Is the YouTube Free-For-All Over?

Categories: YouTube

jenna-marbles-screenshot.jpg
YouTube star Jenna Marbles in a recent vlog
YouTube is a wonderful tool for procrastination, but often aimless surfing can lead to unearthing new genres and artists you'd never knew even existed. In between these discoveries are always the lovably offbeat videos of amateur acoustic covers or rants about pesky day jobs that make perusing the site feel like peeking into a stranger's living room. This week, however, brought more news of the site's forthcoming paid subscription service, making it clear that this YouTube we once knew is slowly vanishing.

See also: Dirty Girls: How a Bizarre 1996 Film About Santa Monica Punk-Feminist Eighth Graders Became a YouTube Sensation

More »

Watch Beatboxer Spencer Polanco Kill 14 Genres at Once!

Categories: YouTube

SpencerPolanco560.jpg.jpg
Spencer Polanco
Ain't no Genre he can't beatbox!
Beatboxer wunderkind Spencer Polanco is proving that beatboxing is not only an element of the hip-hop culture, but that the vocal-percussive music can also serve as a diverse endurance test. The 21-year-old's latest video - "One beatboxer, 14 Genres" sees Polanco tackling 14 different styles of music with relative ease using a single take of his impressive avant garde vocal capabilities. We spoke to Polanco about the health benefits of beatboxing, as well as what it takes to slaughter 14 styles in one sitting.

See also: We Interviewed the Guys Behind the Fresh Prince Google Translated Video

More »

Dirty Girls: How a Bizarre 1996 Film About Santa Monica Punk-Feminist Eighth Graders Became a YouTube Sensation

Categories: Film, YouTube

amber2.jpg
Still from Michael Lucid's Dirty Girls
By Jennifer Swann

In high school, Michael Lucid was an artsy, friendly kid who floated around from one campus clique to the next. "I was more approachable and kids felt comfortable talking to me," he says of his time at Santa Monica's Crossroads School, where he graduated in 1996.

Because Lucid was likeable and trustworthy, his teenage peers granted him the kind of insider access into their lives that most filmmakers only dream about capturing on film. Filmmakers like Larry Clark (Kids, Wassup Rockers), Catherine Hardwicke (Lords of Dogtown, Thirteen) and Penelope Spheeris (Decline of Western Civilization, Suburbia) all launched their careers by making films that depicted the harsh realities of American teenagers' lives, but Lucid had an advantage over all of these filmmakers: he was himself a high schooler when he shot his gritty, painfully intimate documentary Dirty Girls, which has now become an instant cult sensation ever since it was uploaded to Youtube this month.

See also: Q&A: Amy Klein, a/k/a Amy Andronicus, On Her Many Side Projects, And Why "Feminism" Is A Dirty Word

More »

Why Do People Want Rick Perry To Be More "Disliked" Than Rebecca Black?

rebeccablackrickperry.jpg.jpg
You may have heard that Rick Perry's mind-meltingly horrible anti-gay campaign ad has more dislikes on YouTube than Rebecca Black's "Friday." The story has been covered by Time, the Today Show, and the Huffington Post, among many others. There's only one problem: that's not actually true. The current version of "Friday" has only been online since September, even though the Internet's interest in the song clearly dates back to March. That's because the original YouTube upload of the clip was removed in an aborted attempt to put it behind a paywall; when that didn't work, "Friday"'s creators re-upped the original clip, thus resetting the counter on views and dislikes. That current version, it's true, only has some 250k+ dislikes, less than Perry's now-400k+ figure. But before it was taken down, the original upload had more than three million dislikes, far outstripping what Perry's video has accumulated. (Some outlets got it even more wrong, trying to claim that passing Black's video made Perry's the most-disliked in YouTube history, even though two Justin Bieber clips and Black's other video have far more dislikes than Perry's.)

While some outlets have issued corrections, the "fact" has gone viral, leaving the more interesting question of why, exactly, it's important that Perry is more disliked than Black (or Bieber). On one level, of course, it's just good news for liberals, a nice confirmation that their repulsed reaction to Perry's ad is shared by lots of others. But it belies a deeper anxiety about the relationship between politics and entertainment. In the last few years, YouTube has taken a weirdly major role in our political campaigns, serving as the central clearinghouse of everything from campaign ads like Perry's to major campaign speeches, career-ending gaffes, and even presidential debates, to say nothing of all the reaction videos and remixes voters produce.

More »

Radio Hits One: Raising The Bar For "YouTube Platinum"

bieber-ludacris.jpg
Justin Bieber and Ludacris: Congratulations. A lot of people watched your video.
On August 28, MTV will throw the 2011 installment of its Video Music Awards, honoring achievements in the art form that used to make up the majority of its programming. While it's all too tempting to note the irony that the channel has been marginilizing videos in favor of longer-form programming for nearly two decades now, the fact is that the music video as a pop culture force is in good health these days, with or (more often) without MTV's support.

The internet, broadly, has helped revive excitement around the music video, but credit can be specifically given to YouTube. The music video probably reached its nadir of interest and influence around 2005, just before the site exploded into popular consciousness and made streaming video more accessible both to watch and to upload. Not only do major-label stars finally have a place for their big-budget videos to be disseminated in a mass way resembling that of MTV's heyday; new artists have an unprecedented universal portal for their own low-budget clips, a development that's launched a constellation of stars from Justin Bieber to Kreayshawn and Pomplamoose.

More »

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...