Freshen up your Friday nights with Spotify and YouTube

21 June 2009 No Comment Mike Evans

I suppose I of all people, being the publisher of this blog, should have realised this some time ago, but the Web is really making a huge difference to people’s viewing habits – including the classic end-of-the-night ‘back to mine’ ad-hoc party.

I was at a friend’s house the other weekend, who’d suggested we all pile back to his at the end of the night. In the near past (i.e. last year!) this would have involved a dubious CD of his choice and maybe a DVD or video game (depending on our energy levels and co-ordination – in other words, how drunk we were all feeling!)

This time, though, it involved music selected by all of us from Spotify, which never fails to deliver, followed by an hour two spent trawling through the archives of YouTube, which was hooked up to his impressive Samsung HDTV.

Viewing YouTube on an HDTV makes so much more sense than viewing it through a PC. Just seeing it on your telly makes for a much more sociable (not to mention comfortable) experience. It seems so less geeky, and therefore just as valid a piece of evening entertainment as a DVD.

In fact, it was so easy to dip into, it felt natural to everyone watching it – well, as natural as watching Stavros Flatley can be!!

What was intriguing, though, was how everyone came alive once the 3 minute clip had ended. ‘Is Susan Boyle on there?’ asked one deluded friend. She was.

‘I saw a clip on a riduclous wedding’ shouted another as soon as SuBo had finished warbling. A quick search later and up it came, followed in quick order by other ‘amusing’ wedding clips, various clips of car crashes, and the chinese guy who pushed a suicidal man off a bridge because he was holding up rush hour traffic (he survived).

All of this, of course, is familiar to regular YouTubers. What was unfamiliar to us all, though, was the context – someone’s lounge after the pub.

It was immediately familiar, yet much more fun than watching static video or TV. People were sharing their own favourite clips, which we all laughed at or mocked. Each clip was short enough to ensure no-one got bored. And none of it, not a single second, involved terrestrial or satellite TV. If I was a traditional broadcaster, I’d be seriously worried!

What this made me realize (apart from how differently my brain works when drunk if this is what I was thinking about!) is how much the Web is changing the way we entertain ourselves.

YouTube’s been around for three years, now, and HDTV much longer. Mix the two together, though, and you have a brilliant new way of entertaining you and your friends after a merry evening of drunkenness that really is non-geeky!

What I think is missing, though, and where there must be a huge opportunity, is a Spotify for music. The ability to create a playlist of favourite clips that everyone can contribute to, so that you get home and watch what is, effectively, your group’s own personalized TV channel, all selected by members of the group.

This is a huge opportunity for someone. Individual clips are fine, but having a pre-selected channel of group-selected content, chosen before an event before people get too drunk to think, is what the market’s crying out for.

I’m sure something like this must already exist, but if it does, it isn’t exactly heavily promoted. I’ll do some digging and see what I can find.

In the meantime, if you know of a service or Web app that acts like Spotify for video, feel free to add it in the comments below.

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