Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Purpose of Music Videos.


Music videos emerged in the 1970's, the release of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, marked a breakthrough in the music video franchise that would set the framework for music videos to the present. This created a visual narrative for the music industry, introducing a new way in which artists could promote their music with more than just lyrics, while creating an intimate link with their fans. In this essay I will discover the purpose and demonstrate the functions of music videos, by exploring why they exist and how they have become a vital aspect when releasing a record. 


Micheal Jackson's Billie Jean
A music video is an effective mechanism for promoting a band/artist. In 1981 Duran Duran's Girls On Film music video showcased the talent of the band by their performance, promoting the image of the band, by creating a visual narrative that the audience could recognise. The song itself is promoted through a story-line, this gives the audience a greater understanding. This is evident in 1982 Michael Jackson's Billie Jean, it was the first to feature a beginning, middle and end, also the first time a black artist was to feature heavily on MTV, in turn promoting culture. Directors can also be promoted through music videos, Steven Barron the director of Billie Jean was also the director of A-ha's Take Me On. The combination of rotoscoping animation and live action in this video made it a ground-breaking win at the awards which raised the profile of Barron, he then began to work with artists such as David Bowie in 1987.


Producer Strategies.

Bands/artists are marketed differently depending on funding. Major labelled artists will have larger budgets, publicity and chart ratings, predominately mainstream genres such as R&B and Pop, this is communicated through their music videos. Usually featuring on channels like MTV which cover mainstream content. This is evident with the artist Rihanna, signed with the label Rocnation, her music video We Found Love, registered no.1 in the UK Singles Chart. Independent bands/artist who are starting out do not always have the funding to support large productions, as a result they release low budgeted music videos, using less well-known directors, funded by their independent record labels. Young Turks is an independent record label which signed the band The XX, their tracks rarely use music videos apart from the song Islands. Self-produced artists have become more significant due to the expansion of media outlets and accessible recording technology. Artist's themselves can now produce and distribute their music through the Internet via social media and YouTube. Ed Sheeran was an artist that found his way into the industry through self-promotion (mostly YouTube) and eventually the industry began to discover his talent. Although self-producing doesn't always work, there has to be a sense of originality and difference about an artist to grab the attention of the industry, budget limitations can also be an issue if you have to rely on your own funding.

Extension of Income 

A record can be distributed through various platforms to reach its audiences, these platforms are the radio or online music websites and music channels if the track has a corresponding music video. Each time the track is played the artist and record label, in practice, receives royalty payments in exchange for the use of their product. 'In practice' because it would be impossible to track each time a record is listened to, due to the growth of media outlets. In 2013 one of the most watched music videos was Miley Cyrus' -Wrecking Ball, within it's first 24 hours after its release, it received 19.3 million views. This was on the platform YouTube and for how many views it got the artist and the record label would have received a set payment. For alternative/ non mainstream artists it is difficult to gain exposure, which in turn makes it difficult to receive any royalties. This is why YouTube can be suggested as a good place to start a music career, the more exposure, the more views, greater chance of receiving payments. 

Extension of Outlets / Platforms

The outlets and platforms for media products is what makes music content accessible. They are growing and mainly based online for easy access on the go. The main media outlet is YouTube, it allows access to music videos as well as music tracks, it also has a platform where you can access the artists page and view other content. A large amount of artists began to release their products on YouTube before releasing them on TV because it reaches the audience faster. Another example is SoundCloud, although they do not release music videos, Tidal  where Kanye West released his new album The Life Of Pablo, Vevo and Billboard these are many of the accessible online outlets for music. There are still TV music channels that have the opportunity to release singles, MTV, BOX, VH1 as well as radio stations like KISS, Radio 1 and Heart. However this does have financial effects for the artist and record labels themselves, as they have to provide the outlets/ platforms a certain percentage. These outlets are what distributes the music to the right audience and gives the labels coverage, therefore it is advised that artists use this extension to promote their music. This is at a cost, as they must give the outlet a certain percentage to have a place on their platform, this means all the money it makes from being distributed will not all go to the record label. however there is a positive and that is the more their track gets played and roughly each time it gets played the artist and record label receives royalties for the listening of their music, and even though they have to give a way a small percentage, without a platform it would not be able to make as much money as it does.


Example of another artist LIL Wayne Representing Beats by Dre.
Refers to the promotion and selling of the product, through existing products. An example of this is Beats by Dre, and the advert for beats showcasing Kendrick Lamar's new record. This shows that the music product by the artist is marketed through an existing product, Beats headphones. This gives exposure to the artist by playing that record through Beats' adverts on the TV or the radio, as they are using a high profile artist who has a large following, giving Beats a larger audience and opportunity for exposure. People will want to purchase the product if a popular artist is seen using the item, as a result the track will be heard through adverts on channels that may not be related to music, widening the platform for that track, equaling heavy exposure.


The music video industry is growing faster, it is now a platform that allows videos to go viral, which means they circulate the Internet and reach various audiences usually through social media. This results in the track attached to the music video being repeatedly played to keep up with the trend of it. PSY's - Gangnam Style  topping the charts in 30 countries after the music video went viral. Music videos are sustainable because they allow a story to be told through the use of a music record, however the platforms they are released on may be moving to the Internet, it enables a global reach and reaches it's audiences in a matter of seconds.

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