Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to one of the following: Advertising & New Media or Music Video Online.
With the advancements in technology, it has been a driving force in the evolution of the way we viewed and accessed media. As Jenkin suggests: “old media never die – and they don’t even necessarily fade away”, (Jenkins, 2006) media simply just adapts to the changing nature of our lives. Existing technologies have simply acted as a platform, a stepping stone, a phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to music videos online.
Media convergence can be defined as “the process whereby new technologies are accommodated by existing media and communication industries and cultures.” (Dwyer, 2010). It was not long ago when music was simply just audio being played on a vinyl or heard on the radio. As technology advanced it revolutionised music, not only was audio available but the ability to visualise through music videos. However, music videos prominently first hit our TV screens was 1st August 1981, when MTV first launched with Video Killed the Radio Star – Buggles. This revolutionalised the music industry and acted as a platform to communicate towards a wider audience. It changed the way we viewed music and it allowed the audience to not only experience a song by feelings but also see an interpretation of what the songwriter meant.
It was then the introduction of YouTube in 2005 which ultimately changed the way we view videos forever. Our televisions were a mere platform for the emersion for web 2.0. The internet wasn’t just a source of information anymore but driven by social change it started being a way of networking people together. YouTube being a part of this phenomenon shifted the way we viewed music videos from television boxes onto the computer screen. YouTube became a platform which allowed us to broadcast ourselves and opened a window for access to videos when and where we want. As Hilderbrand suggested “ The specific moments a viewer wants to see can now be searched and accessed without the hassles of watching live broadcasts…” (Hilderbrand, 2007). Bands and music artists were being recognized through the exposure of YouTube. Celebrities such as Justin Bieber was discovered through YouTube and has hit over 700million views. This was further made easier with the capability to the introduction of smart phones which acted as a “TV in your pocket” (Orgad, 2009). With Apple and Android users having an app already installed into your phone and the access to 3G it’s readily available on the go. YouTube allowed us to browse in search for music content when we wanted instead of waiting for it to be broadcasted on television.
“People like to share experiences – it’s not about the video it’s about the community around the video”(Hilderbrand 2007). YouTube has the ability to reach a wider audience. People are able to access the same information from anywhere around the world on the Internet. One man, Gary Brolsman marked a phenomenal moment on YouTube. People may know him as the Numa Numa guy. Here we have a man in the comfort of his on bedroom using a webcam really going at it lip-synching to Dragostea Din Tei – O-Zone. This led to a mass response to with a community of people uploading videos of them joining in lip-synching in their bedrooms which really emphasises “People like to share experiences”. As more and more of these videos appeared online Gary Walk quoted “they start look to less like an infection joke than a new cultural order. These kids aren’t mocking the Numa Numa Guy; they’re venerating him”. It allowed a way for everyday people to be seen. The Numa Numa guy would work on tv, you can’t make a half hour show on one guy singing on a webcam. YouTube presented an online platform for media convergence for these types of music videos.
Mundy suggested that “Music video seen as both a commodity and cultural form, it examines the pleasures which audience have experienced and continue to experience” (Mundy 1999). Music videos have exploded culturally. This is a prime example of Michael Jackson’s music video for Thriller released in 1982. What started off on television converged onto online and went viral on the internet. Not only was the song itself a popular hit but also the dance moves with associated with the song. It wasn’t only the audio that made up the song, but it was the video together which erupted this mass phenomenon. Even years decades later, videos were being uploaded to YouTube with people experiencing this phenomenon and dancing to the exact moves in the original video. These moves itself were ultimately tied to the song.
With the convergence of digital media from television to online, arises the issue of copyright. “YouTube has become one of the most prominent and popular sites where what’s actually legal law is being contested and potentially curtailed”. Videos pop up online as quickly as soon as they’ve just ended broadcasting, people lip-synching or have videos with background music are in violation of these copyright laws. Viacom has sued YouTube for failure to take action when Viacom clips were being uploaded to YouTube. However, with the hundreds of thousands of videos uploaded daily, it’s hard to keep track of every single video that has been uploaded.
In conclusion, what started out as music videos that can only be watched at a specific time on the television has erupted to online media. Digital media convergence has only made it easier to experience music videos. It’s impacted society and revolutionalised the way we create, distribute and access online music videos. Phenomenally, it has brought people together by sharing experiences and tying links. YouTube has acted as a community, as a mere platform for music videos. Furthermore, digital media convergence will only continue to evolve, from television screens, to computers, to phones further technological advancements will develop new ways of accessing digital media.
- Dwyer. T (2010) ‘Media Convergence’ McGraw Hill, Berkshire, pp 1-23
- Jenkins, H. (2006). ‘Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide’. New York: New York University Press. pp. 1-24.
- Hilderbrand, L. (2007) 'Youtube: Where Cultural Memory and CopyrightConverge', Film Quarterly, Vol 61, pp 48-57
- Orgad, Shani (2009) 'Mobile TV : Old and new in the construction of an emergent technology' Convergence, vol 15 no 2 pp 197-214 http://con.sagepub.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/content/15/2/197.full.pdf+html
- Mundy, J (1999) ‘Popular Music On Screen: From Hollywood Musical to Music Video’ Manchester University Press pp1-9
- 'MTV Launches'. This Day in History. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/mtv-launches
- Wesch, M. 'An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube':http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU
- Khan, S '10 Funniest YouTube Videos of All Time" List Phobia http://listphobia.com/2010/10/10/10-funniest-youtube-videos-of-all-time/