Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
McDonaldization, as defined by George Ritzer is how an activity or the traditional rules within an organization or institution is substituted for an efficient rule. The idea is that an activity adopts the McDonald’s style of producing food on a large scale. It also implies applying a different way of doing things that can bring about efficiency and produces higher results. Max Webber the sociologist that made this idea to be developed and from there George Ritzer expanded it and coined it. The organization I have chosen that has been McDonaldized is the Music Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This organization supports the creativity of the various music companies that produce music artists. Ritzer identified four dimensions of McDonaldization and how it made McDonald’s as a fast-food restaurant successful and these dimensions can be seen in the music industry. The four dimensions are efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control through non-human Technology. These four dimensions can be seen in the music industry.
In the dimension of efficiency, the music recording industry makes a lot of money through the selling of the music that their artists play, and for this reason, they ensure that they present the music in and a way that will catch the ears of its listeners appealingly. They make sure the beat to the music is unique and done efficiently to win the heart of their fans. For instance, looking at the beat of some of the hip songs played by Lil Wayne, it is clear that, his music is always appealing to his fans and through that, they always want to listen to it, and for this reason, his fans like to buy his albums. The producer of his Album also applies the most efficient way to sell the Albums and also makes a lot of money. They do this through a lot of commercials and tours. Some of the hit songs of Lil Wayne, are “A millionaire”. Looking at how the music was arranged and how the beat goes, it is obvious that there was efficiency in it and for this reason, anyone that listens to it will want to listen again just like how McDonald makes their chicken nuggets. The producers knowing that the song will be a hit song, find an efficient way of selling it and this is the reason why the music industry has been really successful and the songs listen to all over the world. Another Artist that became very famous due to his efficiency in his music was Michael Jackson. His songs and his dance were just unique and this made him very popular and very rich
Looking at the music recording industry from the calculability point of view, it is also applied in several areas of the music industry and this is one of the reasons why the music recording industry is a success just like how McDonald has been successful and very popular. Calculability stems from the idea of quantity. We can see that McDonald’s makes their food in a large quantity with the idea that there will be a lot of customers who will enjoy it. They, therefore, ensure that there is enough for everyone to enjoy. In the same way, the music recording industry calculates that, when their music is done efficiently and it is appealing to their fans, they have to make the recording in a large quantity so that they can get enough people to buy them. It is worthy to note that, the music recording companies make the song and they target a particular section of the population that is in greater quantity. They normally target the youths. They have also digitized their music so that their music can listen everywhere. We can also look at the artist in terms of quantity over quality. Most of the artists’ songs are similar. For example, there is a lot of hip-hop artists that play similar music. Some of them are 50 cents, Drake, Lil Wayne, etc. They all similarly play their songs. They satisfy McDonald’s principle of more is better. There is also a different variety of music which is in line with McDonald’s different variety of its food. For example, there is a different variety of Hamburgers that Mcdonald’s makes. In the music industry, there is Reggae, R&B, Hip Pop, Soul music, etc.
From the dimension of predictability, McDonald’s ensures that their food will be the same no matter where it is made. For example, when you are in Connecticut and you eat hamburgers from McDonald’s, you expect to have the same Hamburger when you go to McDonald’s in Chicago making it predictable. In the same way, the music industry ensures that they make the music industry predictable. You cannot listen to a song by Michael Jackson in America and you listen to it again in Kenyan in a different style. The style of the music is predictable. Again, the music industry is also predictable when you analyze what you get out of it. The industry ensures that in the long run, their customers will be satisfied when they listen to the songs. In the same way, McDonald’s also has the same mentality. They make sure that at the end of the day their customers who come there hungry will be satisfied. They tend to predict the out of their customer’s visit to the restaurant. The music industry tends to do the same thing. For example, when Lil Wayne is recording a song, he expects that his fans will be satisfied with the song when they listen to it. Sometimes some songs can even make you so satisfied that they can put you to sleep. The musicians in the music industry all behave predictably. They see themselves as stars and for this reason, their way of life is similar. The way one music Artist behaves is similar to the other so as soon as you see them, you will clearly know that they are musicians.
The last dimension is the control of non-human technology as indicated by Ritzer. MMcDonald’shas a way of controlling its customers when they enter the restaurant to order food. As soon a customer enters the restaurant, you have to join the queue to be served. You cannot go and sit down and expect your food to be served. You have to join the queue, place your order and wait for your number to be called before you can get your food. There is some form of control that is seen here. The music industry also has some form of control for its customers in the sense that they make sure their customers will not be able to steal their song without paying for it. For this reason, they have rules and regulations that their customers will have to adhere to. When they make the music, they have a copyright to their music and for this reason, you cannot just go and dub the music without their consent. They tend to have some sort of control.
In conclusion, the music recording industry has been McDonaldized looking at the various dimensions that have been discussed and the examples that go with them.