The mainstream

I have not as much used the term “that is so mainstream” but i definitely must have implied it when I find something or a practice very popular. For instance when fashion styles are in vogue, or when a pop song is making waves. So before this class I would have used the word popular rather than mainstream. After going through this class though, now I know the right term to use is mainstream. However, mainstream is way beyond what is acceptable by most people. Some examples of mainstream given in the online lectures include; mainstream medicine, education or science. 

In the sense that mainstream might not be just about what most people accept or what is conventional, mainstream can also be associated with best practices in a certain field. This is however not to say that these “best practices” are actually the best ways of getting results as far as these industries are concerned. For instance, in the Audio production industry the mainstream software to use is Pro-Tools as it is considered the industry standard. But a lot of great music producers don’t necessarily use this software to produce award winning tracks. 

So, in answering this question “As creative practitioners and consumers, is mainstream always a model for best practice? Or is it an attribution and/or judgement of cultural value?” My answer would be that it is a mix of both, because in some cases it is a model for best practices. Take for instance in audio production, the more mics you use in recording a sound the more complicated the recording process is as well as the mixing process, the same goes for applying effects on a track when mixing, if too much compression is applied to a track it loses its dynamics and becomes pointless. 

On the other hand, we could say that this practice is an attribution to cultural value because a significant number of renowned producers have applied this process to their work flow and came out with excellent results which in turn made it like a rule of thumb for other producers to go by. This is not to say that excellent results cannot be achieved should one choose to attempt a different route as it is also generally believed that if it sounds good, then it is good. 

I believe that the mainstream can be positive or negative depending on how one sees it. I would probably use the mainstream as a yardstick to measure the quality of a work I am creating either to go with how mainstream sound or choose to go in the opposite direction. The point remains that the mainstream gives me a reference point to work with. 


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