Friday, August 31, 2012

Online Music Videos - Giuditta Nielsen 43015107


Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to either:
Advertising & New Media or Online Music Video.

Online Music Video

We live in a world where media convergence dominates our daily routines, where convergence assist us to fulfil our daily tasks and has come to interact with us culturally, politically, socially as well as technologically.[1] Without convergence today man would be incapable to function. Convergence is a paradoxical phenomenon, because as it enlarges and develops it diminishes at the same time. Convergence enlarges in new ideas within technology and development; however, convergence also becomes smaller in that the world delivers many platforms from solely one device. For instance, music videos are more likely to be delivered on one platform, namely the Internet, and more specifically YouTube.

Online video streaming, and especially music video streaming has today become very popular, not exclusively for music fanatics, but also for entertainers, broadcasters and bands. In this essay I will investigate how digital media convergence has impacted on the use of online music video. I will discuss this by presenting the following questions: Will television no longer exist one day? Has the Internet killed the video star? Do we still need a music channel? Has YouTube replaced the stars from MTV? What makes YouTube so popular in comparison to the music channels on television?

Initially, video killed the radio star. Today, the Internet has killed the video star. Or has it? The Internet has contributed to a new world of limitless possibilities. It has created and given birth to new stars. YouTube is an ambivalent concept; it might have killed some video and radio stars, but it has also given birth to new stars, for example Justin Bieber. YouTube is a virtual world, which becomes reality to those young artists that pursue their dreams. YouTube is the place where new stars can be discovered.

The birth of the music video was in 1981 when MTV launched their first music video by The Buggles. Ironically, the first song ever played on MTV was called “Video Killed The Radio Star”. Since 1981 MTV has progressed from one cable platform that delivers music video to a wide lifestyle icon that involves the Internet, TV-shows and reality programs. From that historically moment video killed the radio star. [2]

Established in 2005, YouTube has become the most successful Internet site. In this paragraph I will discuss YouTube’s characteristics and the reason for YouTube’s popularity in comparison to other similar sites and the pay-tv music channels. Online (music) videos existed long time before YouTube entered the convergent world. Previous look-alike sites did not offer such things as sharing, commenting, related videos and automatically converting from different formats. YouTube and its competitors solved these problems. YouTube allows consumers to upload video efficiently with automatically converting them from different formats and to tag the videos thus people easily can find what they are searching for. Social networking on YouTube has also contributed to YouTube’s success. The videos are not independent from each other, nor are the users. Users converge with each other by sharing and commenting. This is one of the aspects that we do not see in music channels on TV. Another aspect of YouTube’s success is the use of format. YouTube accepts uploaded videos in the following formats: WMV, AV, MOV and MPEG which are converted into FVL (Adobe Flash Video). The most popular category on YouTube is music followed by entertainment and comedy as a second and third place. This contributes to the fact that music videos are much preferred on an online device rather than on TV as you have multiply choices.[3]

Based on Hildebrand’s theories and my own experience, I will explain why YouTube replaced music videos and videos in general: Firstly, YouTube is free and user-friendly. It is easy to access and you don’t have to log in, in order to watch videos. Secondly, Hildebrand mentions the “culture of the clip”: You don’t have to wait till a certain time in order to watch the music video – you can watch it at anytime, anywhere, online. We live in the so-called “Me Media” generation, where you (me) control YouTube - you choose which artists you want to search for. In comparison, MTV controls you: They decide when to broadcast their music videos and TV-shows. In the past, as long as 10 years ago, one had to wait until, for example 5pm to watch their favourite musicians. This however, is no longer the case; with the click of a button we now have access to any video at any time, on every day. [4]

Specifically speaking about the online music video, is the cable music video still relevant in our new convergence world? And what is the evolution of MTV? According to Shannon Connolly, who is VP of digital music strategy at MTV Networks, “new technology has fundamentally changed how people experience music”. She explains that in the past, people used TV as a way to discover new music and artists. Today things are different. The new media platforms such as YouTube have forced MTV to find a new role in the music area. This is not a catastrophe for MTV, it is rather an opportunity to change their role. Finally Connolly emphasises that MTV’s role is now about curation, it’s about the Internet and about creating new multiplatform music experiences. Notwithstanding MTV’s “loss” of music videos, MTV networks have still several channels that exclusively play music videos as MTV Jam and MTV Hits. The question though is how many people have access to these special music channels? Most people have the classical MTV channel, but not many want to pay in order to watch MTV Hits and MTV Jam. For the aforementioned reasons, today the online music video dominates over the pay-tv music video from TV. [5]

Another interesting aspect in the debate of online music video is the mobile TV. As the use of Internet is strongly related to the use of mobile TV, it is believed that mobile TV is another killer of the pay-tv music video. In an article about mobile TV, the author explores the evolution and the understanding of mobile television by focusing on four concepts: “TV in your pocket”, “TV anytime, anywhere”, “TV on the go”, and “Enhanced TV”. The four concepts explain how mobile TV has overtaken the power of the pay-tv. “TV in your pocket“ is about personalisation, private experience and individualisation. “TV anytime, anywhere” explains the need to be in a place with a television set. It’s about not letting your friends impede you from watching the soccer game because they keep you out late. “TV on the go” focuses on the “ease of use” and rapid consumption like “coffee on the go”; there is no such thing as jumping on YouTube and listening to the latest song of Beyoncé that your friend suggested. And finally “Enhanced TV”, which is about interactions with your favourite TV show. Mobile TV is basically the same principle as the Internet TV on your computer. From these factors it is probably that Mobile TV and the Internet have replaced the home television. [6]

In conclusion, it is evident that YouTube and other similar websites have killed many of the MTV/Video stars. From a human perspective, man always seeks the “easiest” ways to access information and to “get in touch” with their favourite music artists. For this reason YouTube and mobile TV has opened up a world of easy-access entertainment platforms where we find exactly what we want, whenever we want. Convergence has influenced our way to access media. It has created new platforms, as well as destroyed older platforms. The question we will ask our self now is what will kill the Internet/YouTube phenomenon in the future?

Words: 1,280

Unit Reader

·      Hildebrand, L: “YouTube: Where cultural memory and copyright converge”, 2007

·      Jenkins, H. “Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide”, 2006

Recommended readings

·      Shani Orgad, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. Mobile TV: Old and New in the Construction of an Emergent Technology”, 2009

Academic readings

·      Dale Cameron, Jiangchuan Liu, Xu Cheng “Understanding the Characteristics of Internet Short Video Sharing: YouTube as a Case Study” Simon Fraser University, 2007

Internet articles


The Buggeles - Video Killed the Radio Star

The Limousines – Internet Killed the Video Star

[1] Jenkins, 2006
[3] Dale, Liu, Cheng, 2007
[4] Hildebrand, 2007
[6] Orgad, 2009

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