What is a Music Video?
• A music video is a short film that
accompanies a song, they are produced
for either promotional or artistic purposes.
• Today’s music videos are mainly made
and used as a marketing device intended
to promote the sale of music.
The First Generation of Music
• Some performers would project images onto a screen as
they played live, these images would then reflect the
themes and emotions of the music played.
• The earliest versions of what we think of as the music
video were to come in the 1920s with the Vitaphone
shorts and Spooney Melodies.
• From the 1930s to the early 1960s Musicals were one of
the dominant genres in film and many set pieces were
extracted to promote the films.
Music Video History – The Beatles
• The key piece of work in the development of the
modern music video was The Beatles ' first major
motion picture ‘A Hard Day's Night’ in 1964 ,
directed by Richard Lester .
• The musical segments in this film are said to be
what set out the structure of today's music
videos, as it influenced a large number of
contemporary musicians and many pop and
rock group music videos.
Top of the Pops and ‘The First
Actual Music Video’
• Top of the Pops began playing music
videos in the late 1970s to promote
them, as a good video would increase
a song's sales as viewers hoped to see it
again the following week.
• In 1975, Queen ordered Bruce Gowers
to make a promo video for their new
single "Bohemian Rhapsody" to show
it in Top Of The Pops, this video is
considered by many to be the first
music actual music video.
• In 1981, MTV launched, airing "Video Killed
the Radio Star" and beginning an era of
24-hour-a-day music on television.
• With this new outlet for material, the
music video would, by the mid-1980s,
grow to play a central role in popular
Expanding the Music Video
• During the 1980s, directors and the acts they worked
with began to explore and expand the form and style of
the genre by using different effects in their videos,
mixing film and video, and adding a narrative to the
• Occasionally videos were made in a non-
representational form where the musical artist was not
shown. Because music videos are mainly intended to
promote the artist, such videos are quite rare.
• In 1983, one of the most successful
and iconic music videos of all
time was released: the music
video for Michael Jackson's song
"Thriller", directed by John
Landis. The video set new
standards for production, having
cost $500,000 to film.
• The video for "Thriller", along
with earlier videos by Jackson for
his songs "Billie Jean" and "Beat
It", were instrumental in getting
music videos by African
American artists played on MTV.
• In 2005, the video sharing website
YouTube was launched, which made the
viewing of online video much faster and
• This website had a massive effect on the
viewing of music videos and some artists
began to see success as a result of videos
seen mostly or entirely online. An
example of this is the band OK Go who
achieved fame through the videos for
two of their songs, "A Million Ways" in
2005 and "Here It Goes Again" in 2006,
both of which first became well-known