Dismantling the guitar hero? A case of prodused parody and disarmed subversion

TitleDismantling the guitar hero? A case of prodused parody and disarmed subversion
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsSkageby, Jorgen
JournalConvergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies
KeywordsAudiences, critical intertextuality, genre analysis, parody, produsage, shreds, YouTube, [gender]

A ‘shreds’ video combines existing live music concert footage, predominantly including a famous
male rock guitarist or guitar based rock group, with a self-produced overdubbed soundtrack. The
result is a musical parody that exists in an intersection between production and consumption and
works as a within-genre evolution. The shred is controversial and its most popular instalments
have been pulled from YouTube on claims of copyright infringement. This paper examines shreds
as a form of multimodal intertextual critique by engaging with the videos themselves, as well as
audience responses to them. As such, the applied method is genre analysis and multimodal semiotics
geared towards the analysis of intertextual elements. The paper shows how prodused parody
exists as a co-dependence between: (1) production and consumption; (2) homage and subversion;
(3) comprehension and miscomprehension; and (4) media synchronicity and socioeconomic dis/
harmony. The paper also discusses how shreds can be interpreted as tampered-with gender
performances. In conclusion, it becomes clear that the produsage of shred videos is part of ‘piracy
culture’ because it so carefully balances between the mainstream and counter-culture, between
the legal and the illegal, and between the commoditized artefact and networked production.