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Wired article about mobile phone use on the Grime scene

Those of you who have read my blog for sometime will know I’m a big UK Garage + Grime fan.

Wired have written a great article about the dynamics of kids on the street of East London using their mobile phones to listen to, share and MC over grime tracks.

The success of a U.K. music genre known as grime, championed by the likes of Dizzee Rascal, has made rapping to mobile phones a popular pastime for a lot of British young people.

On the street, cell phones enable impromptu rapping, or “spitting,” over music played through speaker phones.

“If I’m not at my house and not got a pad and pen, I go to the note pad (in the phone) or type into a message and save it into the outbox,” says Vortex, an 18-year-old MC from East London whose first mix tape will soon be released. “It can be just a punch line or a metaphor.”

Fifteen-year-old Sparx, a South London schoolgirl and aspiring MC, agrees.

“If I was on the street and I had no music, I’d write it into my phone,” she said. “The phones are so important round about here. (If) I didn’t have my phone, I don’t think I would do it.”

As you will notice from the use of “cell phone”, this is an American article – which makes it even more cool that grime has been picked up by a fairly mainstream US magazine.

The article goes on to look at the spending habits of this audience:

While a lot of people in the grime scene may not fall into the target age range for mobile music services, they are not all low spenders. Vortex might spend 50 pounds ($87) a week with U.K. operator 3, but he’s not prepared to buy their music videos.

“I’d rather just watch them in my house than pay money to watch them on my phone,” he said.

Which just goes to show the tech-savvyness of the people on the scene. They aren’t caught up in the hype of getting “music on your phone”. They know it will be a crap experience, and instead know exactly how they would prefer to consume their media instead. The article also touches on the popularity of bluetoothing media between phones – further demonstrating such concepts as ubiquity are important.

Don’t forget, these are the people leading the “Playstation Generation”, and many will also be familiar with producing sophisticated loops and beats on music production software on their home computers.

Anyway, it’s a great article so check it out!
[Full article from]

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  1. Opentech

    Just back from Opentech, so here are a few random notes. I’ll hopefully fill in more details later. I started…

  2. Excellent! Like the quote about text messaging:

    “..these days, pirate radio MCs tell listeners to rack up “missed calls” if they like a song, by calling the station’s cell phone and letting it ring just once.

    “It’s a good way to see if the listeners like the tune,” said Purple, a pirate radio MC. “Text messages sometimes take a long time to get to us. Sometimes a message asking for a rewind will arrive six or seven tracks down the line. A missed call is quickest.”

    And nobody pays for the call.”

    The young especially [coz they’re skint] will always find a hack to get around paying…

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