In the past week, we’ve been discussing Remix Culture in Social Technologies- how it’s now common practice to take established content (songs, videos etc.) and change it, or adapt it for homages/parodies.
I thought about this, and realised a good recent example would be the hit song by Korean pop Artist Psy- Gangnam Style.
Gangnam Style became popular in the UK via the the spread of the accompanying video via YouTube. As soon as the song became big, without looking for them I started noticing covers, new versions of the video etc, that were posted to the various websites and social platforms I use.
Here’s an example of a new version of the video that started appearing on multiple sites right after the song got big – ‘Oppan Navy Style.’ This version, a parody of the song called ‘Aussie Battler Style‘, was sent to me by a friend in Australia about two days later. And this one, which creates both a parody of the song and the video ‘Eton Style‘, has appeared repeatedly on my Facebook news feed in the past few days.
While there are probably thousands of new version of Gangnam Style on YouTube, these three are notable in that a lot of work has gone into this – people have spent time planning, choreographing and editing videos, writing and recording new lyrics etc. These are not big professional companies doing this, just groups of people with shared enthusiasm. And the enthusiasm and attention to detail has paid off, these are highly viewed videos.
Why do people do this? Well, you could be cynical and say that it is for the money (YouTube pays users who create videos with big views) or for the 15 minutes of fame. But then you consider how quickly popularity comes and goes online. In a few weeks, there will be a new big video with it’s own homages and parodies, and no-one will remember ‘Eton Style’ or ‘Navy Style’. I’d like to think people are really doing this for the fun of it. For the fun of using technology that’s now readily available to make the videos, and the excitement of knowing how many other people are watching it, spreading it and enjoying it. It must be kind of a rush to do that, even if it’s a once only thing.
I won’t be able to blog for a few days now (hence this weekend’s splurge) but when I get back, I’ll be watching Everything is a Remix by Kirby Ferguson, and seeing whether his views on Remix culture change my own or confirm them.