Monday, February 8, 2010

Youtube vs. iTunes?

The most intriguing part of Chapter 3 in Levinson's book, New New Media was the issue of Youtube and iTunes. I had never really seen the tension that could exist between the two modes of entertainment. Levinson posits the question that with Apple's iTunes now charging $1.29 per song and Youtube remaining free, will the Youtube ever beat out iTunes? Personally, I don't much tension between the two at all. Granted there is certainly overlap in their uses as you can search and listen to music or watch music videos on Youtube and do the same by purchasing them on iTunes, but they remain different.

Youtube offers so much more than iTunes because it is a medium for everyone and everything. The content is vast and the uses are too but it's not in competition with iTunes. iTunes allows you to sample a song and purchase it to have to yourself. You can put it on your iPod or another device and you now own that track or CD. Youtube however doesn't allow for this, and every time you want to hear a song you have to find it again and scroll through all the bad quality and false videos to find the one you want.

I can see there may be tension between the two, yet I feel like they are too different to compete to the level of one defeating the other. They serve similar purposes sometimes, but in completely different manners.


  1. I also did not see the tension between the two until Professor Levinson pointed it out in the chapter. I think the concept of "ownership" is what really distinguishes them in peoples' minds- YouTube is for a random, fleeting video you want to watch while iTunes purchases are more permanent.

  2. I agree that YouTube offers more than iTunes, but on different terms. While both sources allow individuals to obtain various media, YouTube is unique because it allows people to promote their own productions. In my opinion, the greatest thing that YouTube has to offer over iTunes is the fact that it’s free. There is certainly tension between Youtube and iTunes. There are numerous websites and YouTube videos that instruct how to convert YouTube videos onto iTunes for free. I actually have friends who do this and it works. Not only does this enable people to obtain music for free, but it creates a permanence in YouTube that it once lacked.

  3. All the cover versions of popular songs on YouTube is one of the biggest drawbacks, for me personally. I also agree with Levinson that the organization of songs on iTunes makes it faster and more efficient, aspects our generation craves.

  4. There is a tendency for different forms of new media to stray from their core competencies, diversify, and start to compete with other new media. So iTunes starts out as a music site, then podcasting which crosses over into internet radio, and then video as well. There's a tension, as well, between downloading an episode of a show you missed from iTunes, for a price, and catching it for free on a site like, or a television network site. And YouTube crosses over by making it possible to download files, for a price, but of course the software for doing that has been around for awhile, albeit with questionable legality. As a blogger, I find that most of the time the only way I can embed a song on a post, just so readers can listen to what I'm writing about, is by embedding a YouTube video.