About the MV

My reading has moved on to cover Music Videos in the music industry. (S. Simpson’s Music Business).


When I was in a band in the 90’s, we never went beyond ‘serious hobby’ status, so we never even considered doing a video clip for any of our songs. But during that time the music video, which I’ll just call ‘MV’ from now on, was almost essential to promotion in the business according to what I’m reading.


It had started in the 80’s, where the MV was handy for big acts to have of their singles in order to send to TV stations round the world (rather than having to travel and perform on set), and from there they developed them on to more creative works.


Then MTV came along and became the dominant avenue for promoting acts. MTV was nationwide across the US, whereas promoting via radio was divided up between major cities -so getting one song on MTV was like hitting the jackpot, compared to sending the single to all the major radio stations across the country. (But there were also other video programs out there.)


So by 90’s international acts would sometimes spend almost as much on one video as they would on the album because of its promotional muscle. Downside for the artists was the record company would often make the expensive video recoupable from their royalties.


My impression is the MTV culture cynically caused the MV to be a glorified advertisement for the band or artist -if an MV was ‘hot’, it sold records. And from the Record Company’s point of view, it was primarily for promotion rather than sales, until MV DVD’s make up for the expensive budgets.


Of course there are many bands and MV producers who see the MV as an artist enterprise rather than just a commercial one. It’s obviously become its own art.


As my focus is on songwriting rather than performing, I’ve never really had much interest in the MV. So if there’s anything I look for in an MV, it’s giving me an impression of the performer or band (especially of up-and-coming artists). I don’t like MV’s with seemingly unrelated images and stories to the song, because to me that just detracts from the song. I’d rather see the band play on stage than some weird animation of funny animals which have nothing to do with the lyrics.


But there’s also a tendency for MV’s to become overly commercial. While there are MV’s that present the artist/band artistically, others flaunt sex and materialism shamelessly and really show little difference to a flashy soft drink commercial.



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