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Have our laptops and smartphones revolutionised entertainment? | 13 June 2019

With the proliferation of web and digital technologies, various aspects of our daily lives have changed, from the way we communicate, the way we work, even the way children play.

As internet access in Seychelles moves towards becoming universal, how have such technologies impacted on our entertainment choices?

Digital devices including laptops and smartphones converge several media into a single device allowing users to listen to music, while typing up that lengthy report, after hanging up that video call with their loved one halfway across the world.

Asides from affording users portability, these devices are equipped with superior processing powers, impressive batteries and the ability to handle large volumes of data. Laptops and smartphones have also gone through the evolutionary phase with improvements and never-ending innovations in design and specifications as tech-giants battle it out for the largest share of the market. With round the clock internet connectivity, coupled with bigger, more impressive displays and cameras, users can access a plethora of entertainment media at their fingertips, on the move, or in the confines of their living rooms or bedrooms. Even better, the creative users can themselves become content creators and share their content among peers or larger audiences.

Over recent years, Seychelles has jumped on the bandwagon, with many people keeping up with the latest television series such as Game of Thrones (GOT), reality television shows, freshly released tracks and their favourite celebrity’s latest antics.

Vidya Gappy, a mother of one who has been living in Seychelles for the past 5 years, remarks that social media platforms allow her to keep in contact with family, friends and relatives back home. Asides from communicating, she notes that she has been exposed and has grown to appreciate different genres of music, most of which she discovered through the World Wide Web and content-sharing platforms like YouTube.

“Many of my friends and acquaintances, who I am connected to online, create and share content online. I have one particular friend who is based in China and she records music and has her own production company so I am able to purchase her music online as soon as it becomes available without having to wait for long periods. I also download music and other content online for my personal entertainment,” Mrs Gappy says.

Speaking of her 8-year-old daughter’s internet use, Mrs Gappy remarks that most children of her age are very tech-savvy and accessing content such as ‘vlogs’(video blogs) and music online.

“My little girl also uses YouTube to learn songs and dance steps through online content and I was quite surprised to learn that most of her friends watch music videos online. My daughter uses smartphone to subscribe to various channels,” Mrs Gappy stated.

She added however, that is imperative for parents to keep a watchful eye on the content their kids have access to.

“The internet has revolutionised children’s lives as they are now exposed to much more. While it can be extremely useful as there are lots of educational and informative aids available online, it could also expose them to content that may not be suitable for their age range,” Mrs Gappy concludes.

A small survey of around 20 people reveals that many make use of digital technologies and the World Wide Web to access entertainment media. Among the most popular uses are for online streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and content sharing platform such as YouTube.

Ted Arrissol, a movie buff, notes that such media are more accessible, eliminating long wait times before movies are shown at the cinema and enabling users to download and watch series and movies while on the go.

On the music front, 2016 saw the emergence of the first online music platform ‘Big Vibes’ founded by Dezil member Martin Lebon, known as Master Emmel, and Herrence Etienne, better known as Xtra Big. Currently, the site is under reconstruction and is expected to be back online soon.

Speaking to Seychelles NATION, Mr Lebon noted that they decided to create the platform to allow Seychellois overseas to be able to keep up with the local music scene and to promote local music in regional markets.

“The site is under reconstruction for the time being as we are making it bigger and better, revamping it. The platform it was hosted on before was not adequate to support all the features we wish to incorporate so we have to migrate to a different one,” Mr Lebon noted.

While such technologies present advantages for musicians and artist alike by providing them with numerous platforms on which they can interact with fans and build a reputation for themselves, it also presents many cons, the biggest of which is piracy.

Having recently released his latest album ‘Mazin Mwan’, Smash Kid expressed his dissatisfaction towards several social media groups where his music is being shared without his permission.

“As an artist, a great deal of effort goes into recording an album and financially as well, it is not an easy feat. Since releasing the album I have been notified of many groups where my songs are being shared to large groups of people. It is discouraging as we do not benefit much from sharing, if anything, we lose out financially,” Smash Kid says.

Digital technologies have made entertainment media more accessible to users and at their own convenience, and usually at very little cost. While this is advantageous for users and provides them with a participatory landscape in which they can themselves become content creators, it is essential to also give thought to artists and others whose livelihoods depend on the content they create.

 

Laura Pillay

 

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