The author examines the popular video sharing website and asks whether the phenomenon marks a change in the way cultural products are brought forth. The analysis draws upon a traditionally Marxist framework to define the production cycle and is focused on three aspects of YouTube: its navigational design, its use of content classification and, to a lesser extent, its business model. The review of the website took place during December 2006, shortly after the announcement of Google’s intention to acquire the company. The author challenges the notion that the capitalist production cycle has been entirely bypassed and argues that while YouTube has elements that are revolutionary, its overall design serves to promote a more efficient means of distributing cultural products within the same basic structure that preceded it.
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