“Once I was 7 years old” – the many lives of hit songs in the Youtube age

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Since late 2010’s Youtube.com has been a central part of the musical everyday life of millions of people. On the platform, the contemporary hits exist next to an enormous number of related videos, from live performances and alternative versions by the same artist over all sorts of cover versions, fanvids, parodies and tutorials for specific instruments to “first reaction”-videos and analytical videos.

Using the song “7 Years” by Danish band Lukas Graham as my case, I will show the variety of versioning practices on Youtube, and demonstrate how these different practices 1) contribute to the spreading of the songs and play an important role in the musical mainstream today, 2) reflect what music matters to people and how they use/relate to it, and 3) even though in many cases new, in many ways mirror how people used and related to music in earlier mediascapes.
“7 Years” was a world hit in 2016. It was officially released June 2015 in Scandinavia as a part an album, but several live versions of the song had been on Youtube since 2013. When the song hit the world charts, the stream of versions on Youtube exploded, and by 2019 the weekly number of new videos related to the song uploaded on the site is still about 100. As will be demonstrated, the case of “7 Years” is representative for contemporary major hit songs and therefore makes a good starting point for analyzing how people relate to mainstream music in the digital mediascape.
Periode11 jun. 2021
BegivenhedstitelListening to (Mainstream) Popular Music in 2021: Sounds and Practices
PlaceringInnsbruck, ØstrigVis på kort
Grad af anerkendelseInternational