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Interesting YouTube contest circa 2008 — Aimee Mann invited fans to cover one of her songs and upload a video.  A video of the winners is here, but there were plenty of other good versions that didn’t make the cut.  (e.g. this).

Thought I would share it here because:

1) I’m going to be looking at various forms of amateur creativity for a new project I’m working on, and it’s really interesting to use these videos to see the contrast between amateur and professional media.  E.g., how do the amateurs in this contest recreate the standard form of music videos?  Where do they “fail” in terms of artistic method or content quality? What risks do they take that we don’t see in more polished media — e.g., would you ever see two kids in car seats in a non-amateur video?

2) I was just reading Jacqui’s article about supernatural fiction and moral rights, and was pondering the relationship between cover songs and fan fiction.  Jacqui surveys the field of vampire fiction and finds that most of its famous authors are fairly hostile toward fans who take up the pen and riff on their work.  This is obviously the opposite in the case of music. Copyright law treats the two forms of amateur creativity differently, but are they fundamentally similar?

3) I’ve recently started using Spotify, and I’ve found that one of the most interesting things to do with such a vast library of music is to dig up cover versions.  (Notably, Spotify doesn’t seem to feature any “Freeway” covers!)  As often as not, I like one of the covers better than the original song.  Actually, after watching all the contest videos, I watched the “authoritative” version and I wasn’t sure if it was as good as some of the covers.