feb 26

The Death of Video Culture

Although I'm certainly not the only one who has been aggravated by the increasing appearance of the "This video is no longer available" message from YouTube, I didn't know how to quantify my frustration. So I decided to do a little test... do you remember Pitchfork's 100 Awesome Music Videos post from last summer? There was a brief moment where these types of posts opened our eyes to the potential of a new form of curatorial criticism of video, with a mashup of moving illustrations that were controlled by users. Suddenly, you could image whole new ways to conceive of writing about the history of visual culture. Now, just months later, that vision has been practically erased, as over half of the clips from the above post have been removed from YouTube -- to be exact, 54 of 100 are gone (I counted). I try not to be polemic about these matters on this blog, but I find it hard to believe this is good for anyone -- artist, label, critic, fan, and, especially, the marketplace of ideas.


I haven't counted but I would bet that most of the 100 videos are on YouTube somewhere even if the links from the article are now broken. Maybe it's just a sign that the idea of a fixed link is dead replaced by the knowledge that the information is out there and a search function.

posted by Alex at 9:25 AM on February 26, 2007

I agree with Alex -- you can probably find most of those vids on Dailymotion, Bolt, etc. -- and the fact that the vids are gone is more proof how much we've come to rely on YouTube. The more attention alternative vid marketplaces get attention (I like Democracy player), the better off consumers will be.

posted by Steve Bryant at 10:13 AM on February 26, 2007

If YouTube becomes temporary storage, then it will become useless and fade away. Supposedly record companies require the artists to pay for the creation of their videos - why don't the artists post them someplace permanent?

posted by Michal Migurski at 12:06 PM on February 26, 2007

Alex: No, I don't think that's true. Search for something on YouTube that you used to see and it's no longer there. At all.

Steve: That's perhaps true, but that's still a) untenable if they keep disappearing and b) annoying to maintain if you have to search multiple sites. And if they disappear from those sites in a couple months, what's the point?

posted by Rex at 12:20 PM on February 26, 2007

I noticed this recently happen with all the nominated Oscar shorts.

Some forward-thinking filmmakers posted their stuff (I recall almost all the short animations were online), but after the awards show last night, I noticed they were all removed from Youtube and Google Video.

Short films have no venue, and don't make money for the creators. By taking them down, they're killing their already minuscule audience.

I would have loved to see the winning animation, but last night after following links in three places that once hosted it, they were all gone.

posted by Matt Haughey at 1:10 PM on February 26, 2007

Hey, Matt - the Oscar-winning short animation is available right now at Google Video, link to be found here.

posted by Karsten at 4:51 PM on February 26, 2007

@Karsten : this video is currently not available, try again later

posted by anon at 8:26 PM on February 26, 2007

That's what you get for playing with the 'Big Boys' who only care about their bottom line as opposed to the content creators. Come, play with the long tail at http://mefeedia.com and http://Blip.tv. Seriously. Retain more control over your creations. Don't take "No" for an answer.

posted by Jan / The Faux Press at 7:18 AM on February 27, 2007

for the life of me , i cant see who benefits from the removal of tracks like Wire's "Kidney Bingoes" - an obscure 80s track, but a great tune that deserves a wider audience. and now its gone.

it certainly doesnt benefit the band Wire.

posted by mister scruff at 7:26 AM on February 27, 2007

And this is coz Pitchfork do not uploaded those videos, otherwise his account in YouTube had been removed.

For us 160 were gone... the work of a year and a half.

posted by Razorbuzz at 12:14 PM on February 27, 2007

Let's not forget that YouTube is a commercial entity and they have no interest in culture, history, education, or curation, corporations are simply entities that maximize shareholder value. If we want to preseve videos for cultural, historical, educational, or curatiorial purposes, then we need to take a proactive role in making those videos that are important to us available in places like archive.org which is committed to making materials available for non-commercial purposes. This is has been the mission of archives and libraries over the centuries, with archive.org taking a lead in the digital age. We as a community have to take responsibility and take a proactive approach to preservation of important cultural artifacts.

posted by David Tames at 1:38 PM on February 27, 2007

I somehow think people are now missing the point. The leap that YouTube made wasn't to simply provide storage space -- anyone can do that. YouTube made video searchable, embeddable, mixable.

posted by Rex at 1:59 PM on February 27, 2007

Incidentally, my favorite multi-site video search tools are at Vodpod.com and Meeve.com. Anyone have others?

posted by Nick Douglas at 8:21 PM on February 27, 2007

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