Media Convergence Essay
Hannah Watt – 42467357
Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to Music Video Online.
An art made by the people, and for the people, as a happiness to the maker and the user. That is the only real art there is, the only art, which will be an instrument to the progress of the world, and not a hindrance - William Morris, The Art of the People, 1879.
In today’s modern world, expansive technological innovations and advancements have facilitated the convergence of old and new media platforms, which in turn has allowed for the streaming of online music videos. Media convergence “is the process whereby new technologies are accommodated by existing media and communication industries and cultures” (Dwyer, 2010). The Internet and more recently, smart phone devices have been some of the largest contributors to the media convergence phenomenon; allowing a vast range of media platforms such as print, video and audio to become almost instantaneously accessible from nearly anywhere in the world; furthermore completely changing the way in which we, as an audience, absorb information.
As individuals, we are able to distribute media content through social and participatory sites, in turn exposing and advertising the artist and creator of the music video. The aptitude to share numerous video links allows people to enjoy similar music tastes as well as being able to engage in poly-platform infer structure.
Viewing music videos via the television was once in itself a part of ordinary life. Tuning into programs such as ‘Video Hits’, ‘MTV’ and ‘Count Down’ on a Saturday morning provided access to the latest music videos for audiences, with uninterrupted content in promotion of musicians and artists. As music videos became less profitable and are now accessed online by consumers, programs such as ‘Rage’ responded to the technological trends and convergences, creating a smart phone application and webpage that shared a connection with participatory and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Media industries are constantly changing structurally due to emerging trends and technological advancements.
The merging of Google and YouTube in 2006 is a palpable example of new world media convergence and is now listing YouTube as a “popular cultural phenomenon…with the ability to facilitate participatory cultures” (Burgess, 2009). This collaboration has greatly impacted the music industry through millions of people gaining access to online music videos, in turn simultaneously advertising and promoting music artists.
YouTube is a highly recognisable online music video search engine due to its ‘informal’ database for all types of content such as television previews, amateur/home videos and music videos. It allows users to upload clips where anyone can view, rate, comment and share content, through web pages such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogger. As a result of this reign of accessibility, Youtube.com has become the second most popular site on the Internet and to this day, is one of the largest examples of online media convergence.
As a result of media convergence and societal trends, You Tube has now become a portable application through smart phones – “The always on, always connected and always with us smart device facilitates a new vernacular of the now” (Vickers, 2012); making music videos easily accessible to consumers. Audiences are “empowered by these new technologies” (Jenkins, 2006) and are able to re-appropriate and redistribute content in the form of recordings, amateur videos or concert footage that converge online through network infrastructure. Meikle and Young suggest that ‘the significant characteristic of contemporary media [such as YouTube] is not just that they are digital but that they are also networked, enabling complex relationships of two-way communication” (2012).
Beyonce - Single Ladies (original)
Re-appropriation of original music video created by a YouTube user
Above: example of the features of YouTube e.g. appropriation
With the phenomenon of the new, come new problems arising from unprecedented territory. You Tube features unauthorized hyperlinks for music videos as well as appropriations and parodies of music videos created by its users. Problems that may come about are in alignment with copyright laws where owners of videos have the right of publication in return, offering music videos, moreover benefiting the artist in that they are able to be in control of profitable revenue and how the video content may be distributed. “By exploring a model of participation we have moved away from the authorship of a single person towards mass authorship and a collaborative montage vision, of not just technology but creativity” (Vickers, 2012).
YouTube’s dependency lies in the hands of mainstream media sources as its foundation is formed by new content being continuously uploaded, in order to remain up to date and most importantly, to remain within the current stream. Live broadcasts such as celebrity television appearances and concerts are uploaded almost instantaneously to the YouTube page; It is thus so that for the music industry to be targeting mass audiences, the prominent media platform to access music videos will, in the future, remain as Television. The downside to this climate is that participatory culture may be seen as a threat to commercial media and music producers, who desire primary control over their intellectual property. However, on the contrary, consumers may also be optimistic about promoting the work of music artists and bringing them into mainstream media and popularity.
Over the course of the past decade, the media landscape has changed exponentially with the development of the Internet, in turn ensuring and establishing the infrastructures for the current media convergent environment. As discussed by Hilderbrand, it is evident that through the technological advancements of programs such as the Internet, Google and YouTube, expectations for availability and accessibility have been greatly accelerated (2007) within society creating a higher demand for a more expansive range of content and at a faster rate.
As the process of media convergence continues, we will come to see a vast range of improvements and advancements within the world of online music videos. As the media convergent environment expands, develops and becomes more independent, we will come to see vast changes within the online music video industry. The question left to ask is that as these changes occur, who will profit and how will industries, including the music industry remain profitable?
Burgess J, Green J (2009) ‘YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture’, Polity Press.
Dwyer T (2010) ‘Media Convergence’, McGraw Hill, Berkshire, Pp. 1-23
Hilderbrand L (2007) ‘YouTube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright Converge’ in Film Quarterly, Vol. 61, Pp. 48-57
Jenkins H (2006) ‘Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide’, New York, University Press, Pp. 1-24
Meikle, G, and Young, S (2012) Media Convergence: Networked Digital Media in Everyday Life, Palgrave Macmillan.
Vickers, R (2012) “Convergence Media, Participation Culture and the Digital Vernacular: Towards the Democratization of Documentary”,
Pp. 105-108, [Online] http://www.cmdconf.net/2012/makale/19.pdf