If you were alive between the years 1998 and 2008, you may remember a MTV series called “TRL: Total Request Live,” featuring popular new music videos. “TRL” was a major distributor of music videos and a way for fans to interact with their favorite musicians. If you were lucky enough, you may have even gone to the show to see a popular musician, actor or celebrity promote their new video or album. However, “TRL” was booted in 2008, leaving a hole in TV’s music video world. Music videos are still major promotional tools, and television networks such as MTV, VH1, Fuse and mtvU all still have music video shows, all unfortunately in the very early morning hours. Therefore, like any other entertainment medium, technology has forced musicians to depend on websites such as YouTube, VEVO and MTV.com to promote their videos.
With technology comes pros and cons, and although videos can be watched whenever one pleases, an artist may not be reaping the monetary benefits every time. Search a song on YouTube and hundreds of videos pop up. The only music videos, lyric videos and audio videos listed specifically under an artist’s official VEVO account will make the artist money when viewed. Any other videos, which are 99.9 percent of them, do not produce revenues for the artist or their label. Therefore, while music videos are definitely seeing the light of day on the web, they are not always advantageous to the musicians and their labels. However, when you think of all the exposure the Internet creates, some musicians have actually made their huge break through a viral music video. OK Go’s treadmill video for its hit single “Here It Goes Again” enabled the band to get its music notices and in turn allowed the band to reach success. On the other hand, some music videos make artists infamous (*cough*, Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”), while some don’t have anything to do with a song’s lyrics or ideas (i.e. Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse”), and may induce a decrease in sales or reputation.
Since music videos are no longer an integral backbone of music television channels, one can argue music videos are phasing out. Some Quinnipiac students said they either watch videos once in a while, or often, through streaming websites such as YouTube and VEVO. The major theme throughout all respondents was they heard of videos through word of mouth or from their friends. The main reason why music videos are still so prevalent within the music and entertainment business is because they provide a platform for fans to connect with their favorite musicians and “allows you to get to see the people who are actually making the music,” according to a QU survey respondent. The survey asked 11 students about their views on music videos and their relevance to an artist’s music. Around 80 percent of respondents believed that videos actually complement a song, and 64 percent enjoyed videos that provided a storyline to the song. One respondent remarked they liked watching music videos because “sometimes they [videos] portray what the artist is trying to send out as a message to their fans, which could be inspiring.” At the same time one respondent thinks videos are “just singers/rappers moving around on the screen singing. Not usually following the plot of the song”, which could “make or break a song”. Most respondents enjoyed viewing music videos, and one even thinks that “Channels like MTV and VH1 need to show them again, (because I) love the visual aspect of the music.”
Music videos are very crucial to the marketing of a musician’s work and luckily for fans, many will continue to go to crazy lengths (i.e. Lady Gaga’s 20-minute videos, ha) to create a visual that will not only spotlight their song, but blow your mind!