Internet killed the video star

By: Roman Tol
On: October 20, 2006
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About Roman Tol
Roman Tol is an Ecommerce specialist. Both techical and as a marketeer. Hands on and with vision. Keyword: Innovation.


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.

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7 Responses to “Internet killed the video star”
  • October 20, 2006 at 4:35 am

    I’m not sure how much this band actually thought about what they meant by “Internet killed the video star,” but my hunch is that it doesn’t reference making “music videos” per se obsolete, but perhaps rather the existing structure of music videos being only shown via MTV, VH1, and whatever video TV channels exist around the world for various locales. And videos only being available for bands that are “big” enough (read: pretty enough, with good enough publicists, with catchy enough directorial styles) to be on those channels.

    For me, Internet has killed the TV star, and I think that’s the case for many of the 20-35 cohort, at least people who use the internet socially or for any sort of media consumption. This is anecdotal, but often when I’m browsing MySpace profiles I see that on page after page, the line under Interests for Television has been completed with something like “TV-free since 2003,” “TV makes you stupid,” “sucks,” “is what?” “turn off,” etc. I know a ton of people who don’t have a TV in their household, or if they do, they only use it for watching movies. I don’t have any hard evidence to show that this is related to the abundance of similar content you can get online (after all, American TV really *does* suck, by and large), but I doubt they’re unrelated.

    So Internet killed the MTV music video star, might have been more appropriate.

  • October 20, 2006 at 10:45 am

    A bit of shameless self promotion: a few days ago I photographed Alamo Race Track’s showcase for their new album, which is excellent.

    But to comment on “Internet killed the MTV music video star” I think the opposite is true. The band Ok Go with their treadmill video received a lot of airplay on MTV and TMF due to their popular low budget video clip on YouTube. I think MTV is watching YouTube closely and they should.

    And bands such as the Artic Monkeys became famous thanks to MySpace which hooked them up with record companies which are able to pay for their videoclips.

  • October 20, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    The Ok Go video is a very good example yeah, but one of the main issues with the Internet stars is: As soon as one idea is launched and is a success, thousands of others copy the idea (like the Ok Go video for example). So the “idea-hypes” are very short lived, and copied so many times.

  • October 20, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    Walter Benjamin?

  • October 21, 2006 at 12:36 am

    Exactly :)

  • January 23, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    […] the site exceptionally attractive for early musicians. In previous posts on this blog (here and here) I have written about the promotion function of YouTube and its role as conservator of artistic […]

  • January 23, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    […] site exceptionally attractive for early musicians. In previous posts on this blog (also here and here) I have written about the promotion function of YouTube and its role as conservator of artistic […]

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