Over the years we have come to see the average music video move from an awkwardly filmed live performance through to higher-budget productions and at times particularly innovative pieces. By taking a look back over the years we can see this development quite clearly.
Focusing on their introduction to the industry we see that a music video is exactly as the title describes – a basic video of a song being performed by the band or artist. As technology has improved we have also witnessed the same development within the videos themselves; improved recording quality and video editing was about to cause a sea change in the production of music videos.
One of the most iconic videos that first utilised video editing was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. The backbone of the video was the same as ever (the band performing the track) but this time editing allowed the video to be more interesting and eye-catching. The popularity of music videos was then gaining momentum.
During the 1980s MTV was born, and from then on music videos were to hit a wider audience. Due to this, producers began to realise that they needed to develop and innovate, culminating in the first waves of videos in the format of a short film. These videos had a storyline – a beginning, middle and an end. This gave rise to possibly the most famous music video of all time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
The potential of music videos was given yet another boost with the inception of the internet. Computing had added the element of interaction to a music video. One of the best examples of this is The Wilderness Downtown, Arcade Fire’s video for their 2010 single We Used to Wait. Upon arriving at the website users are asked to enter the address of the house they grew up in. Exploiting Google Maps’ Street View, the video is set around the area of your home.
Riding on the wave of increased viewership of music videos, in recent times product placement has become particularly prominent. In this context, product placement is when branded goods appear in a music video as a form of advertising. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the Diet Coke can lodged in Lady Gaga’s hair during her 10 minute epic for Telephone.
Diet Coke was just one of the many products to be exposed to the audience of this ambitious video, an exhaustive list of products also reaped the rewards from this form of advertisement. As would be expected, many other artists have gone on to use this very same model, whether it be for the monetary benefits or otherwise.
It is clear to see that music videos have grown up along with the times and have adapted to new formats. As a result of this process we have witnessed the music industry being exploited as another platform of advertisement; as such, it will be interesting to see how music videos will develop further in the coming years.
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