Friday, August 31, 2012

42868416 - Joel Evans

YouTube and Convergent Media:

How Convergence has evolved Music Video

Many have claimed that with the demise of MTV’s devotion to music video, music television and music videos in general have simply become extinct. However the music industry is still producing music videos, but the ways in which the content is created, distributed and consumed has evolved from a primarily televisual means into a diverse online industry. Music industry professionals and music artists have had to rethink and reinvent the ways in which they create music videos, in order to adapt to distribution online. The convergence of media technologies has been particularly instrumental in placing the tools of production into the hands of the users, giving rise to a new participatory culture in music video.

The music industry has had to adapt the ways in which it creates music videos to accommodate for the parameters of online viewing. Audiences are constantly bombarded with choices online, so a music video needs to capture the attention of a user, to make them want to click on it and watch the entire video. As argued by Meikle and Young, the strategy around the creation and distribution of media content, has been to cultivate audience “attachment and engagement” (2012, 108). The appeal of a Lo Fi approach is that these music videos offer a quirky and original experience, and it is from this category of music video that videos typically go viral through social media. Hilderbrand lists OK Go’s music video for “Here I Go Again” as third on the list of viral videos that make up the essence of a YouTube “canon” (2007, 36). The video received over 14 000 000 (YouTube, accessed 29th August 2012) views and has inspired a hoard of parodies since its debut. It is videos such as this that are a testament to the impact of technological convergence on media creation professionally. MTV and music television would never have regarded this video as being of the quality necessary for broadcasting; however Lo Fi videos are friendly to data streaming and bandwidth. Convergent media and digitalisation have nurtured the perfect means by which Lo Fi music videos could flourish in unprecedented ways, and artists such as OK Go have responded by embracing these changes.

"Here it Goes Again" by OK Go...

Moreover, in addition to creating Lo Fi videos, the industry has also adapted its creation of Hi Fi spectacle videos for online audiences. The concept of the spectacle has survived digitalisation, and the supposed death of music television. Beebe and Middleton argue that online music spectacles have exceeded the limitations of music television (2007, 3). Online distribution has lifted the restrictions of time slots, and opened up the creative scope for those creating spectacular music videos. In the tradition of Michael Jackson’s short film approach with Thriller, Katy Perry released her own spectacle music video “Last Friday Night” online.  It debuted on the website Funny or Die, Katy Perry’s social media pages and then on her own YouTube channel; KatyPerryVEVO. “Last Friday Night” was a phenomenal success on YouTube, attracting over 188 000 000 views (YouTube, accessed 29th August 2012). This video illustrates the industrial convergence of the film and music industries, and the successful results of utilising convergent media to distribute official music videos. Although “Last Friday Night” is considered a spectacle, the video is easy is replicate like Lo Fi videos, as is evidenced by the crude parody “Last Sunday Night.” Thus the concept of a spectacle has evolved within the music industry. New spectacles are aiming to converge the capacity for replication and original experiences offered by Lo Fi music videos, and offer the same glossy appearance of the traditional spectacle.

"Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry

"Last Sunday Night" A parody by Steve Dawson

Technological convergence has moulded various media technologies into single devices, which has been instrumental in the rise of participatory culture. The wide availability of media technologies in the contemporary world has led to the blurring of lines between audience and producer. According to Jenkins these two players in the media market operate under completely new sets of rules in relation to the creation of media content (2006).  Everyone with a computer, or an iPad and iPhone can interact with and respond to media. With the appropriate software and equipment fans are creating their own music videos either by filming them themselves, or by editing together a series of video clips with a particular song. Not only does this converge the role of user and producer, but it also creates a cross industry interaction between music and video content. A YouTube user Brokendoll7 uploaded a music video combining clips from the 2005 film “Pride and Prejudice" with Hoobastank’s song “The Reason”. Meikle and Young argue that such activity amongst fans has become more widely “mainstream and accepted” (2012, 108). Such activity is an ever-growing trend on YouTube, where users recognise the relevance of a film to a particular song, and repurpose both of these media to create a new experience. Other users on YouTube or other video sharing sites can then seek out these fan made videos, to satisfy their interest in either the song or the film in a new and meaningful way. Furthermore Dwyer sees participatory culture as a double sided coin, acting as both a blessing and a challenge. Dwyer argues that participatory culture gives rise to issues of copyright and lost profits through the uploading of copyrighted content (2010, 11). However most of these uploads are forms of creative expression, and as noted in the case of the “Pride and Prejudice” video all the rightful owners are acknowledged in the videos description.

Embedding Disabled on "Pride and Prejudice - The Reason"
To view see the link in references.

In conclusion convergence has not meant the downfall of music video. As Jenkins states “old media never die” (2006, 13) and this is true for music video. The media form has merely evolved in response to the changes in technology and culture introduced by convergence. Studios and professionals have had to alter the ways in which they create music videos to accommodate for the changes introduced by convergence. Participatory culture is a phenomenon brought about by the convergence of media technologies, and has significantly influenced the uprising of a fan culture in the creation, distribution and consumption of music videos.

Reference List

Unit Reader:

Dwyer, T. (2010) 'Media Convergence' McGraw Hall, Berkshire, pp1-23

Hilderbrand, L. (2007), 'Youtube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright Converge', Film Quarterly, Vol 61, pp. 48-57

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. p. 11, New York University Press

Recommended Reading:
Meikle, G., Young (2012), Media Convergence: Networked Digital Media in Everyday Life, Palgrave Macmillan, Great Britain

Independent Reading:
Beebe, R., Middleton, J. (2007), Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones, Duke University Press, United States of America

Real World Examples:
Brokendoll37 (2008) “Pride and Prejudice – The Reason, Fan made video on YouTube

Katy Perry (2010) "Last Friday Night", music video on Youtube

OK Go, “ Here it Goes Again” (2009), music video on
Shane Dawson (2010) “Last Sunday Night”, parody on YouTube

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