Friday, August 31, 2012

Robbie Fatt (42858550)- Assessment 1 (Online Essay)
Online Music Video (MAS110)

What is it that makes Music videos still popular? The transition from television screen to computer screen isn’t something which happened over night but the technological determinist would argue that this transition was long overdue. Technology has always been the only limiting factor in accessibility to music videos. Digital media convergence, in the form of smart phones and laptops, has completely changed user’s abilities to access such music video clips. We see how websites such as youtube have completely changed the notion of music videos as completely ‘professional’ and the accessibility of such a site has widened the industry to amateur music makers too. The transition from television to online has been accompanied by mobile TV and sites such as Vevo which distribute music videos of signed artists. Technology is the real central factor in music video distribution. The phenomenon of digital media convergence has developed the previously isolated music video industry (MTV) into a mass communication device used through the internet.

The introduction of new digital media devices in the past decade have lead to an easy accessibility to online music videos and other entertainments. The release of the iPhone in 2007 revolutionised the way in which people communicate, combining traditional and social media with mobile connectivity, changing how society produce and consume culture (Snickars 202). A 2010 survey from CTIA (International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry) reported that 91% of Americans use cell phones claiming that 24.2 billion photos, videos and audio clips had been sent from one mobile phone to another in just six months (Foresman 2010). The increasing amount of mobile phone users suggest that the way that people act socially and for entertainment has changed with the potential for a variety of different uses embodied in one device.
The universality of phones
It is the iPhone’s strong link with the major server for online music videos (the internet) that has allowed it to become a major interface for video viewing. As Creeber describes, the iPhone has become an “in-between-device” (105), that is to say, a device which can “nomadically communicate” (108) and perform as a portable temporary “fill- in” between computer dominant destinations. The vevo app on android and the music videos for itunes app on iPhone have made accessing online music videos far easier. The music video for iTunes App on iPhone is a music video channel that plays music videos of songs in your iPod library giving you a personal feel to your video choices. The converging of music and videos on one portable device allows for ease of use and unlimited accessibility. New digital media devices have allowed music video viewing to be fast, personal and on demand.
The original iPhone and its 'many apps' pretty much defined digital convergence for mobile devices.

The incredible popularity of online music videos would not be achievable without easily accessible websites and technologies. Youtube has become culturally embedded into contemporary society as a music video distributor with the ability to post original music videos and song covers which reach millions. Online music video is not only limited to the professional, as seen through Rebecca Black’s infamous rise to stardom through her viral hit video “Friday”. Her video became the quickest on youtube to reach 100 million views, breaking the most viewed music video on youtube’s (Justin Bieber’s “Baby”) record of two months and eight days (Jarboe 362). Black’s video did not have the money nor the power to become as popular as it did being labelled the “worst music video ever made” yet she reveals how social honour, accompanied by the resources of the internet, can bestow a high-status rank on individuals (Brym 135). 

Rebecca Black's infamous rise to stardom is something that did happen 'overnight'.
Youtube, through its ease of use and familiarity, has become able to blur the line between the amateur and the professional in regards to online music videos. A good example of this is the video star app on iPhone. The multiple functions of the iPhone as a recorder, camera and uploader has completely revolutionised the music video industry. The convergence of all these media platforms onto one device has made video creating for the amateur a quick and easy task. These ideas reflect Dwyer’s beliefs that media convergence is “the process whereby new technologies are accommodated by existing media and communication industries and cultures” (2).

Rebecca Black's viral music video revealed the true power of youtube as a distribution site for media content
The transition from television to online has come though with the aid of new technologies. Mobile TV has not completely evolved onto smart phones since these technologies still serve the purpose of a “snacking” device. Mobiles still seem to be an ‘on the go’ form of technology with the ‘snack’ metaphor emphasising the real differences between traditional TV viewing and mobile viewing (Orgad 205). Music video apps such as Vevo became a way for mobile users to view popular music videos online at demand. While internet connectivity is still a ‘must- have’ for music video users, the introduction of 3G networks has made online music video viewing almost at anytime, anywhere. It is the flexibility and availability of these media technologies which have allowed music videos to be shared at ease. MTV’s decline has been largely due to the fact that these newer technologies have made viewing far more personal and controlled with the viewer now able to choose videos rather than having to sit through MTV’s pick of the music videos played. For the technological determinist, it is the centrality of the internet which connects all media forms and has been the real driver for the convergence of a range of media interfaces including mobile TV.

In order to understand the way that music video has changed from television to online we must also explore the way in which society has changed in response to new media. It is through convergent media platforms such as iPhones, iPads and laptops that consumers have changed from viewing music videos on television to online. Through the internet and sites such as youtube, music videos have become open to anybody, giving them access to post their own music videos for global distribution (as seen through Rebecca Black’s “Friday”). Other technologies such as mobile TV have helped to accommodate this change from television to online. These arguments reflect that of the technological determinist; technology is the central factor which shapes society and the way consumers work.

Brym J. Robert & Lie, John. Sociology: Pop Culture to Social Structure. Cengage Learning, 2012: 135-136. Print.

Creeber, Glen & Martin, Royston. Digital Culture. McGraw- Hill International, 2008: 104-108. Print.

Dwyer, Tim. Media Convergence. McGraw- Hill International, 2010: 1-5. Print.

Farhat (2011) Chill Your Friday with Rebecca Black’s “Friday”: Rebecca Viral Video Hits 100 Million Views on YouTube. Hitechanalogy [online]. Available at: [Accessed 26 August 2012]

Foresman, Chris. (2010) Wireless Survey: 91% of Americans Use Cell Phones [online]. America: ars technica. Available at: [Accessed 28 August 2012]. 

Frontier Design Group. (2011) Video Star [online]. Available at: [Accessed 27 August 2012]

Homie, Ben (2009) 21+ Essential iPhone Apps. Suberapps [online]. Available at: [Accessed 27 August 2012].

Jarboe, Greg. YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day. John Wiley & Sons, 2011: 362. Print.

Lynch, Gerald. (2010) Kindle E-reader Gives Third World Schools an Educational Boost. TechDigest [online]. Available at: [Accessed 29 Ausgust 2012]. 

Orgad, Shani (2009) 'Mobile TV : Old and new in the construction of an emergent technology' Convergence, vol 15 no 2 pp 197 - 214

Snickars, Pelle. Moving Data: The iPhone and the Future of Media. Columbia University Press, 2012: 23. Print.

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