Internet killed the video star
As I was getting ready to turn off the computer, I decided to do some last minute browsing through YouTube. Wondering if there would be any drastic changes after its takeover by Google, I came across an intriguing title: internet killed the video star. A video(?) by a band that consists of members who never met in real life, yet jam together via the internet. They are called the Clipbandits. The three band members live in three different states and time zones in USA.
The principle of producing music while space and time are distant doesn’t seem new. I remember seeing Metallica in 1996 at Dynamo Open Air on stage perform via Satellite; one of the biggest disappointments of my life (almost as bad as their ‘on the road video’ Some Kind of Monster). Although I only really enjoyed their music when I was about 12 years old, I regretted not being able to be in their immediate presence, that summer a few years later.
Internet killed the video star? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to be right. I understand the reference to The Buggles. But, is internet really killing the video star? Surely you know the big alteration in the Hollywood studio/star system after The Jazz Singer was released in 1927: stars with a pretty face and elegant moves now needed a dazzling voice too. A related change occurred when video clips were added to the pop star product in the late 70’s and when MTv started broadcasting them around the clock in 1981: stars with a dazzling voice now needed a pretty face and elegant moves. Therefore the song title “Video killed the radio star” seems appropriate. “Internet killed the video star”, however, doesn’t seem to represent a comparable alteration within the cultural industry.
Internet for me seems to be another platform where musicians can screen their videos. I remember a few years ago when I was out drinking with the boys from Alamo Racetrack, a Dutch Rock band. Since last week these same guys show up incessantly on television. Turns out they got 254,000 YouTube hits with a song about a cat, recorded in a locker-room. Internet doesn’t kill the video star, it is a massive audition opportunity. Those with talent have a fair shot to get recognized and ultimately be driven around in long sleighs while being harassed by paparazzi, wreck hotel rooms and dance in front of Michel Gondry.