The Emancipation of Music Video: YouTube and the Cultural Politics of Supply and Demand

Paula Hearsum, Ian Inglis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


The connections between musical cultures and visual cultures are fundamental to an understanding of both mediums. From the advent of sound into the cinema in the 1920s, through the postwar explosion of television, and the birth of music video in the 1980s, the two have enjoyed an ‘uneasy relationship’ (which has often spilled over into the conventions of live performance) in which their production and consumption have been shaped by a variety of commercial, industrial and aesthetic influences. Within this context, we wish to argue that the significance of youtube to this relationship in recent years is best evaluated in terms of a continuing evolution rather than a sudden revolution. Clearly, the form and the content of music videos have been substantially re-written as a result of the new opportunities afforded by youtube. But, in many ways, such developments have been largely determined by transformations in the cultural politics of supply and demand, as much as by economic or technological factors. In particular, youtube provides a perfect illustration of the implications of Raymond Williams’s observation that ‘the moment of any new technology is a moment of choice’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Audiovisual Aesthetics
EditorsClaudia Gorbman, John Richardson, Carol Vernallis
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780199733866
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2013


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