As a non-elitist artist I likeYouTube very much. I know it's a mess, but this is what happens to any open-access system. For me, it's a natural progression from what some of us attempted to do years ago in mail art and 'zines and should be thought of in that kind of context, as a human communication system that goes beyond what the art-world can do.
For example, you don't have to live in a metropolitan city to access it. The main drawbacks are censorship, copyright issues, corporate crap, and banal information overload. And it's no way to make money.
There are very specific aesthetics about Youtube video. The computer screen gives a kind of intimacy that art-venues don't have. The pixellation and frame rate are important factors.
The fact that there is no selection and that file storage is free means that a form of television is becoming accessible to larger swathes of the population, and you don't have to worry about bandwidth.
And it doesn't have to be art.
I've always liked taking my films & videos out into music venues, to non-art places, nightclubs, artist- run venues. I work on zero budget and my work is often personal and intimate, I value ideas like spontaniety and improvisation. I don't own a plasma screen or a video projector and I don't subscribe to the constant drive for flashy new equipment. I have never found art galleries , or arthouse screenings to be an ideal place to view or display videos.
After producing and distributing video on VHS using mail art and underground music networks, I had many screenings in art-world places (such as Tate, ICA and NFT) in the mid 80s. The meaning of video changes when taken into these art-contexts, I find many of the same corporate and class values are embodied in "the art world" as they are in broadcast TV. Those status concerns are definitely not the reason I make videos.
Bandwidth is expensive. If a non-corporate alternative to YouTube arises, let me know.
So all in all, I think artists should regard YouTube as they should any other medium. It's something you can make art out of, if you want to.http://www.youtube.com/user/earthlydelights2006"