In my high school days, if I wanted to see the latest music of my favorite band, I would have to be patient and hope that MTV or VH1 would screen it in the morning. It was around the time that MTV transitioned from the music video channel to proliferating the youth with gaudy Sweet 16 parties and Jersey Shore, so music videos were only shown around that time. Even though MTV slowly distanced itself from music videos, it was an interesting spectacle to watch how the pop stars or rock stars back in the day wowed their fans with their production value.
About the time I was in college, YouTube made its debut. Without waking up hoping that my favorite music video would show up on MTV, I can look for my music video and watch it on my computer. For good and bad reasons, YouTube and the Internet have changed the music video experience.
I Don’t Need My MTV
Since the debut of YouTube in 2005, access to music videos has never been easier. Although users initially spread new and old videos in the formative years, record labels found a way to take advantage of the growing usage of the site and decided to put their own videos in addition to fighting the copyright infringers a la Napster. Now it gives MTV time to free up its schedule for, among other things, shows about teenage girls getting pregnant or bringing back Beavis and Butthead.
A Haven for Independent, Up and Coming Artists
YouTube not only has given us the power to watch almost any music video when we want, where want, but it has also opened up to independent and up and coming artists who can’t get that opportunity to have their video played ad nauseam on MTV or the music video channels. Artists who have struggled to find an audience with lack of promotion can bring their creative skills on this website to gain attention and make money through YouTube partnerships. However, since YouTube has opened it up to anyone who has a camera or software to make videos, it brings us to the next point.
Anyone Can Make A Music Video
Not only did YouTube bring up and coming artists to the forefront, it also helped that it didn’t take a six-figure budget to create and promote your music video. Of course, with any groundbreaking website like YouTube, it does have its problems. While it does give it a good platform for established and up and coming artists to show off their visual talents, it seems that anyone can film for three minutes and upload it in seconds. Case in point—Lil B. As many bands and artists usually make a few music videos per album or dozen in the course of their career, this hip-hop folk hero has about—get this—300-plus music videos on his YouTube website. Nothing against the guy (he does have good tracks), but most of them don’t really have much artistic quality—in fact many of them are shoddily and hastily produced to the point of unintentional hilarity. Whether that cheapens the allure and hard work brought by the music video golden age of the 80s and 90s is anyone’s guess.
Is YouTube the gift and a curse? Do tell in the comments box: