Since the internet came to prominence it has revolutionised all aspects of the media industry. The new technologies and opportunities introduced to us through the internet have transformed the way which media content is produced, but also the way in which audiences can view, listen to, and consume it.
Possibly the most influential new website which the internet and the web 2.0 era has produced is YouTube. After starting in 2005, YouTube's rise to popularity has seen it become the core of the internet's user-generated content. This website has revolutionised media sharing, and allowed audiences to at ease, view mainstream and amateur videos and music for free, while also giving audiences the opportunity to leave feedback and discuss the content in the comments section below each video. Wesch noted the way that audiences have formed online communities on YouTube, with the website providing them with a forum to communicate and exchange user-generated content as part of a participatory culture. This has also transformed audience culture as there is now an 'invisible audience'. This term refers to the fact that the audience for a video is not pre-determined and could potentially be viewed by anyone. YouTube has also had a massive effect on the way that music audiences consume media, providing users with the ability to find and listen to almost any song for free on YouTube.
YouTube is only one of many websites which has changed the way in which audiences consume music online. Myspace in the mid-2000's was also a big influence on the industry as many mainstream artists had a Myspace page to promote their music and offer samples, and many amateur artists used the website to get themselves noticed and signed. This has led to the creation of the 'long tail'. In this context, the long tail refers to how big labels can now supposedly make as much money by signing many genre-specific artists with niche audiences, rather than pouring all their effort and resources into a few major artists with mass audiences. Many still argue however that the latter strategy is more effective as artists with niche audiences do not benefit as much from aspects other than album sales, such as merchandise and tours.