 9.16.18 PM