Web 2.0 and the dream of Fame

Everyone wants to have their 15 minutes of fame, their name in lights, their moment in the sun.  In our world of internet celebrity and fast fame it seems more and more likely that it is possible to get your name in lights, but in today’s sound-byte, micro-clip world, 15 minutes might be too much to hope for, maybe 30 seconds of fame is a little more realistic.

Enter HitRecord.  Founded by actor Joseph Gordon Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun, Inception, 50/50), Hit Record is a Web 2.0 communal production company.  The company has a television show, has produced numerous short films and a feature length movie that had limited run in theatres (Don Jon) and everything they do is created by their various users.  Much like Gehl discusses in his article “The Archive and the Processor” (2011), HitRecord banks on the crowdsourcing it runs on.  Their business model is that 50% of everything their products make in revenue goes back to the artists who make it (http://screenertv.com/news-features/how-do-hitrecord-on-tv-contributors-make-money-from-their-art).

But is there more worth than the money?  I would argue there is.  HitRecord offers something to their contributers that Digg, and Amazon Turk (Discussed in Gehl’s article) do not and that NASA does to a limited extent.  It offers the ability to contribute to a project that highlights your work.  If you sing vocals for a croudsourced song, you can be on their album.  If write a comedy sketch, poem, section of dialogue, you might end up on their television show.  And in that way, beyond simply being paid for your contribution, you are recognized.  You have a chance at your 30 seconds of fame.

I’m not trying to say that Joseph Gordon Levitt and his HitRecord project are exploiting people, it is a great way for those of us who are artistic in a small way, but not quite enough to make a living out of it, to get to try our hand at being musicians, artists, actors and so on.  But while we benefit from these small moments of fame, the Hit Record team is re-writing how media gets made, side-steping the big studios and creating something new.



  1. Web 2.0 and the rise of online institutions (such as the one you have mentioned) have been both a blessing and a curse for the creative and cultural industries. On the one hand, they allow for an amount of accessibility that is not available in the creative industries at large. Breaking into the creative industries is extremely difficult, so in that sense, these forms of peer production allow individuals to gain experience that can be used later to demonstrate their skills sets. But at the same time, participating in something like this as an inexperienced arts work can be problematic. The industry is based on uniqueness and newness, and by making a name for yourself in a realm of creative production that is considered “hobby work” individuals risk getting stuck. It is much harder to evolve from these realms than we are often led to believe (by individuals like Joseph Gordon Levitt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree with you Emma. I do not think HitRecord and other platforms like it would necessarily make a good stepping stone into the creative or cultural industries as a professional, not necessarily because what they produce is not of good quality but because as you mentioned it is considered “hobby work ” to the industry.
      Perhaps there will be a democratization of the industries in the future, already the internet (mostly YouTube) has changed these industries in the past 20 years. But for now, platforms like HitRecord are not much good for anything but a small side income for hobbyists and the fleeting few moments of fame I started with.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s