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The National Anthem of YouTube

That would be the old 009 Sound System song Dreamscape, of course.

Back in 2008, many videos on YouTube began to have their audio muted (if they were not simply removed from the site altogether) because they contained copyrighted music belonging to Warner Music Group (WMG); this occurred even to videos that didn't include entire songs as background music, but which merely happened to use, for instance, an innocuous 15-second excerpt from a song. Some users whose uploads suffered such a fate, not wanting to have a completely silent video, decided to make use of AudioSwap, which was a feature whereby the audio of any of their uploaded videos (including muted videos) could be replaced with a track from a collection of freely licensed music that had been provided by YouTube. Apparently, however, many users did not devote much time to selecting a fitting replacement song for their video, but rather simply clicked whatever artist was listed first alphabetically—which was 009 Sound System—and then picked one of their compositions.

This led to a state of affairs, beginning in 2008 and continuing into 2009, in which a large number of uploads on YouTube that had previously been muted on behalf of WMG would instead have a 009 Sound System song for the entirety of their audio. During that time I recall encountering many such videos; for some reason, out of all the 009 Sound System tracks, Dreamscape was the most frequently used, though I also remember that Born to Be Wasted, Trinity, and With a Spirit were not uncommon choices, either.

Of course, not every video that used one of these songs as a background track did so because the original audio had been removed: some might have been uploaded without any audio, with the uploader thereafter applying a free track provided by YouTube as background music; still others might even have been uploaded with Dreamscape or another 009 Sound System song already encoded, so that there was no need to use AudioSwap at all. Doubtless as more videos continued to be muted for copyright violations, and as the uploaders of those videos continued to select tracks by 009 Sound System simply because it was the artist that happened to be listed first, Dreamscape (along with the other 009 Sound System songs) continued to receive more exposure on the site, with some users now including the track in their videos because they actually enjoyed hearing it and found it to be a good song.

This was certainly not a sentiment that was widely shared, however: I and many other users on YouTube at the time found Dreamscape annoying and displeasing to hear, with our feelings of dislike only being intensified by its overuse. I can still recall several occasions during the late 2000s in which, upon once again hearing the very distinctive first few seconds of Dreamscape play in whatever video I was viewing, I would reflexively mute my audio, or even stop watching the video entirely—such was the degree of my aversion to the song. Even during the early 2010s, when the muting of videos by WMG had already ceased, Dreamscape continued to be a frequent and unoriginal choice for background music in new videos, and hence I continued to encounter it and to be annoyed it.

These days, however, my attitude towards the song, as well as the other 009 Sound System tracks, has completely changed: I now view all of them very fondly as an essential part of my old YouTube experience, and have come to greatly miss the days when I would roll my eyes in slight annoyance whenever one of them would suddenly begin playing in a video I was watching. Whereas back then I used to wish that they would be included less frequently in videos, today I wish wholeheartedly that the 009 Sound System songs would see a resurgence in use as background music—this is one way, at least, in which a tiny bit of the character of old YouTube could be revived.

Dreamscape in particular, due to its (former) widespread presence on the site, is often jokingly called the national anthem of (old) YouTube, and the title is quite fitting: in a way it defined an entire era, back when the site was filled with innumerable Notepad tutorials (which in those days was the standard format for an instructional video), countless recordings which had been captured with good old Unregistered HyperCam 2, numerous guides that showed the viewer how to accomplish something with the use of Cheat Engine, many videos claiming to reveal various hacks for Club Penguin, and, of course, not a few Notepad tutorials recorded with Unregistered HyperCam 2 demonstrating how to use Cheat Engine to hack Club Penguin. While Born to Be Wasted, Trinity, and With a Spirit, as well as other specific songs which were often used (or overused) back in the day as background music for videos—such as Drowning Pool's Bodies, Evanescence's Bring Me to Life, and Finger Eleven's Paralyzer—all deserve recognition for their impact on 2000s (and even early 2010s) YouTube, it is Dreamscape, I think, that was the most prominent, the most strongly associated with the site, and which may therefore be properly considered the true national anthem of YouTube.


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This page last modified on 13 September 2021.