Wednesday, December 5, 2012

YouTube, The Music Industry & Free Labor Friction

A year after Terranova's Network Culture was publish in 2004, YouTube was founded. A Nielsen study released this year (Music 360) shows that YouTube is growing in popularity as the dominant way people discover or listen to music. YouTube was not the first option for self distribution of music and videos, and certainly still is not the only one. It's also not particularly designed or marketed to be a music sharing tool, but many of its characteristics (accessibility, low cost, short media focus, etc.) caused the masses and the music industry to use it as such.
Is watching an advertisement before a song on YouTube a form of Terrnova's "free labor"? What if these advertisement take the place of the cost of purchasing a physical album or even a digital single, is that beneficial to the masses but not the musician or industry? But then again perhaps this also means there is less illegal piracy which brought less many than advertising?
I hope to use the Neilsen report and other contemporary YouTube/Music Industry articles and findings to understand what has changed in the music industry since YouTube (and certain other internet music sites, as they overlap). I then hope to weave together my findings with Terranova's "Free Labor" chapter of Network Culture as well as Tsing's Friction to understand how the multidimensional contact between the masses, the music industry, the musicians, and the internet (especially through YouTube) create friction, and perhaps who the results of the friction seem to be favoring.

[Other websites I have researched and may discuss include Vimeo, Pitchfork, HypeMachine, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, and maybe even MySpace if you remember can that far back. Quotes from the Dis/Empowerment unit readings relating to democratization of crowd communication may jump into my paper if I can transliterate them from applying to the politically suppressed to applying to people choosing and supporting their favorite tunes.]

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