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发布时间:2017-02-08  | 点击数:1703

Can YouTube be seen as a phenomenon of mass culture

Introduction

Nowadays, with the development of internet, popular website like YouTube gradually becomes a necessity of people’s life. As an entertainment website, YouTube is one of the most well-known and widely discussed sites of participatory media in the contemporary online environment, and it is the first genuinely mass-popular platform for user-created video (Burgess, J., & Green, J., 2013). At the same time, mass culture has been flourishing since it was created. Mass culture refers to the culture which is produced, generated and appreciated by the masses. The alternative term­­ ­­mass culture conveys the idea that such culture emerges spontaneously from the masses themselves, like popular art did before the 20th century (Adorno, T. & Rabinbach, A., 1975, pp. 12-19). It has several features, such as: the attribute of the commercialization, the spread of media, the daily work of beauty-appreciation and the popularity of fun and interest. Towards these aspects, YouTube has its own reflections and embodiment. Thus, YouTube can be seen as a phenomenon of mass culture. This essay consists of seven paragraphs, the first paragraph gives the general status of YouTube and mass culture, the second paragraph introduces the organization of the essay, the next four paragraphs analyze the connection between YouTube and mass culture, which are based on mass culture’s four features, and the last paragraph gives out the conclusion.

YouTube is on the way of obtaining its commercialization attribute

With the improvement of industrial productivity, people’s living environment and living quality has climbed to a much higher level. As people gain more considerable economic income and leisure time, cultural consumption becomes a general and growing need, which creates a realistic possibility for the production and development of mass culture. As a consumptive commodity, mass culture is provided by the mass productive facilities and consumed by the masses. The productive facilities can be film studios, television stations, radio stations, newspaper producers, magazine producers or websites. As a result, cultural products are no longer just the products of  writers and artists’ individual creation, but the result of the industrial productions. From creative planning, financing, production to promote distribution and actual consumption, cultural product enters the market just as a kind of mass products of industrial production. Therefore, it must follows the commercial rules of economy, with the goal of pursuing commercial value. If culture enterprise’s profit goals cannot be achieved, its running process will inevitably be affected, which may leads to the loss, closure or even bankruptcy of cultural enterprise.

 

On the one hand, just like other video websites, YouTube’s original and traditional profit pattern is providing free videos and making money through inserting advertisements into the videos. These advertisements fee supports its running and brings profits to it. On the other hand, on October 2015, YouTube came up with the pay channel for its users. YouTube's goal is not to produce original programs like what Netflix has done, nor to prop up one or two channels, but to be the cable TV network in the Internet. As Sarah Kaman, the chief executive of the YouTube talked about the possibility of drawing lessons from low-end cable networks, accumulating enough users in the network for subscription fees to meet distributors had great difficulty. But the on-line offering could provide a more direct platform for these TV networks and present the products to the audience at a lower price. YouTube clearly represents a disruption to existing media business models and is emerging as a new site of media power (Burgess, J., & Green, J., 2013). Regardless of the output and results of YouTube’s pay channel, its profit pattern has met the criterion of mass cultures. Generally speaking, YouTube’s advertisement industry and pay channel’s building accord with mass culture’s feature of commercialization. As a result, in this aspect, YouTube can be seen as a phenomenon of mass culture.

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