Important things to do before shooting a music video!

Steve Gordon, author of The Future of the Music Business, gave a few tips on Digital Music News regarding the legal ins-and-outs of producing a music video. He also gives a brief history of music video followed by a survey of how successful artists have used and continue to use them to launch their careers. Click on the link below to read the entire article!


00123126Part I: History & Continuing Importance of Music Videos.

1. Before Music Videos

Audiovisual presentations of music have existed since the first motion pictures containing sound.  In fact, the first Hollywood “talkie,” released in 1927, was a musical featuring Al Jolson called “The Jazz Singer.”  Before the invention of the video cameras, there were many musical short films featuring the performance of single songs, such as Frank Sinatra’s patriotic “The House I Live In (That’s America To Me).”

These films were sometimes shown before main features at movie theatres.  In the 1960’s, artists like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles started to make short form films of individual songs to promote their albums.  The dawn of what we think of as music videos began in the 1970’s.  For example, in 1975, Queen commissioned the production of a video for their new single, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” to show on Top of the Pops, a popular British TV show showcasing the week’s top hit songs.   In the U.S., Video Concert Hall, launched on November 1, 1979, was the first nationwide video music program on American television, predating MTV by almost three years.

2.  MTV and the Birth of the Era of Music Videos on Television

In 1981, MTV launched by airing “Video Killed the Radio Star,” and this began an era of 24-hour-a-day music videos on television.  The founders of MTV, including Robert Pitman (current chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. (formerly Clear Channel)), convinced record labels to produce more videos and to give them to MTV for free, just as they gave free records to radio stations.  The pitch was that the videos would promote the labels’ records and increase sales.  The only money MTV paid the labels was a relatively small fee to secure exclusive rights to play select videos for a limited period of time.

For instance, MTV paid Sony Music $4 million a year for such rights.  By the mid-1980s, MTV grew to play a central role in marketing pop and rock music.  Many important acts of this period, most notably Madonna, Aerosmith, The Who, Phil Collins, John Mellencamp, Phil Collins and Billy Idol, owe a great deal of their success to the seductive appeal of their videos.  After years of controversy regarding the lack of diversity among artists on the network, MTV aired Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” “Thriller” and other videos, which helped Jackson become the best-selling pop artist of all time.

But by the late 90’s, MTV sharply decreased the number of videos it showed on its airways.  Former MTV president Van Toeffler explained: “Clearly, the novelty of just showing music videos has worn off.  It’s required us to reinvent ourselves to a contemporary audience.”  A decade later, MTV was playing an average of just three hours of music videos per day, preferring cartoons such Beavis and Butt-Head and, later, unscripted reality shows such as Jersey Shore.

MTV continued to play some music videos instead of relegating them exclusively to its sister channels (such as MTV Hits), but around this time, the channel began to air music videos only in the early morning hours and in Total Request Live or TRL, which aired the ten most requested music videos of the day, as voted by viewers via phone or online.  As a result of these programming changes, Justin Timberlake implored MTV to “play more damn videos!” while giving an acceptance speech at the 2007 Video Music Awards.  Despite the challenge from Timberlake, MTV continued to decrease its total rotation time for music videos in 2007 and shut down TRL in 2008.


Click here to read the article in its entirety!

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About HLPAPG

Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on January 22, 2016, in Music Industry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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