I stumbled upon this speech by Ben Huh (the guy behind the Cheezburger Network), at the Web 2.0 conference recently.
Huh talks about how the creators of memes give life to viral content after the hype, and the creators of such memes are “hacking meaning,” using the media available to them to create multiple viewpoints around the same subject matter.
Huh goes on to claim that the internet is creating it’s own “rock and roll — our own generational metaphor for how we view this place,” and the heroes of this internet culture are the real rockstars of today. Keyboard Cat, Antoine Dodson, Chocolate Rain, all become the real rockstars because they have been shared, remixed, experienced, and loved by so many people regardless of musical taste.
But do you see the fundamental thread that runs through all memes? Humor. All of the memes you see are funny, they give you something to break up your day.
So what does this mean to musicians? Well it’s just another example of how the old guard (major record labels, corporate radio, etc) has little to do with your success. If you find the right idea, in song form or otherwise, it can lead you to bigger things. That doesn’t mean you have to become a comedy band, but it’s important to remember how and why people share things, because those elements can be used to your advantage.