Why audio never goes viral

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Angstrom
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Why audio never goes viral

Post by Angstrom » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:16 am

I'm sure most of you saw this article about how music and audio doesn't have the same virality as a cat video, or a child biting a finger, etc.

http://digg.com/originals/why-audio-never-goes-viral

I find this stuff interesting, as most musicians and "labels" (cough) seem to be existing in a fantasy land, a haunted house version of a previous music industry. The real content consumption industries are developing elsewhere, and differently. It intrigues me.
A thousand years ago, back when I was dealing digital goodies to Virgin/EMI they made far more money off ringtones than singles. The pop singles were effectively a sales tool for the ringtone, and that was way back in the early 00's. These days I assume the correct and culturally relevant music industry to be operating in is writing 10 second emoji jingles for cat vidz.

yur2die4
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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by yur2die4 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:44 am

Oddly, the only reason I even bothered downloading candy crush saga, months after it had already been running its obnoxious course, was due to the weird music in the commercial on some crappy tv station.

I think that we perceive music as noise. Whether we want to acknowledge that or not. You can direct your vision via physical means. You can even intentionally not look at something and then lured into looking at it, due to sound or even reactions. But sound requires you to reach over and change something.

We've also inadvertently dug out way into a culture where sharing sound is slightly taboo. Okay, not really taboo, but there is always this crack down on what we can and can't share with people. We relate that with simply being difficult to be bothered by, and also we wonder if we are supposed to make sure an audio is worthy of sharing, worthy of success in a way, since it seems to pretend to hold so much value to industries.

And none of that really entirely has to do with vitality. I do admit that requiring that one Hear something can be a bit of a speedbump in mass consumption. You either must hear it out loud around everyone, or dig out your headphones. Or you may be in a noisy environment and just not get it.

In the opposite stance on the burden of audio, we also have the over abundance of its accessibility. People had songs automatically playing on their damn MySpace pages. It was one of the first things we Could quickly share with each other. Now the gimmick is dated, and anything seriously interesting requires being absorbed in it.

One of the most popular 'viral' audio methods would have to be audio from films. How an actor says something in a movie. You hear it on soundboards, ring tones, and even in songs. People love using bits from movies in their music. That's probably as viral as you can make a piece of audio.

NOT THE BEES!!!!

amillionwinters
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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by amillionwinters » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:43 am

I believe another aspect to keep in mind is that everywhere you go, there is music playing. Nearly every store you might visit, or work at, has music playing all throughout. If you are on the phone with a company and you are put on hold, you are going to hear music. Sitting in a waiting room? You will probably hear music. So, when you say that music is perceived as noise, it is because its presence has become ubiquitous in our daily lives. I believe that makes it much harder for an increasing number of people to not just hear music, but to actually listen to it.

TheNobleNemesis
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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by TheNobleNemesis » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:51 am

I think part of the reason audio never goes viral is because not everyone has instant access to aforementioned "audio memes", therefore, it might be a bit difficult to spread it.

For example, a visual meme is as easy as "Hey, let me show you something on my phone"

While an audio meme might be "Hey, put these headphones on"

amillionwinters
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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by amillionwinters » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:07 am

Also, I would say that audio takes more effort to comprehend, or "get", what is going on. If what someone is listening to is someone talking, they may have to spend a moment thinking about what was said and its meaning, whereas when someone watches a video, they react to it - emotionally, physically, etc. - in a more unconscious, visceral way. With video, a person doesn't necessarily have to spend time thinking about what they are seeing to find it gross, or funny, or whatever.

It is like a movie vs a book. When reading a book, a person has to commit effort to understanding, or maybe visualizing, what is described in words. Movies, or video in general, people don't have to put much thought into to have a reaction, whether it be good or bad.

In short, I think many people are becoming mentally lazy.

Angstrom
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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by Angstrom » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:17 am

there's a few reasons which occur to me :

One good one is mentioned somewhere in that giant article - which is the imediacy that even a paused video has which a piece of audio does not. A paused video is an image, it is still a thing. I can look at the thumbnail images for "cat box funny vid" and see some enticement to play it, I can see it's a cat in a box. But a paused piece of audio is not telling you anything, it's just a silence.

Secondly though, what goes Viral is often things which many people agree are amusing and good, such as: a baby or a cat doing something funny, or a popular figure acting strangely, or being referenced humorously. It's broad appeal humour. Meanwhile a specific piece of music is a niche item. Goths like goth music, Metal heads like metal music, etc. and there are niches and niches beneath that. The music people like is a crucial cultural signifier for each of them. The cat equivalent would be like trying to share pictures of cats, but where the specific breed of cat was vitally important to each person. "Fuck you sent me a picture of a siamese, fuck you buddy, they are shit!!!"

Music is just too personal to cross boundaries. A cultural artefact like music needs shared cultural context to be relevant and therefore shareable.

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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by re:dream » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:25 am

Why would people want something to go viral?

Is it this celebrity culture thing?

Or is it because they think it will make them some money?

Will it?

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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by re:dream » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:51 am

@angstrom : good points...

It reminds me a bit of David Stubbs's book Fear of Music, which asks why avant garde music is still so marginal, while modern art is now big money. He argues that two big reasons are that (1) you can own art as a 'thing' in a way which is impossible for music (2) music takes time to appreciate.

His third reason is also relevant: music powerfully involves emotions. It can be unsettling in a way visual art rarely is.

So here is another difference between viral clips and music: viral things are almost always ephemeral. The don't excite deep loyalty. Whereas, when people identify with music, it can become part of their identity. For me the question about a piece of music is not whether it gets 2 million listens in three days, but whether people will still play a song ten years on.

TomViolenz
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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by TomViolenz » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:56 am

The Finn wrote:@angstrom : good points...

It reminds me a bit of David Stubbs's book Fear of Music, which asks why avant garde music is still so marginal, while modern art is now big money. He argues that two big reasons are that (1) you can own art as a 'thing' in a way which is impossible for music (2) music takes time to appreciate.
This is something that is bothering me as well.
The "music" I aim to make is exactly the equivalent to modern art, and I find that there are no venues (in the physical or digital sense) where I could "display" it. And in a way I understand the difficulty.
I can go to an exibition and stand in front of a painting and take it in. The beginning of the experience is when I come, the end when I'm done looking at it. But audio is fixed in time. So even if I only display it to one listener at a time and let him determine when to start it, he still has to stay to the end of it to get what I want to express. Worse is still, that there is no equivalent of a quick glance (as mentioned above), where the listener can determine, if he wants to give my art his attention.
But also the display infrastructure is difficult to imagine. It is either one person at a time, or at least, if it's for more than one person, it has to be timed. Then, as opposed to pictures, you have to put a lot of space between one exibit and the next, otherwise one bleeds into the next.
And all of that is not even considering that audio exibitions are not a thing that people know and can decide to go to.

Which brings me to my current thinking on this. It has to be tied to video! The advantages of video are mentioned above already, and they don't seem to have most of the disadvantages I outlined above to the same degree. So my question is: Are there amature video artists, like there are amateur audio artists here? Where do they hang out? How could one collaborate? (because I see myself as too much of an artist, as that I would just plaster my audio over some already existing video, it would have to be made as a unit)

beatz01
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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by beatz01 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:43 am

Well.

1) One advantage video has, it's audio as well at the same time or at least can be so there's no audio viral vs. video viral but (if at all) it would be video+audio vs. audio alone.

2) Of course you can make audio go viral.All you need to do is put it on a video site like youtube.You can go further and add a nice still picture to it.Has been done numerous times with great success - think of all these curated Ibiza compilations, mixes or those 3 to 10 hour long ambient "rains sounds", "fire place" or "relaxing tropical beach" sounds.

They're all basically audio with a single picture added, gone viral.

Or think of the hilarious Rinse FM Xmas Panto parodies on Soundcloud - pure audio (not even music) gone viral.

So actually i don't know what the point of that article is really.

Just put your audio on YT, add a picture, that's it.

Or have something interesting and put it on Soundcloud.

Where's the problem ?

njh
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Re: Why audio never goes viral

Post by njh » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:18 pm

The biggest point I got out of the article was this.
As a child, while she biked her newspaper delivery route, she listened to an iPod
Is it really possible to have been a child and had an Ipod but also be old enough to have graduated a 4 year college?


Anyways we really dont need a whole article on why audio doesn't go viral because its obvious (it might not be obvious to teens who had ipods in their childhood but its still obvious).
Using a computer is a visual task. When using the computer (or phone or watch or implant) you need visual feedback, this is what people are used to and anything outside of this foreign and boring.
Now assuming they mean audio is in everything that we can hear not just spoken word we see they are wrong and audio goes viral all the time in the form of music.
Music may not go viral inside the world of the internet if its not accompanied by video but outside of the internet within the real world music still goes viral.

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