The largest archive of K-pop live streams goes offline, what happens to all that culture?

from Lost-culture department

When people talk about culture and preserving it, they usually mean the works of recognized artistic giants like Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Charlie Chaplin and Miles Davis. They rarely refer to live streams of Korean pop music, commonly known as K-pop. And yet K-pop is undoubtedly an expression—some might say a particularly vivid expression—of a characteristically modern culture. It’s under copyright, which brings with it problems, as this story from Mashable reveals:

On Monday, October 31, South Korean live streaming app VLive informed users that it will be shutting down on December 31, 2022. The closure isn’t a surprise — in March, HYBE, the owner of competing app Weavers, announced it had acquired V Live and intended to shut down the app — but it’s a bummer for artists and fans. V Live is the largest archive of live-streamed K-pop content. Where will that content be when the app goes dark?

Owned by Naver, V Live launched in 2015 as a tool for Korean artists to connect with their fans. They initially did this through live streams, which were then stored in the app as video on demand. As K-pop explodes in global popularity, V Live connects these entertainers with international audiences who watch them eat, celebrate birthdays and make music in real time.

V Live is therefore a great example of how artists can use the latest technology to build closer relationships with their fans around the world – something that Wall Culture has been supporting as a key element in finding new ways to fund creativity.

According to the Mashable article, some of the recordings will be moved to Weavers’ own platform. Specifically, recordings of artists who joined Weavers before V Live closed. Weavers also said that artists can download their V Live archives for uploading elsewhere. That’s all well and good, but it still leaves many musicians with the possibility of their streams disappearing forever, because they’re unable to transfer them to new sites for whatever reason.

One problem with this story is the concentration of power in this sector, a common problem that plagues much of the copyright world, as I discuss in the book Walled Culture. The main problem, though, is the copyright itself. In a smart world, relevant cultural organizations would be able to download all streams on the V Live site as a regular matter to preserve for future generations, as important cultural artifacts of the K-pop world. Copyright naturally prohibits this, viewing preservation as infringement. As a result, K-pop culture can lose some of its characteristic moments, for no good reason, and to no one’s benefit.

Follow me @GlynnMoody on Twitteror mastodon. Reposted from Walled Culture Blog.

Filed under: Copyright, Culture, K-Pop, V Live

Company: naver, weverse