We may not be living in the golden age of MTV any longer, but music videos still have a vital place in our cultural landscape.
In the 90s directors like Spike Jonze and Chris Cunningham were putting millions of dollars into 5-minute segments. Michael and Janet Jackson’s video for their 1995 track, Scream, is still the most expensive music video ever reported at a cost of seven million.
But today music channels are just as important as compact discs. YouTube is the new MTV, and folks are more likely to watch a music video because a celebrity tweeted about it then because they came across it while channel surfing. Yet, music videos are becoming even more and more like films. It hasn’t slowed down with the demise of music television.
Music videos can be used to introduce interesting, underground or lesser-known concepts such as the Dev Hynes and Neneh Cherry video for He, She, Me. The clip doubles up as a campaign film for Selfridges’ new gender-neutral pop-up store, and at the same time rips up gender binaries by creating a stylish queer utopia of androgynous vogueing club kids.
The Importance of Music Videos
Though, it could be argued that music videos only have a crucial position when the songs or artists are popular and have lots of radio play. With the excitement of the release of a new single comes the wait for an amazingly filmed music video.
An example would be the unfathomable hype that came with the release of Beyonce’s “Lemonade.” The power of this album resided not only in lyrics filled with social commentary but also in the film counterpart that gave listeners a complete visual which was why the work was called a visual album.
Music videos still exist for themselves and are still loved as an independent art form, like the music itself.