Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Embracing Convergence Culture

In re-reading Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture, I have been left to ponder YouTube anew.  Now that YouTube has worn off some of its newness and novelty, some other trends are starting to form.  Yes, YouTube is still a place of cat videos and kids messing around with cameras, but the emergence of truly independent music artists is striking.  Because Apple is now letting YouTubers selling itunes of their musical creations, the distribution hierarchy of music has the potential of being side-stepped.  Many of these musicians are participating in convergence culture, they are remixing popular music and showing off their talent by performing popular songs.  In many instances, I enjoy these YouTube musicians' performances much more than the originals.  Musicians that normally wouldn't get noticed or perhaps would get bypassed by record labels because they don't fit the pop music "type" can easily find a fan following. 

I don't want to sound overly optimistic.  I have spent enough time on YouTube to know that there are also a lot of not very talent musicians out there.  Yet, I find the more I spend time with mainstream media, the more I become disillusioned and unsatisfied, and look to other sources, particularly YouTube to find something that fits with my sensibilities.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! I agree that Youtube offers an escape from what feels (and is) recycled, tired, profit-guaranteed music. What I find troubling, however, is that Youtube performers and viewers, as alt as they are or want to feel, form their own normative of what's good (HD camera, professional equipment, fancy software) and what's bad (webcam, no equipment, remedial software). In a sense, they and their fan base are just replicating the same capitalist system they just couldn't access before.

    Still, it's egregious to equate Youtube to gated corporations like MTV or Capitol Records, so I can appreciate the efforts an artist - especially an artist of color - ends up taking, even if it's a bit problematic because hey: artists need to eat, too.

    Anyway, I'm like you. I'm lately watching more and more skits and shows and performances by regular people on Youtube, and I love it. Looking forward to more great posts!