Draft One: Purpose of Music Videos

The History:

The first music video was released in 1956 by the artist Tony Bennett, he recorded himself walking along the Serpentine in London for the release of his song ‘Stranger in Paradise. This was distributed in the USA and the UK, which then lead him to claim that he released the first music video. However, a defining moment for the creation of the music video was when The Beatles released ‘A Hard Night’s Work’ in 1964. This was a film that included music promos that in essence was a music video. This is said to have been the moment that the foundations of the modern music video was established. This concept was then taken even further by starting to use filmmaker techniques in their videos, therefore moving away from a music video being the ideal performance and into videos that illustrate a point. After this change in music videos, they have leaped from strength to strength.

When MTV first launched on August 1st 1981. This changed music videos as people now had a way to watch them regularly as when it was first launched they only showed music videos. The first music video shown on MTV was ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ by The Buggles.  This meant that now more and more artists were starting to use music videos as a promotional tool.

The next big leap was when Michael Jackson created, essentially, a short film for his song ‘Thriller’. Even today it is still an iconic music video because of this.

Music Videos now however use sex appeal and aesthetic to entice people to watch music videos and purchase the artists musical product.


The Impact of a Music Video:

Since the invention of the music video, they have been used as a promotional tool to boost the number of sales of their song, an example is PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’. His music video went viral and had everyone replicating his signature dance moves, and in turn everyone started to listen to his song and go on to buy the track. This has happened in many instances; ‘Gangnam Style’ is just one of them.

Artists use music videos for two reasons: exposure and revenue. The music video is usually released early on in the songs cycle to be shown on music channels, for example MTV, and therefore they get the exposure that they need. An example of a music video boosting sales is Katy Perry’s Peacock. After her music video was uploaded, the sales of her music video went up by 64%. Another example is Soulja Boy with ‘Crank That’. Before the release of his music video, the song was obscure. However, after its release, he produced revenue of $7 Million.


Music Videos and Artists Popularity:

Music videos have played a crucial part in promoting artist since their invention and in some cases, they have greatly increased an artist’s popularity. An example is Madonna and her video for ‘Like A Virgin’.


Music Videos and extensions of income:

Music videos are a good way for companies to make money as it cashes in on the success of a song and then helps to boost the sales of other products that are linked to the singer. A music video can be sold as a DVD as well as to other TV companies in order for them to broadcast it. This would provide money for the singer or artists featured as well as for the production company. There would also be repeat fees if it was broadcasted more than once on TV. A music video would extend their income as they would get a percentage for doing the video, selling the video and then sales for promotional products and the duties involved. An example of this is ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson, which took over $500 million on sales which would have been boosted by its massively popular video which is seen as iconic in music video history. Michael Jackson himself profited $120 million from this track and video.


Extension of Outlets:

There are many different outlets that are used to air music videos, both on line as well on TV. And since the invention of the internet these have been able to evolve to reach a wider audience. Some examples of outlets is YouTube (Founded in 2004) , music channels such as MTV (Founded in 1981) as well as iTunes. Artists may use different extension outlets to promote their music video. Miley Cyrus sold the video to MTV to be the first to show the music video before it was shown anywhere else or uploaded onto YouTube. She would have chosen this outlet as it would have aired to millions of viewers and brought popularity to the video. Another example would be Beyoncé and her Visual Album Lemonade



The dictionary definition of Synergy is the interaction and cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

In relation to music videos, this can be used to be mutually beneficial to both parties. An example of synergy will be Justin Timberlake ‘Can’t stop this Feeling’ for the film Trollz. The song will be featured in the movie so will be beneficial for Justin Timberlake and the music video will promote the film and so will make people go to watch the movie. This creates money and profit for both parties involved. It isn’t only limited to films though, can also be used on products for example, in her video ‘Can’t Stop’ by Miley Cyrus, the Beats Pill by Dr Dre is featured, this sells his product as well as providing Miley Cyrus with another income as she is being paid for the featuring of the product. It is also used in reference to TV Shows. An obvious example is F.R.I.E.N.D.S and ‘I’ll be there for you’ by The Rembrants. The song is iconic in relation to the show as it’s a part that everyone remembers.


Music Videos and Major Labels:

Major music labels use music videos to be able to control the distribution of their music, and they are also able to make a profit. YouTube pays artists to upload their music, then they get profit from how many views the video gains. They will also have adverts before their videos to gain even more profit, from how many people watch the advert.

Music Videos and Independent Artists:

The purpose of the music video for an independent artist differs from the reason that an artist with a major label. The purpose of their music videos is purely to gain a wider audience and to gain popularity. There won’t be any product placement or synergy involved. Its very rare for an independent artist (if they have a small record label) to have a video as they will not be shown on mainstream channels and so may not be able to make the money back that they have invested into the music video.







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