Monday, March 29, 2010

YouTube's Effect on Music

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Several years ago, I sat in my room at college, likely browsing the internet and studying, when something from CNN in the background caught my attention. It was a very brief bit on a guitar:

There were so many things about this story that captured me. Everything about the artist, broadcasting from his bedroom, the bright light hiding his identity. This was, as a young man who grew up playing guitar, thousands of people I had met at concerts and playing in the DC subways, on the street and at battles of the bands. I, and millions of other people around the world, immediately identified with this young man with no face. And let's not kid ourselves, the kid can play.

CNN gave the scoop. The kid, named Funtwo, posted the video on a battle of the bands website in South Korea. Someone enjoyed it enough to post it on YouTube. One of those alone has received over 71 million views since being uploaded 4 years ago.

And so began a new era of finding music for me. With radically new tools like youtube, I could be inspired by the guitar work of a young kid sitting in his bedroom in South Korea without a record label involved. No agents had suggested this kid wear the right clothes and be seen at the right places. And from him I began searching out for new stuff...

Those two, and funtwo, were some of my favorite youtube finds. But the most inspiring had to have been this next one. After the earthquake that shook haiti, celebrities came together and remade "We Are the World." In response, 57 ordinary artists came together on YouTube, and from different locations, put together a remake that speaks to the power of ordinary people who want to see a change in the world:

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