WPGM Commentary: The Vine Effect

Vine – it’s quicker than YouTube, more interactive than Facebook, less serious than Instagram, and apparently it can make anyone and anything famous. Yes my friend, you too can enjoy the delights of internet fame through the video app, just as long as you are funny enough, random enough, talented enough, not talented enough, good-looking, not good-looking, black, white, some type of animal, already famous, or just get inexplicably lucky. Oh and your video needs to go viral, but that’s about it really.

With its 40million+ registered users, all around the ages of 17 to 20, Vine is the social network app that allows people to record and edit six-second video clips, and share their masterpieces with other “Viners” as well as on Twitter, Instagram and a plethora of other social networks. Unlike most other social networks, Vine could be seen as more of an entertainment social network, where users can flick through different genres like ‘comedy’, ‘music’ and ‘DIY’ among others (to be honest, all the channels are the ‘comedy’ channel… just a heads up for when you see a laughing baby in the ‘Sports’ section). Of course you’re not limited to these genres, you can vine about whatever you want and people definitely do. For every popular meme, song, or “so true” relatable situation, there will very likely be a Vine video about it.

It’s not just bored teenagers on the app, companies and celebrities have also jumped on board. US doughnut/coffee chain, Dunkin’ Donuts were the first company ever to use a six-second Vine video as an entire TV advert, whilst loyal LeBron fans can check out the baller’s awkward-funny vines, and see what he gets up to when he’s not breaking Miami hearts. However the biggest example of what I like to call ‘The Vine Effect’ is the social network’s impact on music.

OK Vine doesn’t exactly have a huge impact on the Western music industry but there are a few examples that might make you think otherwise. For instance the recent signing of Bobby Shmurda to Epic Records (read about it here), which was undeniably a result of his viral on Vine – the ‘Shmoney’ dance. Also, the huge Will.I.Am track “It’s my Birthday” featuring Cody Wise. Not only does the music video credit Vine before the song starts, but it features cameos from a host of “Vine famous” faces such as Jerry Purpdrank, King Bach, and Liane V. The video is essentially one long Vine video, which I think actually suits Will.I.Am really well.

Do these examples mean that everybody on Vine is going to get their own record deal or high profile cameo appearance? No, probably not. However the app’s ability to incorporate and edit music has allowed creative Viners to make seemingly ridiculous songs and share them with followers, probably with the hopes of going viral. Some of these viners are doing appearances, selling out gigs and concerts, and even releasing their own songs on iTunes. So dedicated are the followers of popular Viners, that they are willing to download “Vine singles”, and pay to see their favourite Viners perform these often repetitive songs. If you recognise the following songs/lyrics, then you know exactly what I mean:

“Do it for the vine, I ain’t gon’ do it. Do it for the vine, I ain’t gon’ do it!”

“Butt naked nasty or nah? Can you make it butt naked nasty or nah?”

“If you want a burger, get a burger… If you want French fries, get French fries!”

…and last but certainly not least

If you see me, then you see me, if you don’t, then you don’t!

Why don’t you take a moment and let those lyrics sink in. Better yet, why not satisfy your curiosity and look up these awesome songs on Vine (or YouTube). It’s OK, no one will judge you.

So what does this mean for modern musicians? With attention spans constantly reducing, will things like talent shows, relentless gigging, and securing expensive studio time still be relevant in the future? Social networks are providing a more innovative and responsive community to reach out to, and whilst everyone might not attract huge followers (or attract trolls instead), apps like Vine are creating valuable opportunities for some users. For others, these videos might just be the best six-seconds-on-repeat that they could ever procrastinate with, but that’s OK too.

*Shmoney dances out of the room*

Words by Tomi Olujide

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