History Of Music Video


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History Of Music Video

  1. 1. History of Music Video 1900’s-1920 The first rumblings of change in the way music was listened too and performed came in 1900, due to technological advancements by Edison, who created the gramophone in the USA. This was the key shift between live and audio visual experiences towards recorded audio on various forms of disk and the eventual progression into the 21st century music where the content of the song is often an after thought compared to the construction of the music video. The existence of music videos span from a long and tedious road, they began with musical short films which were often produced by the Warner Bros., the first true musical video series was entitled ‘The Spoony Melodies’ but during this time the evolution of music videos can be credited to animation, especially to the artist Max Fischinger who introduced the first instance of audience participation, not only that, his cartoons featured many famous musicians performing live versions of there hit songs during segments of the cartoon. The Warner bros were quick to jump on this idea and soon began to release there own versions of live action musical shorts. 1920’s-1940 However it wasn’t till the end of the 1920’s that the true format of music videos was established. At the fore front of this revolution in music videos was Nick Graves who appeared in the St Louis blues, which was a two reel short film in 1929. these short films were not only revolutionary in aspects of technological advancements, they were also revolutionary in aspects of society and culture as Bessie smith, an African American was a key figure in this video. This was influential in attempting to change the general American perception of those of a different race.
  2. 2. 1940’s-1960 The 1940’s saw another boom in the music video industry this could be accredited to both an economic up turn in America after the great depression but, on the other hand it could be a result of changing society. Primarily the panoram visual juke box can be said to be the main reason for the development of the music genre into one which now was increasingly demanding videos for songs. However before panoram could fully develop the music industry; it was forgotten during the war years and subsequently after. A key factor in music video and its growth to prominence today was music film. One important film for the post war ere was ‘Tony Bennet’s’ musical film for his recording ‘strangers in paradise’ which was shot in Hyde Park London. This shows how America was not the only prominent force in the growth of music videos. This rise in popular music can be said to have followed the popularity of television which broadcasts images and information on previously widely unseen music artists. 1960’s-1980 The beginning of a new decade in the 1960’s saw a new era begin to unfold in music videos. The scopitone was an innovative visual juke box that the French used frequently until similar machines began to sprout all over the world, Due to music videos ever increasing domain in the public eye television began to respond with first ready steady go in 1963 and a year later top of the pops began on BBC. In this year the fantastical mock-umnetory by the Beatles, entitled a hard day’s night directed by Richard Leicester became a resounding success and set higher standards at which subsequent music videos were compared to. It even influenced American culture as the hit us TV series the Monkees 1966-1968 followed in structure as it had many segments associated to the various songs of the group The Beatles were at the fore front of music video dominance over this period of time as with each music video the ideas and planning became more and more complex. Cumulating in infamous videos for strawberry fields forever, penny lane
  3. 3. and rain, which even till this day, are seen to be one of the most critically acclaimed ground braking videos. All though still often showing live performances of the artists and lacking much clarity in narrative, Bob Dylan’s subterranean homesick blues gave a new perspective to the music video industry. This was done by quite simply standing at the back of a alley and dropping queue cards on which lyrics were placed, this can be seen as a far cry from the multimillion pounds that are spend effortlessly in the new music video industry. The 1970’s followed the growing trend through out the last few decades of advancements in the music video industry an example of this is in both the better quality and rising prices of music videos. The early 1970’s saw a standard music video for David Bowie go from $200 to $350 in mere months showing increasing importance that was being placed on music videos Surprisingly, the beginnings of music television can be credited to the almost now unknown Australian dominance of the market. This unlikely source of this innovation in music television continued to persevere in the launch of ‘Countdown’, which unlike the British top of the pops had fewer restrictions on its music videos. The growing need for music videos was no more evident then in the late 1970’s in the United kingdom in which David Bowie ‘madness’, ‘Queen’ and ‘Pink Floyd’ all gained major chart success on the back of highly successful music videos. In America, the music video craze was also booming video concert hall created by Jerry Crowe and Charles Henderson was one of the first video music programs on American television. It was predecessor of MTV by almost three years. Night flight was one of the first American programs to show these videos in similar context to which MTV did two months later The publicity and development in the music video industry which was down to ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and its sequel shock treatment this increased the visual awareness of the audience members and broke many boundaries and stereotypes that suggested music videos were only creatable with high financial backing.
  4. 4. 1980’s-2000 On the back of this success the 1981 release of the music video channel MTV in the US was almost as significant as the first song that was played which was called ‘Video killed the radio star’ and was a clear sign of what was to come. As it was evident that the media industry and more so the music side had shifted from being mainly about sound and voice to being more dependent on visual aspects. This is epitomized by the song title of the video ‘video killed the radio star’ which depicts the death of radio and the up rise of music video There were key developments in the music video industry and the development of cheaper and easier to use cameras and editing equipment, along with other developments such as better special effects and means of watching music videos, in the 80’s. This can be seen to be represented in the more sophisticated music videos, and occasionally they were made in non representational form in which the music artist was not shown and narrative played a key role however these videos were a rarity because the main objective of music videos was to promote the artist. An example of this is David Bowie and the Queen ‘under pressure’ 1983 saw the most successful and significant music video ever made; Michael Jackson fourteen minute long video for thriller. Costing an unbelievable $500.000 at the time, it became an instant success and has created a new standard for which modern music videos aspire to. This was also a break through for many other reasons primarily because Michael Jackson was an African American and also because it went against the music that was initially played on MTV. The older audience members were catered too by MTV as VH1 was released in 1985 it was aimed towards the older audience members as it has softer music. This was the stepping stone for the expansion of the MTV Empire which lead to MTV Europe and MTV Asia which both created within 6years of VH1 The UK was also keeping up to date with innovations in the music video industry and subsequently in 1986 the chart show was launched on channel 4. Also in this year British studio Aardman Animation and there special effects techniques allowed Peter Gabriel’s song ‘sledge hammer’ to win 9 MTV video music awards. Towards the end of 1992 music video directors began getting the credit they deserved as the artist and song credits were listed when the songs were played. 1995 saw two of the most expensive videos of all time, Madonna’s, ‘bedtime story’, which cost $5million and Michael & Janet Jackson’s, ‘scream’
  5. 5. The 90’s were another indication of the globalization had and were reaching as MTV Latin America , MTV India, MTV mandarin and MTV2. this shows the long way music video television has come from the early days of countdown in Australia. The beginning of the 21st century marked another change in the music video industry, as the web was now starting to become more prominent in watching music videos. These illegal downloads were created through music videos being recorded from live television. This could be one reason why during the mid 2000’s music television channels was shifting to more reality based shows such as Laguna beach which followed a group of high school students. Music videos have now become an ever present member of the online community as websites such as, YouTube which was founded in 2005, have made it easier to access music videos. This has lead to over night celebrities such as OK GO, who have found stardom in their videos for there two songs ‘a million ways’ and ‘here it goes again’ But due to legal rights there are on going battles between record labels and websites such as YouTube regarding the legal rights to publicize the music videos.