Month: May 2014

The rise of the ‘Dislike’ Button

In today’s world of online democracy, every voice counts. Whether you like or dislike something, your opinion is valuable. You have the right to hand out compliments and by the same token, you are able to dish out the most horrible, biting and seething insults.

With the presence of the ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ buttons on YouTube, there is no need to leave a comment. With a simple click you are able to express your opinion of a video. Your opinion matters, because as we know the most popular videos are those with the most ‘likes’ and on YouTube popularity brings viewers and the more viewers the more money one makes through advertisements. Therefore, the opinions of viewers directly affect content creators.

This is no different with music videos. Viewers are able to say if they approve of a video or not, with no further explanation. Did you not like the theme of the video? Did you think it was too sexual? Were you bored by it? This doesn’t matter. If you disapprove of a video you are able to let the world know, by simply giving it a ‘thumbs’ down.

The manifestation of opinion can come in various forms, including, pressing the ‘like’ button, leaving a comment, flagging a video or sharing it with your friends. However, in my opinion, the epitome of judgement comes in the form of ‘reaction videos’.

The ‘reaction video’ takes the ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ buttons to all new heights.

‘Reaction videos’ usually take on the format of ‘a camera pointed at someone’. A person will sit in front of a camera while they watch whatever video, their facial expressions and body language are recorded. Most ‘reaction videos’ include the person being recorded giving critique or complimenting the video being watched.

In the realm of music videos, ‘reaction videos’ are a common phenomenon. Naturally, these videos are quite bias in the opinions being expressed in them. Usually it involves a person watching a music video for the first time and giving their running commentary of it.

These kinds of videos are popular and ‘watchable’ as many YouTube viewers enjoy seeing other people’s opinions about a video, sometimes using other’s opinions to inform and help form their own.


Countless ‘reaction’ videos can be found on the web. They range from those shot in a bedroom with a simple webcam to those shot with professional cameras and lighting.

Here are only a few examples taken from YouTube.

I especially like ‘reaction videos’ by the Fine Brothers.


The Best Form of Flattery

Fact: every music video has an average of five parodies made of it.

Well, maybe that’s not quite a fact, but if you search “music video parodies”, it would seem rather realistic. Almost every popular music video released today is parodied.

One could wonder why these parodies are made in the first place. Well, besides accruing money for its creators, through advertising on YouTube, I would say, that it serves as a creative outlet.

The individuals or bands of YouTubers who make these parodies flex their creative muscles. Some more than others, but that’s beside the point. Music video parodies use visuals similar to the original video, the basic ‘song’ accompanying the original video is used, with the exception of lyrics. Usually, lyrics are altered to suit the parody.

The changes to lyrics and quite often, the narrative of the original music video, subvert the intended message of the video. The parody, thus takes on a message of its own, while still relying on the message of the original.

The message in parodies usually revolves around some form of mocking of the artist of the original video or mocking of the original video itself. Thus, all parodies, with very little exception, are done in a humorous way. The humour used in parodies is a major tool in the subversion of the original, intended message.

The popularity of music video parodies is a result of their ‘watch-ability’, but why are these parodies watchable? First of all, like many videos which go viral, parodies rely on humour. Ironically, the popularity and ‘watch-ability’ of parodies is based on the original music video. If the music video a parody is based on goes viral or receives many views, odds are the parody would benefit from this, in terms of views.


There are countless music video parodies on YouTube and the internet, but I have to say that some are my favourites are those made by The Key of Awesome. Their parodies always have great production value and remain true to the original visually, while always subverting the intended message in some of the most creative ways. Here are just a few of their videos.

One of my all-time favourite music video parody moments is when James Franco and Seth Rogen took to parodying Kanye West’s Bound 2. Hi-la-rious…

Here’s the original, followed by the parody.