Piece of Me

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Title: Piece of Me
Creator: Obsessive24
Date: 2008
Format: digital vid
Length: 3:21
Music: Piece of Me by Britney Spears
Genre: character study
Fandom: RPF, Britney Spears, popslash
Footage: various
URL: download or stream

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Piece of Me is a hugely popular vid by Obsessive24. It uses one of Britney Spears' own songs to (sympathetically) deconstruct her self-presentation; it also uses visuals from unconventional sources: including YouTube, tabloid photos, etc. It analyzes not only the tabloid version of Spears' story (divorce, custody battles, substance abuse, bad behavior) but also undermines Spears' counter-narrative of control.

This vid was featured in "24/7" 2010: The State of the Art in DIY Video and Remixing Popular Culture: Subverting Gender and Sexuality with Remix Video. In 2012, it was also referenced in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's and OTW's opening arguments requesting a DMCA exception that would allow vidders to break decryption in order to obtain source for their fanvids:
"Vidder Obsessive24’s “Piece of Me” likewise uses a combination of DVD footage from Britney Spears’ videos and other sources to, as Dr. Coppa puts it: analyze not only the tabloid version of the singer’s story (divorce, custody battles, substance abuse, bad behavior, etc.) but also Spears’s counternarrative of control…. [T]he song [Piece of Me] and its official music video both repress an additional connotation of the metaphor: that of breakdown and collapse. It is this repressed meaning—cracking up, falling to pieces—that Obsessive24 explores in her vid. Taken together, the video undercuts Spears’s provocative poses and bravado, reminding us that two months after this ‘cry of defiance’ was released, Spears was taken away on a gurney and held for a seventy-two-hour involuntary psychiatric evaluation. While the official video to “Piece of Me” creates fake tabloid covers and paparazzi video, Obsessive24 uses the real thing to heartbreaking effect.”[1]

In the OTW's Test Suite of Fair Use Vids, the vid is offered as an example of how fanvids can be forms of legitimate and timely cultural criticism:

""Piece of Me" deliberately and artistically combines glossy DVD footage from Britney Spears' videos and other, grittier images of the singer (tabloid photography, deliberately grainy YouTube video) to draw a contrast between the singer's projected self-image and the more pathetic narrative of exploitation, commodification, and breakdown revealed by the tabloids. The song "Piece of Me," which is Spears' own, is meant to be read as a challenge to a fight: "You want a piece of me?" But Obsessive24 reveals the repressed meaning of the words, which imply the violence of being ripped apart. The result is an almost classically tragic narrative wherein Spears is picked apart by vultures: her family, Hollywood, the media, and us, the consuming spectatorial audience."[2]


  1. ^ Page 47 of the EFF's 2012 Comments "In the matter of exemption to prohibition on circumvention of copyright protection systems for access control technologies," citing Francesca Coppa, An Editing Room of One’s Own: Vidding as Women’s Work, 26 Camera Obscura 123, 125, 127 (2011).
  2. ^ Test Suite, accessed October 25, 2012.