Remix culture: the impact of YouTube

By Jessica Costa

In Thursday’s class, we discussed the remix culture.  As its name says, the goal is to remix, to combine, to change or to improve existing works in order to create new ones.  This new form of art is used by many people, especially on YouTube.  This website, created in 2005, can be seen as a social media, but it is almost seen as a network.

Indeed, many artists have been discovered thanks to YouTube, among other celebrities Justin Bieber and Esmee Denters.  The first one started to post videos of his musical performances on YouTube, when he was 12.  In the beginning it was for his family and friends, but other people saw them and shared them.  That is how his manager spotted him, and then Usher, who he signed a contract with.  At the present time he has sold 9 million albums all over the world.  The second one has been noticed thanks to her home videos on YouTube in 2006.  She was picking famous songs up again when she signed in the Justin Timberlake’s label, Tennman Records, in 2007.  Her official channel on YouTube has now count more than 133 million views.

Here you can see 2 home videos of Justin Bieber and Esmee Denters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQOFRZ1wNLw&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cndPHeBiM3s&feature=player_embedded

YouTube also allows anonymous people to post videos online which can be seen throughout the world and enjoy some kind of celebrity.  Just think of Keenan Cahill (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm_n3hg-Gbg), or the numa numa guy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60og9gwKh1o).  Some videos have become famous, such as Charlie Bit My Finger (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM&feature=related), which has been seen more than 337 million times!  According to the Time, this video is the greatest viral video of all-time.  In fact, a “viral video” is a video which spreads cultural information very quickly and in an uncontrollable manner.  In many cases new videos are posted to respond to the original videos (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rkhbvm5YOo&feature=related).  These are called “memes”. That is how the website becomes a network.

Therefore, thanks to YouTube, people become “prosumers”: they are consumers and producers of content at the same time.  But criticisms are leveled, such as the copyright issue or the problematic content.

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