Is the music video back?

by mattdentler
April 28, 2010 3:34 AM
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Music videos have been forced to deal with less exposure on the channel that made them pop: MTV. After several years dwelling in limbo, they've rebounded thanks to streaming video sites online. And, this week's M.I.A. video controversy is the latest reason to believe that music videos are regaining their place in popular culture. Lady Gaga made waves with her own controversial video, as did Erykah Badu, and LCD Soundsystem brought Spike Jonze back into the music vid game with their latest clip. Newsweek counts the ways that "the Event Music Video Is Back." Among those reasons:

3. Because it doesn't have to cost $7 million. Back before Apple and the MP3 eroded the power of wealthy labels, event videos were massive, costly spectacles, helmed by a pricey director wielding pricey new technology. The classic example is Michael Jackson's "Scream," which really did cost $7 million. But thanks to the democratization of video-sharing sites—where "David After Dentist" is as worthy of views as anything else—a clip doesn't have to have a huge budget to have a huge impact. Erykah Badu's video for “Window Seat" didn't require a large investment of anything other than chutzpah: she disrobes in slow motion before an audience of passersby. There's just as profound a return on investment in Mia Doi Todd's clip for "Open Your Heart" (directed by Michel Gondry, reigning king of short-form ingenuity), which doesn't appear to have involved much more than an army of game extras and many yards of vivid fabric. And Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" won awards on the strength of its visual thriftiness.
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