The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

YouTube fame should be for everyone

Ever been told that you have no hope of achieving your dreams?


Well, welcome to the comments section of YouTube.

We’re no strangers to YouTube. Most of us visit it all the time to watch movie clips, footage of adorable kittens and, of course, music videos.

“YouTube is for everyone,” saad Kami Rowan, associate professor of music. “It’s a good thing because it allows for individual expression. It’s nice for people to have a platform.”

Musicians can even catch big breaks online rather than going out to audition for a record label. Just look at the recent YouTube Music Awards — Response of the Year winners Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix got their fans from YouTube, not from record companies.

But for every artist who finds success on YouTube, there are countless others who only find hateful feedback from someone who doesn’t find the video to their taste.

Take Rebecca Black’s infamous song “Friday” for example. Personally, I don’t like it, but she has as much right as Panic! at the Disco to post a song on YouTube, and the last thing I want to do is put down her dream with hateful comments.

“There is lots of crap on YouTube, and it can be annoying, but the internet is a democratic forum,” said Judy Isaksen, associate professor of media and popular culture studies at High Point University, in an email interview. “Anyone can participate and everyone has a right to his or her opinion.”

I agree, but it’s not difficult to tinker how you voice your opinion so it doesn’t come across as demeaning. That, sadly, is something many viewers don’t do.

On Black’s video, YouTuber zoOism posted a perfect example of what not to do: “These moles are barely in training bras and they’re kicking in the front seat, kicking in the back seat? I would rather have a jackhammer slowly inserted into the crack of my a– than listen to you sing. Your lyrics are written by a dyslexic 4 year old.”

Wow. Hate to go all cliché, but don’t like it? Don’t watch it.

There’s a difference between constructive criticism and hateful judgment. One helps, one hurts. Simple as that.

“If you put something out to the public, you’ve got to be able to take the feedback,” said Tim Lindeman, chair and professor of music, in an email interview.

Feedback: yes, by all means. zoOism’s comment: no.

“Judging artistry and musicianship isn’t fair,” said Rowan. “It takes integrity to be an independent artist.”

It takes integrity to be any artist, really. It’s a big step to put your work out into the world. It doesn’t matter if a musician is independent or signed; they work equally hard.

“I don’t assume that an independent artist is any less talented than a signed artist,” said Wendy Looker, associate professor of music and director of choral activities. “Entertainment can take different forms from different people.”

Aspiring musicians on YouTube aren’t very different from signed musicians and famous independent artists. They share the same goal: to put their music out into the world for people to hear. The only real difference is the support they get, or the lack of support in most cases.

As Andy Warhol once said, “In the future everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes.”

So who are we to block these aspiring musicians from achieving that fame and realizing their dreams?

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