Sunday, November 2, 2008

Video Killed the radio star

You gotta love YouTube; a person could spend a lot of time trawling through thousands of videos of anything under the sun. Whether or not this is a good thing will be left up to history, for all we know it could be one of those things, like the hole in the ozone layer, which causes mankind to re-evaluate itself or not as the case might be. In the not so many years since You Tube has become a mainstay of the internet, fighting a close battle for popularity with Google, Wikepedia and social networks, it has introduced to anyone with access to a computer, miles of performances that would otherwise have been left moldering in an archive somewhere.

“Video killed the radio star”, these words were to prove prophetic as this first video screened by MTV when the station went on the air in August 1981. The launch of MTV, then only broadcast to about a thousand televisions in New Jersey, was to revolutionise the music industry, just as radio had several generations before. Now you didn’t only need a good voice or song to have mass appeal, you had to have a whole marketing department who would create the appropriate image that would appeal visually. There are many singers and bands around today that would never have made it if their success were to be based on people just hearing them as opposed to seeing them complete with dance routine or hot video.

Over the years MTV and its sister station VH1 have become diluted with talk, reality shows, pretty much everything but music videos and You Tube in a way has filled the void, the difference is, anyone with a video camera, or these days with a mobile phone can post things on-line through the magic of the internet. Sometimes things that have no place being out in the public domain but apparently for all our progress we’ve also lost our social controls and our ability to understand boundaries. Privacy and decency it seems have become those words you have to look up in a dictionary but not all of it is bad and some gems that might otherwise never be seen again, have made their way into cyberspace.

In the last few weeks I’ve found myself, rediscovering a lot of the music and music videos and finding new things via You Tube. That’s what really fuelled all those retrospective blogs that I’ve been writing. Well, not only that, I’ve been going to a lot of funerals of late and wondering when I became a spectator not so much an active participant of life. Finding the videos of those huge events of my youth brought back a bunch of memories. If you’ve ever experienced real depression, as opposed to the kind where applications of chocolate and sitting around in front of the TV work, you’ll understand how much you want to slap someone when they tell you to “snap out of it”. And so it is with memories that you lock away deep, so that they don’t have any power over you anymore, that’s what this has been all about. If my experiences can help someone else over the hump then so much the better.


Gabriela García Calderón said...

I'm pretty sure your experiences help others over the hump then so much the better. Reading you makes me feel much better!

Marcus the Coffedude said...

I love youtube. I sit for hours with the boys huddled around me playing old 80s new wave, heavy metal and punk rock music. My oldest sons faves are 'dancing with myself' (billy idol) and 'melt with you' (modern english) . Hes only 6 but he has already a healthy appreciation for music! However, they both think that "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath (of course with ozzy) is the ultimate song and video.

Inevitably the 3 year old elbows in, takes command of the mouse and before long "c is for cookie" or "cookie monster visit the library" is playing. Such is a typical sunday afternoon in my house.

Speaking of sesame street and Youtube...look up Norah Jones and Feist (1234.famous through the ipod ad) guesting on sesame street. It brings tears to the eyes of anyone weaned on this influential show.

Marcus the Coffedude said...

opened up a bag of Starbucks Sumatra Blend, extra bold whole beans this morning and thought of the coffeewallah's blog right away. Am in coffee heaven!

Coffeewallah said...

Dude, you rock!