I Want to Be Different, Just Like Everyone Else

Last week Israel’s Channel 2 News had a segment about brides and grooms that want their wedding to be different. Apparently, after watching a couple of viral wedding videos they thought to themselves: “Yeah, how about we do something original for a change: Let’s do exactly what those other people did…”. Forget about holy matrimony, these people are here to entertain you on their quote-unquote “most important day” of their lives.

The segment is in Hebrew, but you don’t really need to understand the language in order to understand this copycat phenomenon should be studied by both psychologists and sociologists. You can skip over the first 55 seconds:

The Elegance of the New and the Mourning of the Old

I have never heard of Oren Lavie        , nor his song titled Her Morning Elegance, until today. Both of them came to my attention hours ago when the music video for the song climbed to the top of ViralVideoChart.com:
ViralVideoChart.com - 2009-01-27

Oren Lavie sounded like an Israeli name and so I was somewhat intrigued as I could not recall an Israeli video that ever went viral. Sure enough, it turns out that Lavie, an unknown Israeli singer, took a giant step towards fame by releasing a stop motion video last week. Within that short period of time, the video has been viewed almost 400,000 times, and was blogged about 1500 times (now 1501). Have a look-see:

Now, I know it is quite easy to dismiss this as one of the many viral videos that enter and exit our screens every week, but I think this is much more than that:
We live in an exciting period of time when new business models are developed and adopted right in front of our eyes and the very nature of art and commerce is evolving. Not everyone is excited about it, though: like the Luddites who destroyed mechanized looms in the early nineteenth century trying to resist the inevitability of the Industrial Revolution, the music industry had spent a decade trying to convince people that there is nothing wrong with the old business models and that sharing music is a crime. When everyone around you is committing an illegal act, including the kid next door and his father the policeman, it is quite difficult to treat piracy like the trouble it is made out to be. Home cooking is not killing the restaurant industry, and home taping is not killing the music industry – it didn’t during the 1980’s when cassettes were used, and it is not killing it nowadays when peer-to-peer file sharing protocols are in use. In ten to twenty years, we would wonder what the fuss was all about, and would find it hard to believe that artists stubbornly refused to adopt new technologies, new ways of communicating and new ways of earning a living.
Allowing people to download your music for free? Of course! How else did you plan to make money?

Fill up your dosage of free culture here and here.

Instant Meme: The Shoes That Echoed Around The World

ViralVideoChart.com collects viewing and linking data on videos posted online and tries to quantify how fast they spread in order to identify the newest memes. This is how their chart looks right now, a couple of hours after President Bush dodged shoes thrown by Iraqi journalist poet:

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