Friday, 17 January 2014

How powerful are music videos for a song?

When I was a child, whether or not I liked a song depended almost entirely on how much the music video appealed to me. I remember hating Kasabian's song 'Fire' because to my little brain, the music video wasn't full of flashing colours and therefore the song was shit.
(Ironically, I now love the music video, but that's because my love for Quentin Tarantino has meant that I love anything with a relative amount of violence in it and running away in it. Worrying, how much pleasure I get from seeing violence- I hope this doesn't lead to a life as a serial killer, but that thought is for another time).
I listened to the song again a couple of years ago, and realised that I BLOODY LOVE IT, and cursed myself for not giving the song a proper chance.

Matured (cough) as I'd like to think I am, I now view a great music video as simply a perk of a great song. Now I actually listen to the music, and most of the music I listen to was made before music videos were all the rage.  But it seems that many people are still stuck in that 'child' mode of frame. Just listening to a song is too much effort- sure, they'll download the song and listen to it on repeat AFTER they've seen the video and liked it. But meh, it's too much effort waiting through that boring 7 second instrumental without a jaw dropping video to grab your attention.

And music artists have picked on to this fact. Oh, you can be sure they have! In today's society when people are ridiculously impatient, easily distracted and need to be stimulated constantly to be interested (we'd probably all fit under the diagnosis of  ADHD ). Music videos are now seen as a way of stimulating people enough for them to listen, or at least hear, the song in the background, which will probably stick in their heads and force them to buy it. And never mind if the song's not good, whenever that person listens to it they'll always visualise the music video and forgot about how repetitive and empty the music is. *Record company boss rubs his hands together gleefully, salivating at the mouth* "What a brilliant plan!" he shrieks, and proceeds to burst into a long,evil laugh.

So we have music videos that a created into beautiful works of art to lure people in. Hey, fuck that, they don't even have to be all that beautiful they just have to be appealing, which can be achieved easily with attractive people, lots of shots of attractive settings and have bright colours and lots of flashing.

And music videos where people try and do controversial things to get publicity (oh the countless times this has happened in 2013 .....think Wrecking Ball and Blurred Lines to name but a two)

And often, music videos go viral and then BAM, the song achieves mass success despite the fact that it's in a language most people don't understand and has the same repetitive electronic sound that reminds me a bit of a window being scrubbed really hard (listen closely and maybe you'll see what I mean).

Precisely why Beyonce has released so many videos for her next album. Music videos are powerful- the release of this visual album  made her reach number 1 in over 100 countries.

Soon, we'll see the rise of more visual albums. With increased internet usage, our shorter attention span, and with the capacity for things to go viral- music videos are becoming a powerful force.

What do you think lies in the future of music videos?