Monday, July 19, 2010
I had missed the article for two reasons. One, I was unaware that Newsweek was still a going concern (I’m also weirded out by the new, TV Guide shape of Rolling Stone, so let’s say I have ‘issues’). Two, I can barely read.
The piece, by Ramin Setoodeh, makes some quality points. It even captured that brief sliver of time when Gaga was still ahead of Der Bieber.
The reason music videos have come back from the dead is simple. They are the perfect length—three to five minutes—for abbreviated online attention spans. They are easy to share, tweet, Facebook, and comment on. You can watch them from the comfort of your own home (or cubicle, when you’re procrastinating at work).
One thing I will add is that Setoodeh gives a decent amount of credit for the ‘revival’ of music videos to YouToogle. He also blames the standard villain for knocking MVs off of MTV – the reality show. Now I agree that once MTV realized the profits available with the Osbournes and the Sweet Sixteeners (let alone The Situation) videos were doomed on Viacom owned airwaves. But there was one villain (and I am using that word sarcastically, no one or no network ‘owes’ music videos airtime) left out of the piece – YouTube itself!
Once YouToogle unified all the disparate places people watched videos – the jig was up for MTV. Maybe the younger types don’t remember the earlier days of the web when finding videos online was almost impossible. During this era, the MTV.com site never really worked if you had a Mac. Hard to believe, but true. Assuming that this current ‘truth’ is not one of those interlocking dreams that I am waiting Juno to wake me up out of. Anyway, I digress …
Youtube came in and simplified the way we watch web videos. Search in one spot and pretty much every clip will available, and it will actually play. No more codecs or Windows Media blah-de-blahs to download. Youtube fixed all that and thus became THE place for videos on the web. Thus, YT (which always makes me think of Y&T – but that is another story for a more summah time) became the dominant place to watch videos and thus –
MTV stopped running them. Once any music video I want is available, ANY time I want it on the Internet – why do I watch a block of clips on MTV? The answer is: I don’t. If you’re a fan of My Chemical Romance, you don’t watch clips for Drake, drumming your fingers on your step-mom’s coffee table – you click on your computing device (hint: it’s disguised as a phone) and watch the desired MCR music video immediately.
When I was younger it made sense to sit through Pointer Sister videos to see the hoochie girls in short skirts get out of the car in that ZZTop video. There was no other way to see scantily clad women, or, for that matter ZZTop videos.
But in 2010, the internet does a great job of chopping our media consumption into smaller and smaller niches. If I want to read internet postings just from fans of MCR – I can do that. I can wall myself off in a narrow alley packed just with ideas I have heard a million times before (Hiya, Fox News). Or I can explore new artists and videos based on suggestions from my friends, or just based on what catches my Ritalin tempered attention span. That is how people see new videos now, and the benefit is that as soon as the song or the video starts to bore me - I can click away to something else. Under no circumstances am I going to sit in front of a television, watch through a whole video of an artist I don’t like, in the hopes that the next clip (that I also didn't choose myself) will just happen to be something I like. That channel has been changed long, long ago.
YouTube may now be ‘saving’ videos (If you consider $40k budgets for established pop acts to be ‘salvation’) – but first YouTube did a hell of a job kicking music videos in the nuts and ending video blocks on the biggest outlet, MTV. So for that, YouToogle, I say, umm, ‘thanks?’
Read the whole Newsweek article - here.