To Music Video or Not to Music Video?

May 26, 2007 at 10:57 am | Posted in music video | Leave a comment


That is the question.

A recent story was published in an issue of Alternative press called “Should Bands Bother Making Music Videos”. It was quite interesting to read as it had a range of band members putting forward their opinion as well as members of the public. It was interesting hearing mixed responses from the public, but overwhelming “for music videos” from the bands. I suppose like every medium at the moment, the way in which you can showcase a music video has changed. MTV seen as the major promo for the music video launched in 1981 with its 24hr music video showcase. Now if you look at MTV, they have a range of reality shows, variety shows and other shows. So the the days of just having music videos playing all day every day are gone. Therefore the competition to get shown on MTV with a video is incredibly high. So if you are a band just trying to get your name out there, there is little chance your video can get on there. If you also don’t have a well known director/producer attached to your music video, and a $250K budget then its not looking good. Bring on YouTube.

As Damian Kulash from Okgo demonstrated, you don’t need a lot of money in order to make a great video, and to actually showcase it. As long as the idea of the clip is strong it will have an audience. Their album was released over a year ago and yet this clip pushed them back onto the radar, all through the viral nature of digital.

The great thing is, you can reach a wider audience through this way. Previously if you weren’t shown on MTV it would have been difficult for someone overseas to really know about your band. But now you can reach people all over the world!

Additionally, the days of ‘exclusive’ clips are numbered. If you’re an Aussie, chances are, music videos that are shown in the states or in the UK we probably won’t see them on Video Hits/Rage/JTV for a long time. So we go to YouTube to watch them.

I suppose bands still see music videos as a way to get some form of promotion. But it’s like every piece of content these days, if it ain’t brilliant people will forget it. These days it seems great clips are embedded with revolutionary filmmaking techniques rather than linking the lyrics with the visuals. You just have to point to the Directors Series and you’ll see that these guys produced clips that may not necessarily have anything to do with the song, but have great animation techniques, special effects or are just cool.

I tend to agree with Troy Sanders from Mastodon when he says that “We view our records as soundtracks. Creating videos is a perfect way to establish meaning of a song through visuals.” It’s a way for people to realise what a song would look like in pictures rather than words.

PS I was a bit disappointed with the public comments on the subject, but I suppose it demonstrates the divide between what bands show in clips and what the public want to see. You have some people says “How else are we supposed to see if the band members are hot?” O…K…


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