Articles on this Page
- 08/14/13--12:27: _Prince joins Twitte...
- 08/15/13--07:00: _Why YouTube is the ...
- 08/15/13--10:32: _Best GIF-bot ever s...
- 08/16/13--04:41: _PewDiePie becomes t...
- 08/16/13--06:47: _AMA hero Aaron Paul...
- 08/16/13--11:51: _Lady Gaga fans offe...
- 08/17/13--08:00: _The complete guide ...
- 08/19/13--12:06: _Podcasting stars us...
- 08/20/13--06:00: _Meet Love Me Cat, Y...
- 08/20/13--11:38: _Behind the scenes o...
- 08/20/13--14:03: _Meet Lee Newton, th...
- 08/21/13--06:33: _Alexis Ohanian's da...
- 08/21/13--07:00: _How the Internet's ...
- 08/21/13--09:18: _YouTube's 'Fred,' L...
- 08/21/13--11:06: _The first viral pro...
- 08/21/13--12:28: _Maker Studios buys ...
- 08/21/13--13:42: _Isolating vocals fr...
- 08/21/13--15:53: _Comedian goes aroun...
- 08/22/13--06:00: _Remember your top 8...
- 08/22/13--07:54: _Rogue bull charges ...
- 08/14/13--12:27: Prince joins Twitter, takes amazing selfie
- 08/15/13--07:00: Why YouTube is the new Hollywood
- 08/15/13--10:32: Best GIF-bot ever spews out random scenes from HBO's "The Wire"
- 08/16/13--04:41: PewDiePie becomes the most subscribed channel on YouTube
- 08/16/13--06:47: AMA hero Aaron Paul gave out awards to his favorite redditors
- 08/17/13--08:00: The complete guide to James Bond's wardrobe
- 08/19/13--12:06: Podcasting stars use Kickstarter to give away 1,000 ice cream cones
- 08/20/13--06:00: Meet Love Me Cat, YouTube’s self-obsessed feline talk show host
- 08/20/13--11:38: Behind the scenes of 'MyMusic' with Benny Fine
- 08/20/13--14:03: Meet Lee Newton, the new country heartbreaker on 'MyMusic'
- 08/21/13--06:33: Alexis Ohanian's dark prophecy: 'We screwed up the Internet'
- 08/21/13--09:18: YouTube's 'Fred,' Lucas Cruikshank, comes out as gay
- 08/21/13--12:28: Maker Studios buys Blip.tv, unchains itself from YouTube
- 08/22/13--06:00: Remember your top 8? 50 terribly dated songs about Myspace
- 08/22/13--07:54: Rogue bull charges highway cars in Spain
But yesterday, there seemed to be more Prince-related activity on Twitter than usual. It looked like PRINCE 3RDEYEGIRL had been verified. A Twitter Music rep confirmed it was him. The deluge commenced.
Prince isn’t known for being especially social-media savvy. (He once called the Internet a fad.) But he’s quickly figuring out this whole Twitter game.
His avatar for 3RDEYEGIRL, which looks to be a new musical project he’s working on, shows him wearing a sleeping mask, holding a finger to his lips, surrounded by three beautiful girls. So, he seems to be in his natural habitat, on an astral plane over Funkytown.
There were other highlights:
His first selfie.
He posted the requisite food photo.
He shouted out 2 tha ladies, or perhaps the ladies in his new band, 3RDEYEGIRL:
A GIRL WITH A GUITAR IS 12 TIMES BETTER THAN ANOTHER CRAZY BAND OF BOYS http://t.co/Jq99Tj3B8G— PRINCE 3RDEYEGIRL (@3rdeyegirl) May 24, 2013
So far, Prince has more than 45,000 followers. Naturally, he follows no one.
Photo via PeterTea/Flickr
You would have thought Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were inside.
The scene at the Anaheim Convention Center last weekend for VidCon had all the markings of tabloid fanaticism—screaming fangirls, flashing camera phones, and long autograph lines—as roughly 11,500 attendees elbowed toward a closer look at their favorite YouTube stars.
The fourth annual convention offered a glimpse of the potentially rich and Internet famous, a generation of artists crafting careers from their bedrooms. Your parents might not be able to pick them out of a lineup, but at VidCon, celebrities like Grace Helbig and Hank Green are not only big stars—they’re game-changers, too, changing the way people think of entertainment.
It was there that Helbig announced her new movie with fellow vloggers Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart, Camp Takota, which will be released by the video-sharing site Chill—no theater or studio necessary. Likewise, Green, one of the cofounders of VidCon, promoted Subbable, a crowdfunded subscription service intended to support webseries. Both projects show the power that comes with first establishing a core audience online, one that’s connected and willing to financially support independent ideas.
In that regard, VidCon captured the paradigm shift the industry is facing, where the gap between YouTube and Hollywood is blurred at best. That can be seen in everything from AwesomenessTV’s teen empire (70,000 channels and 1.2 billion views), Annoying Orange’s Cartoon Network success, and YouTube fast-food critic Daym Patterson’s new Travel Channel show. Six million people may watch an NBC sitcom, but 53 million will watch the new Jenna Marbles video.
“We've taken the TV network model,” said Benny Fine, co-creator of popular YouTube shows Kids React and MyMusic, “and built a deeper experience more in line with how today's generation expects to view content.”
In 2013, YouTube is the new Hollywood.
The rise of the channels
YouTube was once viewed as a springboard to success. Now it’s the marker.
“You can lift yourself up by your video-making bootstraps and become a big sensation,” surmised George Watsky.
He would know. The poetry-slam veteran turned one viral hit, 2011’s “Pale kid raps fast,” into a career. His last album, this year’s Cardboard Castles, which he promoted through a YouTube webseries, sold 24,000 copies on iTunes. He’s sold out Irving Plaza and started his own production company, Steel Wool Entertainment. At VidCon, he was trailed by a group of teenage fans, all glittering braces and shaky hands.
Watsky’s career runs parallel to the changes seen in YouTube itself. Once seen primarily as a hub for one-off amateur videos (see “Charlie Bit My Finger”), the Google-owned site made a push for high-quality channels built around breakout talent—reportedly investing $300 million on original programming—with an emphasis on subscribers over individual video views.
“[People] were just uploading videos because they were playing around and no one really knew [the potential],” reflected Shira Lazar, host of YouTube talk show What’s Trending.
With time, a sort of “YouTube star structure” took shape, led by the likes of comedian Shane Dawson and iJustine, who reviews Apple products. There’s also something resembling a TV guide. Fans know when to tune into shows like Hannah Hart’s cooking series My Drunk Kitchen or Ray William Johnson’s daily wrapup, Equals 3. Where in the past, a teenager might tune into ABC at 8pm to watch Boy Meets World, now they know Daily Grace (Helbig) is going to respond to their comments on Tuesdays and teach them how to do something on Thursdays.
These stars aren’t necessarily churning out content from a studio system, either. Hank Green, who lives in Missoula, Mon., stressed at VidCon that YouTube makes it possible for talented personalities to be “discovered,” even if they’re just working out of their bedrooms. Just look at Jon Cozart, a pop singer and student at the University of Texas at Austin, who has more than 1 million subscribers, or 19-year-old Lucas Cruikshank, better known as Fred Figglehorn. From Columbus, Neb., he spun his series about a 6-year-old boy with anger management issues into three hit movies.
"In the old days, it was a guess and a hunch, that your ears would spot a hit, and that it would translate live, sell tickets, sell records," Kevin Morrow, the former president of Live Nation and Watsky's current manager at Steel Wool Entertainment, told the Daily Dot. "And there were so many failures, because you didn't really know. But YouTube actually gives you how popular the act is."
In the YouTube economy, subscribers directly translate to market power. That’s why Marc Hustvedt, the head of entertainment at Chill, signed on for Camp Takota, a movie starring three YouTube stars, unknown by traditional standards.
“If you’re taking any business angle on this, it’s that the talent is incredibly empowered here,” Hustvedt said. “The artists make the bulk of every dollar, because they’re bringing their community with them.”
The future of YouTube
At VidCon, teenagers sat in corners glued to their charging cell phones or walked around with their heads down looking at them. Some used handheld robotic arms to film themselves from a distance, making videos of their own.
“The younger generation, their stars are more on the Internet,” Jon Salmon of 5 Second Films noted. “Those people are going to grow up, and it’s not like they’re suddenly going to start watching television and movies again. This will be their norm.”
Indeed, YouTube appears to be driving a change in viewing habits. Not only has viewership grown 50 percent in the last year for the video-sharing site, but according to Nielsen ratings, YouTube now reaches more U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 than any cable network. In total, over 6 billion hours of video are watched on the site each month.
That’s not to suggest that YouTube will replace the traditional Hollywood model. It’s about disruption—leveling the playing field online and tearing down the walls between fans and stars.
“In general, when I hear ‘YouTube famous,’ it’s very weird,” said Laci Green, who created and stars in the sex education series, Sex+. “The Internet is a subculture, but it’s not the culture.”
“TV is not going anywhere, movies aren’t going anywhere, radio is still here,” Watsky added. “It’ll be synthesized … You’ll have your smartphone, and you’ll be able to watch TV, and then click through to a YouTube video, with way more cross-pollination.”
That transition is already taking shape, as evidenced by the duality of AwesomenessTV, a massive entertainment network with a presence on YouTube and Nickelodeon, and the transmedia elements of webseries like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
For some, like Franchesca Leigh, who broke out with the YouTube video “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls,” TV is still the ultimate end goal.
But Sarah Penna, the cofounder of Big Frame, a major YouTube network, is betting on the scales tipping more to online. She left a career in television (at HBO, in fact) to work with Internet video creators. Penna said she made the right choice because budgets are growing, and audiences for Big Frame channels rival those of network TV sitcoms.
“It is tough to imagine a future entertainment landscape where all content will not be living digitally,” she told the Dot, “however this content can completely coexist. Mainstream TV and film is slowly discovering the talent and content that has emerged from this platform. Many of our clients share agents with other large talent that came out of the mainstream ecosystem, and the demand for YouTube talent from traditional agencies is growing exponentially.”
The demand may be there, but the YouTube talent won’t necessarily need the traditional path to find success anymore.
The Fine Brothers put it best: “YouTube isn't the future. It's the present.”
Additional reporting by Austin Powell. Illustration by Jason Reed
Automating fandom may be the future—at least according to this new robot that makes animated GIFs out of random scenes from the beloved HBO series The Wire.
The TV and movie GIFs that cover Tumblr may seem bizarre out of context, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the fandom they come from. So a Massachusets programmer named Darius Kazemi decided to take it a step further and created a bot that produces GIFs from insignificant scenes in The Wire. The bot posts a new GIF from seasons 1 or 2 every hour to WireScenes.Tumblr.com.
Do fans really just post anything having to do with a show without really caring what it is? How many reblogs can half a garbled sentence out of Jimmy McNulty’s mouth get? A million? Weird. On his blog, Kazemi says the bot takes video and subtitles with timestamps, matches them up and creates random .gifs to upload to the project’s Tumblr.
Sometimes the bot will catch a really great line of dialogue (after all, The Wire is not wanting for those). But in between “If you come at the king, you best not miss” and “Omar coming!” there are some really pointless .gifs.
It’s official. PewDiePie is now the most subscribed YouTube channel of all-time.
The channel featuring and owned and operated by 23-year-old Swedish gamer Felix Kjellberg (and his sometimes scary-faced, high-volume, expletive-using alter-ego PewDiePie) surpassed Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla’s Smosh around 7:30PM ET on Aug. 15 to claim the #1 spot on the YouTube’s Most-Subscribed list. At the time this article was published, PewDiePie’s subscriber count equaled 11,915,435 to Smosh’s 11,915,062.
Smosh’s reign as YouTube’s top channel lasted a full 216 days. Padilla and Hecox’s online video repository of their teen- and tween-friendly brand of comedy ousted Ray William Johnson for the #1 position back on Jan. 12, 2013. At that time, Smosh had more than 6.78 million subscribers. That means over the past seven months and four days, the comedic duo has averaged roughly 23,768 new subscribers per day, 990 per hour, and 16 per minute. That’s quite an acquisition rate, but it’s still no match for PewDiePie.
Anyone who’s been following our Tubefilter Charts knows that PewDiePie has been on an absolute tear. In addition to consistently being the #1 Most Viewed YouTube Channel Worldwide (Kjellberg’s channel had more than 221 million views in July alone), PewDiePie acquired 1,635,269 subscribers last month. That averages out to 54,508 subscribers per day, 2,271 per hour, 38 per minute, and one new subscriber every 1.6 seconds (and a lot of the online video world still thinks gamers aren’t the new rockstars).
Here’s what Kjellberg had to say about the news:
When I started my YouTube channel in 2010, I never imagined that one day it would be the most subscribed channel in the world and that I would be a part of such a great community.
And here’s what he had to Tweet about it: (Note: He lives/sleeps in the UK.)
@cinnamontoastk I'll be celebrating by sleeping!— PewDiePie (@pewdiepie) August 15, 2013
Congrats to PewDiePie on the achievement and (in keeping with recently established tradition) here’s hoping there’s a collaboration with Smosh in the very near future.
Aaron Paul doesn't tell just anyone he's a "bitch." Only those who deserve it.
The Breaking Bad star was a hit among redditors when he stopped by for a AMA (Ask Me Anything) live interview this week. The actor answered questions about the AMC drama, his career, and the time he was on The Price Is Right. Just like his character, Jesse Pinkman, he called pretty much everyone a bitch. Reddit loved it.
Paul loved his AMA too, and thanked the community with a video showcasing his highlights from the Q&A session. He rewarded those with his favorite questions and username, and those who asked about his wife's anti-bullying organization, with "Bitchie Awards." There's no actual award for redditors—just the honor of Paul calling them a bitch too.
Photo via Nerdist/YouTube
Some fans would do just about anything to meet their musical idols. In the case of Lady Gaga devotees, they are even willing to give out sexual favors for the chance to get close to Mother Monster.
Earlier this week, Lady Gaga released "Applause," the first single of her upcoming new album ARTPOP. In an effort to get the single to the top of the charts, the singer posted on Twitter that she would fly two fans to London to accompany her to the iTunes Festival. You just have to be the Little Monster who purchased the song the most times (and requested it on the radio).
The 2 fans w the most purchase/gift screenshots, radio requests, 'Applause' selfies/video, will fly international to meet me+watch the show!— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) August 13, 2013
The contest, predictably, got out of hand. According to The Examiner, some fans were spending upwards of $300 buying multiple copies of "Applause," which is currently available on iTunes for $1.29.
As if that wasn't ridiculous enough, one Los Angeles individual even went so far as to post a Craigslist ad offering fellatio "that will make you go GAGA" to anyone who had proof of purchase of the single.
Here's another ad, from Miami:
In all likelihood, that desperate plea for the iTunes receipt is a hoax, not to mention a great way to drum up some publicity for the pop star. Unfortunately, no amount of oral stimulation could propel "Applause" to the top of the charts. The single currently stands at No. 4 on iTunes—right behind Katy Perry's new song "Roar," Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," and Luke Bryan's "That's My Kind of Night."
Photo via TJ Sengel/Flickr
If there’s one man in pop culture that can save the world and look stylish doing it, it’s Bond. James Bond.
Throughout the decades, the MI6 agent has remained the icon of adventure, danger, sophistication, and of course, style. Now thanks to New York graphic designer Matt Spaiser, Bond’s many fashions are being catalogued on The Suits of James Bond. The blog records the outfits worn by all six actors who have played Bond over the years, from Dr. No to Skyfall. There’s even a section called “Literary Bond” where Spaiser explores the outfits worn by the character in Ian Fleming’s novels.
The blog also examines outfits worn by other key characters, including villains like Thunderball’s Emilio Largo and Goldfinger himself. The best part of the blog are Spaiser’s own comments, where he goes into detail about every aspect of each outfit and highlights connections between the various films. One such unexpected connection involves Bond’s prefered swimwear color: “Light blue appears to be Bond’s favourite colour for swimming trunks. We’ve seen it in From Russia With Love, Thunderball and Casino Royale.” Who knew Bond prefered blue?
Spaiser also makes sure we never forget Bond’s unique fashion choices, like Roger Moore’s safari jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Two podcasters and more 600 people on the Internet just made someone's day, one scoop at a time.
Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris, the hosts of comedy podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go!, launched a Kickstarter campaign last month to give out 1,000 ice cream cones to complete strangers and document the experience.
They sought to raise $9,500, enough to cover airfare to Denver for Thorn, Morris, and director Benjamin Ahr Harrison, and pay for 1,000 cones at Sweet Action Ice Cream. Co-owner Sam Kopicko is a fan of the show.
The idea appeared to come out of the blue, but Thorn—the founder of podcast network Maximum Fun—has wanted to do something like this for ages.
"I had this idea to buy 1,000 ice cream cones for a really long time," Thorn told the Denver Post. "I just really love the idea of walking down the sidewalk on a Saturday in August and seeing a sign that says, 'Free ice cream.'"
In about 10 days, they raised all the money they needed, and on Aug. 3, they delivered.
The customers waiting in line might not have screamed for their ice cream, but they received it just the same—and one person decided to mark the occasion.
And each of them had a smile on top.
Eric Kaplan’s running a bit behind for our interview. He was called into a “light” script rewrite for the show he co-executive produces, The Big Bang Theory, which is heading into its seventh season. Over the summer, he’s also been busy creating a new YouTube series, Love Me Cat, in which a needy, hairless cat puppet, voiced by Kaplan, works out existential issues as the host of his own Internet talk show.
“I liked the idea of a character that was upfront about his need for love,” Kaplan told the Daily Dot. “How can I get people to love me? There’s this thing about love in the primal sense. Say you’re in a tribe, and no one shares their food with you. You could die. So we need that love.
“But [Love Me Cat] is hideous; he has no hair. So he’s using YouTube to reach out for advice.”
The weekly series is on My Damn Channel, YouTube’s expanding comedy site, which is home to Daily Grace and Hipsterhood. Earlier this year, MDC’s cofounder, Warren Chao, asked Kaplan if he’d want to do a show. The idea for Love Me Cat came together, and Kaplan asked some friends in the TV industry to help out. In late May, they took to Kickstarter to fund production and create the cast of puppets. After reaching the goal of $20,000 in late June, the show debuted on My Damn Channel in early August.
Alongside Love Me Cat is Owly, his owl co-host, voiced by Community writer Andy Bobrow. There’s also Bronzo, the social media robot and house band, voiced by Matt Selman (The Simpsons), and a sheep named Sheepy (Haley Mancini from The Morning After), who plays the bleating audience of one. Andy Richter and Community’s Danny Pudi have already appeared as guests; Big Bang’s Mayim Bialik, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Emma Caulfield, and a handful of My Damn Channel vloggers are scheduled for couch time. Matt Chapman, of Spongebob Squarepants in China fame, directs.
Kaplan, who’s also written for Late Show with David Letterman, Futurama, and Malcolm in the Middle, had the talk show concept in mind from the very beginning. The cat and owl relationship, once the subject of a poem by Edward Lear, parallels the classic late-night talk show host/co-host dynamic, too. In the show’s opening credits, Love Me Cat is announced not as your host, but “your embodied request for affection.”
“Love Me Cat is obsessed with himself,” Kaplan said. “Owly is smarter than he is, and provides framing for his ego. … [In Lear’s poem], the owl and cat are lovers. Love Me Cat and Owly are not. But they both eat mice.”
According to Kaplan, Love Me Cat is only a year old, but he asks enough questions for nine lives. In one clip, he poses an ethics question to Pudi, positing that some of us might consider ethics “to be a trap for the weak.” In another clip, Richter tells a story about Amy Sedaris and 9/11, and Bronzo lands the punchline in a way that certainly wouldn’t fly on prime time. When asked if he’s a fan of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, which shares a few aesthetic themes with Love Me Cat, Kaplan cites the New Jersey variety program The Uncle Floyd Show, which he watched as a kid, as more of an inspiration.
Beyond its narcissistic and philosophical themes, Love Me Cat is improvised. That script-free environment, where he and his animator/comedy writer colleagues are free to ebb and flow, is appealing to Kaplan:
“There’s something a bit uptight about writing a script, sitting there concentrating to make it right, changing it, worrying people won’t like it. It’s fun to be more in the moment.”
With that in mind, Kaplan explains they’re aiming for 100 or more shows this year, and upcoming episodes will feature interviews with a rabbi, a banana, and Big Bang’s Johnny Galecki. (He doesn’t mention if they walk into a bar together.) And while Big Bang and Community fans will find something to love in the show’s sly humor and inside jokes, Love Me Cat operates in an alternate reality, where we’re all just clawing at a scratching post, looking for answers.
“It’s an adjacent reality,” Kaplan adds. “Adjacent to our own reality. Both realities have Andy Richter.”
Photo courtesy of My Damn Channel
When the YouTube sitcom MyMusic ended its first season, the titular music studio and promotion company’s building was literally on fire—again. This time from a crème brûlée incident and the loss of their safety fire horn. (It all made sense in the finale.)
Fear not: The wacky employees of MyMusic are safe, prepped for season 2, and ready for more zany show ideas, sassy one-liners, and secret crushes. YouTube’s only workplace sitcom starts airing its second season today.
MyMusic is like The Office, with talking heads and bizarre coworker dynamics, but set in a music studio and packaged for the Internet. Imagine if while Jim was pining for Pam, you could tweet Jim a supportive message, or send Pam a Facebook message telling her to ditch her fiance for Jim. And one or both of them could respond to you.
YouTube’s versatile showrunning duo the Fine Brothers have created several long-running and popular series for YouTube, including Kids React, a show where precocious children give their opinions on a wide variety of topics like memes, racism, and politics. That spun off into Teens React, Elders React, and YouTubers React.
But more so than with their other programs, Benni and Rafi Fine are really blurring the distinction between YouTube and Hollywood with MyMusic, in both its cast and format.
The show includes TV veterans Adam Busch of TBS’s Men at Work's and Fox’s Tania Gunadi alongside YouTube star Grace Helbig. And for the new season, the webseries will be released not as a series of short videos but as six longer episodes. MyMusic will also be hosting real-world concerts hosed by the show's characteres and will maintain over 80 social media accounts related to the storyline.
What is your writing and editing process for MyMusic?
We have a full writers room and with something like MyMusic we’ve scripted it out with professional writers. There is some very basic improv from the actors, but everything is very to the letter so it’s easy to edit down to an episode. There are fun little things an actor might throw in there. We script the "deleted scenes" that go in the sitcom-length episodes, so we shoot it both ways, short and long. It works as a webseries ongoing and also in what becomes the television program.
Is YouTube the future of Hollywood?
I feel like it is already "the now." [My brother and I] were from a more traditional background doing short films in high school and film festivals and wanting to do the longer form things in television and film—and then the Internet came along. In a pre-YouTube world, and in the beginning of the YouTube world, it was more personality based and centered around very simple content. But us, even then and now, we’re always trying to create more serialized content, more premium content, more production value, things like that. It took a good number of years for that to catch up and for that to also become part of the YouTube ecosystem.
There’s a new success model, and us and some of our peers are now starting to prove that TV and very traditional content also works on the Internet, specifically on YouTube, and it can rival television audiences and television production value. MyMusic is proof of that, having a successful run and now coming back for a second season. It’s really YouTube’s only sitcom in this transmedia 360 way, and it’s showing it works and there’s an audience for it, and they’re excited to see it come back.
Is Hollywood just missing the boat on this?
We’ve always felt there’s a lot more they could be doing. A big part of MyMusic was to showcase what the sitcom of the future looks like today. We really believe in the future as these things emerge, this audience will grow up expecting all this from their content, these interactive elements, and a real-time sitcom, and engaging your community 24 hours a day—all these elements that these traditional series are one day going to have to evolve to. It’s a blueprint for what is possible.
We’d love to pursue something with traditional media in a way that hasn’t been done before. Our conversation these days has definitely evolved from confusion to trying to figure out how to work together. There’s nothing going on at this exact time but we’re in constant conversation with television these days, including how to partner together with distribution around our huge audience to leverage something for TV, which I hope we can execute sometime this year.
When you and your brother go into meetings with executives, do you feel you have more power now then you would have pre-YouTube?
Yes and no. There’s no story yet that anyone from traditional media has come to YouTube and said we’re going to just let you do your show on television. There’s still definitely a lack of respect for the audiences we’ve commanded over the years. It’s starting to change. There’s a level of distance they still put, whether it’s fear or worry about cannibalizing their own audience. Projects like MyMusic are starting to show both advertisers and the executives at these companies that there’s more to be done.
We’ve always been champions of feeling that it won’t be TV or the Internet, one or the other; they’re both going to exist in some capacity. There will just be more synergy between the two. Things like MyMusic allow us to make those people understand that there is a level of talent in the same way coming from YouTube just like they’d give someone from a comedy club a TV show after seeing them with 100 people watching their funny sketch comedy. We’re doing 80 million views a month for serialized content, and I think it turning some heads. They’re starting to pay more attention to the talent that’s on YouTube, but in terms of exact partnerships, we’re hoping we can be among those that help pioneer that because I do think we need to partner together to get to that next level. I don’t think it’s going to work with us isolated from each other.
Would you guys like to become traditional showrunners for network TV?
Oh absolutely. It’s a goal we still have. We never want to leave what we have on YouTube but there’s certain content that would work better in a traditional format than it would online. But we have 5 million plus subscribers who can help bring this world to life in really exciting future ways by having something on television and being able to supplement it through what we already have with our huge audience. MyMusic is a great showcase of what we can do as creators on a modest budget when we’re given the opportunity to put together a television-sized project and hopefully whether it’s MyMusic making that transition to television or having something sprout off from it, it’s an exciting time to be a creator.
The audience is the reason we can make anything, so we want to give back to them with a huge transmedia experience. They know we're making this for them, and not for someone saying yes or no, or hitting a target advertisers want. This is another missed opportunity for traditional outlets who don’t quite understand what’s going on online because if you become a fan of a brand, a channel, or a person, that fans will follow them to anything they do. They have direct connectivity, and will always give it a shot and give them a better potential for success. This is what our network has been for years. We jumpstart new properties. We are a TV network.
How much does that interaction dictate what happens in the show?
That’s the fun thing. It’s a real-time sitcom so when something happens, it happens that day in the MyMusic universe, so if they’re upset about it you’re able to play with it because these are “real people,” so Scene can respond directly to them and explain or agree with them, in character. Then, we have this ancillary content that is shot week to week that can address it head on and fans can talk to them and hear their voice inside a narrative world. It’s really never been done before. You get to talk to the characters as those things happen.
Give us a taste of what's going to happen to the gang in season 2.
Without giving too much away, there’s a lot of drama in season 2, and we really delve into what is happening with this company. The last time we saw them their office burned down. They were running out of money so they kind of have to hit the reset button, and build themselves up with all this inter-office drama. Things are going to come to a head in a much more dramatic way than people would expect from the absurdist, funny show that MyMusic is. We’re diving a lot more into the heart elements. We want to do that with comedy writing, be funny and absurdist and then hit you in the feels, as Tumblr would say, and we’re excited to see the reaction to some of what’s in store.
Last question: Are Techno and Dubstep a couple?
Techno and Dubstep are very good friends. There is always ambiguity around that and it will ultimately come to some level of fruition this season. That’s all I’ll say.
Photos via The Fine Brothers
MyMusic has gone “Country.”
The premiere of the sitcom's second season today introduced fans to Idol’s (Grace Helbig) cousin Carrie, now known as Country. She’s got a signature pink cowboy hat and a giant cross necklace making her music preferences obvious—but her past, and motives, remain unknown.
MyMusic, created and directed by YouTube’s prolific showrunning duo the Fine Brothers, is a workplace sitcom about a music studio and promotion company, but with transmedia elements that allow viewers to interact with the characters on social media like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. The characters on the show are all represented by different musical genres and given names that match. The company’s CEO is a hipster named “Indie,” for example, and their booking agents are ravers named “Techno” and “Dubstep.”
Before the season premiere, the Daily Dot caught up with Lee Newton, the former SourceFed host actress behind Country.
I’m surprised it took so long for MyMusic to introduce a Country character.
It was a much-wanted character apparently from a lot of comments last year. They all wanted a "Country Music," so I was very glad to fill the place, as a country lover myself and a mountain girl.
Can you give us a hint about what Country gets up to this season? (At one point in the season 2 trailer, she has two broken arms.)
I can say all kinds of different shenanigans. For me as an actor, it was one of the most fun roles I’ve ever done because I just got to play. Country gets into a lot of trouble, and she’s a clumsy little broad. She’s run away from a lot of trouble. Country has been through the ringer. She still has a positive attitude, though.
Do you think there’s a difference between being an actress on YouTube versus TV?
I’m really hoping that is the way of the future and that is where we’re going. This is a sitcom. The shooting, the set, the team behind it, the writing is a sitcom. I can’t see any difference except for waiting. It’s the only one of its kind as a transmedia webseries. I really hope it can push forward through the gap that seems to be there. I would hope in my heart of hearts we see NBC online and the Fine Brothers on TV, and we’re all just on the same playing field.
Was working on this better than auditioning in Los Angeles?
I audition a lot. Acting is my first love and always has been. Getting to play with the Fine Brothers was amazing. It was a totally different experience in the best way possible. I don’t mind the audition grind, because it’s all an opportunity but as far as MyMusic goes, they were the most supportive and wonderful people ever.
You’re a performer with the improv group the Groundlings. Is there a lot of improvising in MyMusic?
I was surprised because it’s actually so wonderfully scripted. Benny [Fine] has a real gift. All the writers do. They play so well with their characters. But I was happy that I could improvise as well because once you get a character it’s fun to play. Benny was so open to me taking the character and running with it. That’s the sign of a really good director. He created such a beautiful environment for that and not every director and writer does. There were times when he’d say, “Okay, do a regular take. OK, now do a Lee take."
Screengrab via MyMusic/YouTube
In an excerpt published to social news site Reddit on Tuesday, company cofounder Alexis Ohanian gave a darkly prophetic warning about how encroachments on internet freedoms could have a myriad of negative social, economic, and political repercussions.
"I owe you an apology," writes the 29-year old Ohanian, who started Reddit in 2005, in an excerpt from his upcoming book Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed. The passage takes the form of a college commencement speech delivered in the year 2025. "We screwed up the Internet, one of the world’s greatest innovations, and I'm truly sorry."
He paints a bleak picture of a moribund economy rife with unemployment due to restrictive copyright laws that "put protecting Mickey Mouse on a higher pedestal than protecting the free market" and an omnipresent surveillance state where the government has unfettered access to everything that happens online.
Looking back from his future vantage point, Ohanian's speech takes the form of an apology that's effectively a call to action for the current generation of would-be activists worried about the long-term effects of placing restrictive corporate or government controls on the Internet. "Back when I finished my first book, Without Their Permission, I really thought we were going to make the right decisions, too," he continued. "The open Internet, as a platform, used to embody so many of the highest ideals of this country. Our Internet was filled with the true spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, helping yourself as well as others, and the freedom to connect whenever you want—as well as the right to privacy when you don't. We could have been real role models for the world. Our bad, guys."
Ohanian's exhortation—aimed specifically at Reddit's rapidly expanding legion of followers and, more generally, at all users who at least partially subscribe to Ohanian's techno-libertarian ethos—comes at a crucial time for the site.
In recent years, Reddit, which by one estimate now counts 6 percent of all online adults as users, has become an online hub for political mobilization on issues ranging from proposed legislation that would have enforced what some saw as draconian intellectual property laws in the name of combating piracy and "net neutrality," which would have allowed internet service providers to charge different rates for different types of content.
Largely thanks to a groundswell of popular outrage against these bills, generated in online communities like Reddit, all the legislation in question was defeated; however, there's a prevalent fear among many of the redditors engaged in these issues on a near-daily basis that, without constant vigilance, the online ecosystem that presently allows for both the free flow of information and a flourishing economy of innovative startups is too fragile to survive on its own.
This plea for continued political engagement seems to be at the core of Ohanian's argument. When he writes "we screwed up the internet," that "we" isn’t just politicians or tech industry leaders like himself—it also includes everyone reading in 2013 that even remotely agrees with him. "I'm truly sorry," he concludes with an apology to his imagined future generation of college graduates. "We had a great opportunity, but we failed, and now it’s you all, our future, who are left with the consequences. The irony isn’t lost on me—we all let it happen without your permission."
Despite his grave warning, Ohanian insists this dour dystopia only comprises a short section of the full book, calling the rest, "nine chapters of optimism," about the web's ability to positively transform whole sectors of society from philanthropy to comedy—with an emphasis on Reddit favorites like Donorschoose.org (representing the former) and Zach Anner (representing the latter).
You can read the full text here or listen to an the excerpt of the audiobook:
The book drops October 1.
Say you’re paging through a message board and come across a photo, only something about it seems off. The way it’s framed, you get the sense you’re meant to see something that’s barely visible. That's when the figure emerges—a tall and spindly form, nearly humanoid save for his ghastly proportions. He’s so slight, so indistinct, you have to convince yourself he’s not a trick of the eye. Nevertheless, there he is, seared into your mind for good.
You’ve just met the Slender Man, and life will never be the same.
Timeless though he seems, the Slender Man is really quite young. He first appeared on June 10, 2009, in a thread on legendary Web community Something Awful that invited members to create their own "paranormal images." One user, who went by the handle Victor Surge and whose real name is Eric Knudsen, contributed an elegantly creepy Photoshopped image. It had just the right details to convince a gullible or easily scared reader of its veracity: Just two ambiguously unsettling images with a small postscript.
“[R]ecovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as ‘The Slender Man.’ Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence. 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.”
Other posters at Something Awful liked the idea and ran with it, and Knudsen himself added further macabre details of the supposed library incident. Within weeks, Slender Man was a bona-fide paranormal meme, picked up by online communities including 4chan and DeviantART.
These Internet denizens ascribed various eerie powers to the Slender Man, including mind control and forced memory loss, along with physical features like tentacles and an eyeless face. He was no longer just a lean abductor of children. He was now the stuff of hundreds of competing nightmares, going by many other aliases: Tall Man, Mr. Slim, Der Großmann, and, most insidiously, the Operator.
It’s in this last guise that he’ll make his big-screen debut. Next year, at long last, the Slender Man (or at least one version of him) may leap from inside joke to blockbuster monster.
That’s the thinking on Marble Hornets, an adaptation of a creepy webseries of the same name from filmmakers Troy Wagner and Joseph DeLage. If everything goes as planned, they will have succeeded where others have failed: moving Slender Man from viral phenomenon to mainstream icon. Because lurking on the fringes of Internet culture is an anonymous rights holder who has swatted down every other attempt to profit from the meme, attracting an air of impenetrable menace, not unlike Slender Man himself.
I didn’t expect it to move beyon[d] the SA forums. And when it did, I found it interesting to watch as sort of an accelerated version of an urban legend. It differs from the prior concept of the urban legend in that it is on the Internet, and this both helps and harms the status of the Slender Man as one. In my personal opinion, an urban legend requires an audience ignorant of the origin of the legend. It needs unverifiable third and fourth hand (or more) accounts to perpetuate the myth. On the Internet, anyone is privy to its origins as evidenced by the very public Something Awful thread. But what is funny is that despite this, it still spread.
Indeed, as Internet denizens endeavored to manufacture more proof of the Slender Man’s existence with YouTube clips, indie video games, purported sightings and fanart, the more he came to seem an inevitable—and chilling—force of nature. The fact that he's a hodgepodge of often contradictory ideas only hints of an unnatural changeability, a characteristic that has everything to do with the volatile dynamics of the Internet that created him.
In an email to the Daily Dot, Troy Wagner, co-creator of Marble Hornets, spoke about how the Slender Man inspired their indie production:
I followed the [Something Awful] thread pretty closely and really liked where it was going after Victor Surge's post. I wanted to get involved with it somehow, and noticed that no one had attempted anything related to video yet. I was going to school for film at the time, so I figured I could break into it that way. … We were able to use [Slender Man] as a starting point to make something original, which is what became The Operator in Marble Hornets.
If we understand horror films, as most academics do, to be expressions of our lasting and often repressed fears as a society—from a terror of the unknown (Alien, Jaws) to media saturation (the Scream franchise) to political angst (the torture porn fad) and addiction, familial trauma, and genocide (The Shining)—then Slender Man can be viewed as a manifestation of what scares us most in the digital age. In his presentation as a pseudo-realistic, heavily documented figure, he underscores how unreliable online information is, how detached we’ve become from reality, and how much the Internet and the tangible world have begun to overlap.
It was just a matter of time, then, before film adaptations came knocking: After all, if the entire Internet were gathered around a bonfire in the woods at midnight, this is the ghost story they would want to hear. A flexible premise, with a striking villain at the center, and a built-in, heavily engaged fanbase? At least from a marketing perspective, what’s not to love?
Hollywood was initially beat to the punch by filmmaker A.J. Meadows, who in 2012 launched a Kickstarter for an indie film, The Slender Man. In it, he aimed to tell the story of a “tall, thin, human-like creature (appearing to wear a suit) who snatches up children and in some cases adults as well.
The Slender Man watches and stalks its prey before consuming it. It's said that the more you believe in the Slender Man, the easier it is for him to get you. Some versions of the myth state that the Slender Man can only be seen on video or photographs.”
In an interview with MovieTimes.com, Meadows spoke about the prickly nature of his online audience, revealing an understandable naïveté over what was to come:
Well, we understand that the Slender Man fans are very protective of the source material they’ve created and consumed over the years, so we want to make sure that we provide them with a film they can enjoy and perhaps even be proud of. My team and I are big fans of the mythos ourselves and want to pay tribute to all of the Slender Man creators and media they’ve created that has inspired us (and given us nightmares… for years).
Meadows’s modest $10,000 budget was more than met by deadline, and he went on to make the film, but good luck finding it these days. Both the website hosting the finished product and every subsequent YouTube upload have been taken down over copyright complaints since its February 2013 release.
A 12-minute film written and directed by Braeden Orr, also titled The Slender Man, came out in 2012: “Five college students go out into the nearby woods to have one last fling before graduation. Plans change when they start to find strange notes and are stalked by a mysterious faceless man.”
That YouTube video was set to private, and then it, too, became simply “unavailable.” Which raises an interesting question: Who claimed this seemingly organic meme was their exclusive intellectual property?
Don’t look at Eric Knudsen—he’s given his blessing to plenty of Slender Man products that have gone on to face legal challenges. Take, for example, Faceless, a multiplayer horror survival video game that originally went by the title Slender: Source.
A few months after Meadows’s film was wiped from the Internet, the popular Knudsen-approved Faceless was blocked on Steam Greenlight, an experimental crowdsourcing service for games, developed by Valve Corp.. It turned out that Valve itself had blocked it, after sensing potential copyright disaster. It's since allowed the game to return.
It turns out that although Knudsen is the undisputed creator of Slender Man, there’s a third-party option holder with the right to determine his appearance in film, TV, video games and other for-profit entertainment.
The option holder’s identity remains a puzzle—the closest thing to a commercial precursor for the Slender Man is a faceless phantom referred to as “Tall Man,” who first appeared in Trilby’s Notes, one of a series of adventure games by Ben Croshaw. It seems unlikely, however, that Cronshaw has anything to do with the copyright battles, considering the depth that separates his character from the Slender Man.
Even Wagner, one of the Marble Hornets creators, was reluctant to touch on the strange copyright conditions:
I'm not sure how much I'm able to say on the subject, really. There have been a few challenges in regards to [the Marble Hornets film], but nothing significant enough to impede anything for us. I've heard a few things about the “mysterious option holder,” but just to be on the safe side I can't really share specifics.
Marble Hornets, by far the most successful video offshoot of the Slender Man phenomenon, may be just different enough from other permutations of the legend to render the copyright issue moot.
In fact, the “Slender Man” is not once mentioned; the villain of the series is the Operator, who slowly drives a young film student named Alex insane in a series of tapes kept and later combed and catalogued by Jay, a friend who is then sucked into the same hidden world of paranoia, violence, and destruction. The tapes’ visuals and audio tracks are routinely abraded, as if the proximity of the Operator—who only appears in brief flashes, or positioned at a distance, barely noticeable at first—causes human technology to malfunction.
The original series boasts about 325,000 subscribers and more than 65 million views across 74 “entries” posted over the last four years. That success helped it get picked up in February by the film studio Mosaic, better known for R-rated comedies like The Other Guys and Bad Teacher. Screenwriter Ian Shorr will adapt the concept from series creators Wagner and DeLage. Paranormal Activity veteran James Moran will direct, and the film is slated for a 2014 release.
Wagner explained the character’s impact further:
"I see The Operator as a kind of monster that fits into our technologically minded day and age. Looking at it from a real world's perspective, it's a being whose existence couldn't be proven until video cameras were around, and couldn't be easily shown until the Internet age."
Wagner continued: "At the same time, we see cameras and similar technology as some kind of great neutral. They don't have biases or opinions or ulterior motives, they just capture whatever is in front of them. So keeping that in mind, we wanted to take that way of thinking and kind of turn it on its head. What if the camera captured something you swore wasn't there? Something that's very presence caused the camera to glitch and become unreliable, almost like it itself is hallucinating. But YOUR memory of the event also seems to have been mysteriously affected. What then do you trust? Your own faulty memory or the unflinching lens of the camera? That's the approach we try to take to the classic fear of the unknown."
As a horror film about filmmaking, the original Marble Hornets owes something to The Blair Witch Project and Wes Craven. It’s often deliberately dull, if tense—the “found footage” does include distorted moments of terror-stricken panic and suspense, but you may wait 10 full minutes to get jolted out of your seat. Like Twin Peaks, it doesn’t seek to answer the original questions so much as unravel its characters and instill an all-pervasive mood of some deeply felt unknown. The clips themselves are meant to be non-chronological, but their sequence creates another layer of narrative, a neat effect for a series that’s about following someone else down a dark rabbit hole: Jay follows in Alex’s footsteps, and we follow in Jay’s.
This type of immersion is at the heart of the Slender Man concept. Once you know about him, he will take over your life, rather like the Internet forums he stalks. The Web is saturated with his legend: photos, fiction, paintings and films hitting all the valences of one archetypal character.
As tales of vampires and werewolves frightened a generation still transitioning from folklore and age-old superstition to an age of scientific enlightenment, Slender Man haunts the fringes of a radical technology that humankind has only just begun to absorb, but his message is quite clear: One wrong turn is all it takes to see something you’ll wish you hadn’t.
Photo via mdl70/Flickr
YouTube star Lucas Cruikshank–you know him as “Fred”—has an announcement to make: He's gay.
Cruikshank, who's known for making the leap to mainstream entertainment by bringing his over-the-top hyper character Fred Figglehorn to Nickelodeon, casually told his viewers about his sexuality on Tuesday during the first episode of Ask Lucas and Jennifer with best friend Jenny Veal.
The two sat in bed together as they tackled a few silly questions from viewers. Who would you throw a tomato at? What cartoon character would you be? Finally, they got to one of the most popular questions: “Are you gay?”
They laughed as Cruikshank confirmed it and admitted that he felt awkward actually saying it. He didn't think his sexuality was a huge deal, although he wondered why Veal didn't have to make a video admitting that she was straight.
"My family and friends have known this for like three years," he said. "I just haven't felt the need to announce this on the Internet."
Support quickly came Cruikshank's way, but it was a private message from a major LGBT idol that blew him away.
What!?!? 😮 pic.twitter.com/OHRkq1LvwM— Lucas Cruikshank (@LucasCruikshank) August 20, 2013
Veal, who "prayed for a gay best friend for five years," also couldn't be more proud of Cruikshank.
Today only clarified why my best friend is my best friend. @LucasCruikshank has inspired me since I met him and now the world.— Jennifer Veal (@JenniferVeal) August 21, 2013
Photo via lucas/YouTube
It may sound strange that the first major viral promotion for a movie about teens forced to fight to the death is a fashion magazine. But in the context of The Hunger Games, it makes perfect sense.
Capitol Couture, a fashion site based on the upcoming Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, takes advantage of the sharp contrast we saw in the first film between the elaborate, over-the-top fashions of Effie Trinket and the Capitol elite, and the practical outfits of the poor citizens in the Districts.
The magazine, billed as the “Capitol Sanctioned Source for Future Fashion” according to the website, may be meant for all the citizens of Panem but the rich styles it highlights clearly pushes the colorful lifestyle of the Capitol. Two issues have been released so far, each with a cover story and a few accompanying articles.
From tips inspired by Effie on what to wear for the Quarter Quell to the release of a new fragrance called CINNA, each article is extremely detailed and a few even include fake interviews with the characters. The fashion contributors to the site also get their own profiles in the magazine, featured as designers from the Capitol who share what they’re looking forward to bringing to the the Panem fashion scene.
In the latest issue released this week, Capitol Couture’s cover story features fan favorite character Joanna Mason from District 7. The profile describes Mason as “Sly. Savage. Sangfroid.” and says she “prefers a more conceptual take on lumber and paper” for her style.
It’s clear that an impressive level of detail went into the site to transport readers to the world of Panem. It’s definitely exciting getting a peek at the amazing costumes we will see in Catching Fire and it follows what seems to a marketing trend for the film this year—a focus the beautiful indulgences of the Capitol.
Just last week, CoverGirl announced a Hunger Games Capitol Collection (to be released on October 1_ that will feature beauty products inspired by the 12 Districts, with a touch of Capitol glam.
It will be interesting to see what else the Catching Fire marketing team has planned for Capitol Couture and beyond as we get closer to the film’s release on November 22.
Photos via Capitol Couture
The company's intentions are not clear, but it seems Maker wants more revenue than YouTube is offering.
Maker's deal for Blip.tv, which both creates and distributes videos, should close within a few weeks, AllThingsD's Peter Kafka reports. Exact terms were not disclosed.
Maker’s roster of more than 5,000 channels includes some of YouTube’s biggest stars, like the Gregory Brothers, Snoop Lion, Kevin Smith, and Felix Kjellberg, whose PewDiePie gaming channel became the YouTube’s most-subscribed earlier this month.
Many major networks and creators have spoken out against YouTube’s revenue-sharing model. Creators typically take 55 percent of the cut of revenue from ads on their videos, while YouTube owner Google keeps the rest. Variety reported last month networks feel they need to work with different distributors "and cannot exclusively rely on YouTube for anything but the lowest-cost video-blogger-type material."
Maker has also been looking for ways to generate revenue from videos beyond Google's ads, Kafka reports. Blip's sales team should boost Maker's sales efforts. Blip CEO Kelly Day is expected to leave, though Maker plans to keep most Blip staff and keep it alive as a distinct brand.
It seems Maker plans to shift at least some of its content to Blip. (The network did not respond to a request for comment.) Just how much it will move remains unclear. It's hard to see Maker completely ditching YouTube, at least for the time being.
Many of its creators have millions of subscribers who generate revenue as they watch videos. It's hard to guess how many of Kjellberg's 12.2 million YouTube subscribers would make the jump to Blip, for instance, so a sudden shift would leave money on the table while creators build their communities there.
Photo via PewDiePie/YouTube
Earlier this summer, the isolated vocal track from Queen and David Bowie's “Under Pressure” went viral, mainly because Freddie Mercury’s voice was its own divine instrument. Now, there’s a Soundcloud devoted to doing the same thing to songs from all over the musical spectrum.
Isolated Vocals has organized tracks from OutKast, Pixies, Snoop Dogg, the Offspring, Blind Melon, Weezer and more. Over on its own dedicated Reddit forum, there are additional tracks from Alanis Morissette and Stone Temple Pilots. Yes, the dream of the ‘90s is still alive and embedded on Soundcloud.
OutKast's “Bombs Over Baghdad” loses some of its steam without that insane beat, but it’s a reminder that Andre 3000 is an insanely good rapper.
Here’s the Offspring like you never, ever wanted to hear them:
With the music removed from Pixies’ “Debaser,” Frank Black just sounds like he’s having a nervous breakdown in the recording booth:
Still, no one will ever beat David Lee Roth’s isolated vocal track from “Runnin' With the Devil.”
Photo via Ozone Ferd/Flickr
Stunt comedian Mark Malkoff spent three crazed days talking to people from more than 160 countries in an effort to Skype with one person in every single country.
Released in correlation with Skype's 10th anniversary, the resulting cut of his conversations from across the globe is ingenius and incredibly heartwarming, giving a small glimpse of the commonalities that bind us altogether.
When asked what they most wanted for the people of the world, almost everyone answered some form of “happiness” and “peace.”
And they were keen to show off objects and people special to their country and lives. A man in Belize showed Malkoff his view of the mountains, a man from Sweden showcased an ABBA album, and a little girl in Nepal showed Malkoff her pet cat. Malkoff even managed to Skype with a woman in North Korea who was attending a football match.
In an interview today, fittingly on Skype, Malkoff told the Dot he found people from countries he was missing by searching Twitter bios and tweeting to strangers. He said that the project has profoundly changed him.
“I want to start traveling and seeing more,” he said. “I also learned the importance of being a gracious host. Some of these people invited me to stay in their homes. Yes, there's some cultural and language stuff, but a smile is universal and every call was just a bright smile.”
Screengrab via YouTube
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world can live as one.
—John Lennon, “Imagine”
Some song lyrics, like the one above, are simply timeless. Others, like nearly everything on the 50-song playlist below, have the approximate shelf-life of a gallon of milk.
In the golden age of Myspace (post-Friendster, pre-Facebook), when you were only as fly as your tricked out profile, a short-lived music genre was born: The Myspace song. Beyond name-checking Tom and gratuitous references to your Top 8, the songs fell into a few recognizable sub-categories.
Myspace promo song
Most commonly titled “Welcome to My MySpace” or some variation thereof, this is strictly for the Myspace platform. Dated and unintentionally hilarious, Myspace promos are little diddies to say “thanks for the add.” Bonus points to Bonnette Da Bandit for threatening anyone else with the gaul to have a song called “Myspace” (“For the title MySpace, we can battle holmes”).
And then there’s this dud from Dominican duo Tercer Cielo:
Myspace love jams
Cringe-inducing R&B slow jams about digital courtship. Did you know that Myspace rhymes with my place? Oh, believe me, you will. Let’s just say Zapp & Roger don’t have much to worry about: “Computer Love” is still king.
“My Boo” is a prime example, although it’s unclear if this track was slowed down 25 percent like the recent Dolly Parton viral video, or if they’re all just that faded:
Myspace social commentary
Self-aware commentary on narcissism and the digital age. These songs aim for humor with varying degrees of success.
Myspace gangsta diss tracks
A platoon of tracks denouncing digital thuggery. You ain’t a Myspace gangsta you a Myspace wanksta! Looking at you, Bonnette Da Bandit.
Ode to the Myspace freak
Not the sincere love jams discussed previously, but a tribute to the scantily clad ladies hitting you up for friend requests.
This playlist is undoubtedly full of some of the worst music ever recorded, but it’s oddly compelling. So dig this shirt out of the closet and take a trip back to the mid-2000s.
Oh, and if your old profile is still floating around in cyberspace, pay heed:
Illustration by Jason Reed
When Spain's historic Running of the Bulls festival closed Sunday, more than two dozen people had sustained injuries and at least one woman was reportedly in "grave condition" after she was impaled in the chest.
Yet as life began to return to normal in Madrid and Guadalajara, at least one bull wasn't done wreaking havoc.
A Spanish bull got loose on the A-2 highway north of Guadalajara and began charging cars. The entire incident was caught on video and uploaded to YouTube, where it's collected 38,000 views. La Informacion reports that no injuries were sustained.