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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Transformation of the Music Video Industry

Music videos have transformed greatly since the first ones in the 60's mainly displayed of MTV to the ones made today that are mainly posted to Youtube. Many people and a lot of money go into creating the music videos we see today on youtube and other streaming services. Music videos used to be almost exclusively to promote a song, but now the music video has become an important source of extra revenue. Videos today also have become something that most artists use to create an advertisement for their individual image. Artists often have to create videos using styles and building their own unique video around it. The music video achieves money, fame and popularity for the artist.

Many argue the beginning of music on tv was on February 9, 1964, when The Beatles played live on The Ed Sullivan Show in front of an estimated 73 million Americans. This is the first time that so many viewers Had tuned in for a live tv event, with almost ¾ of the american adult population tuned in. (The Beatles American Debut)The popularity of the beatles was so large that they had to make videos of them performing to satisfy the huge consumer demand.(Maguire, Sean)

Mtv launched August 1, 1998, but was only available to households in parts of New Jersey. They quickly expanded after earning $7 million in advertising revenue in the first 18 months(“MTV Launches.”, 2009). Once the value of Mtv was realized, investments quickly went in to creating new cutting edge videos. The first programs consisted of free videos provides by record companies, that were often introduced by VJs (video jockeys). MTV, which stood for “Music Television” was the first network to fully dedicate its content to music. The first words to be spoken by MTV's creator, John Lack: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”

In the mid 1980s, MTV was crucial in promoting the careers of many artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince, whose videos were played almost exclusively on the air. In the late 1980s, MTV began to air non-music programming, aimed at teenagers and young adults.  Starting with, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, The Osbournes, My Super Sweet 16, Laguna Beach and The Hills, Which were all very highly rated. MTV even started to air animated series such as Beavis and Butthead and Celebrity Deathmatch. They also aired documentaries, news, game shows and public service campaigns about almost anything. Today, MTV's music-video air time is largely devoted to one show, Total Request Live.

One of MTV's biggest competitors was YouTube, which almost completely pushed them out of the music video industry. YouTube first launched in 2005, by creators Steve Chen, Jawed Karim and Chad Hurley. Sequoia Capital liked the idea for Youtube so much they made an investment of $11.5 million. In April 2005, the first ever video was uploaded by user Karim, named 'Me at the Zoo', as of september 2018, the 55 second clip has about 55 million views. After a almost 8 month Beta testing period, the site finally launched in December 2005, with a Nike commercial becoming the first video to receive one million views, with many more to follow.

Less then a year later Google acquired the company for about $1.65 billion, even though the company was relatively small to youtube today.In 2009 YouTube made a lot of major advances, with the launch of full hd and partnerships with Channel 4. At this point Youtube was getting about 1 billion views a day. At the end of 2011, shortly after the site announced four billion views a day, the first video to hit one billion views was Psy's 'Gangnam Style'. Since 2012, YouTube made many advances and has become a multi-billion dollar company. As of today there are over 1.3 billion users, about 5 billion videos are watched every day, and 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute(X, Ace).

Music videos used to be almost exclusively to promote a song, but now the music video has become an important source of extra revenue. (Cobo, Leila) The music video achieves money, fame and popularity for the artist. They do this by advertising the song and music video on television, radio and Internet. This builds the popularity of the artist and brings in money for the record label. (Maguire, Sean)A example of this is Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You," with the combined lyric video plays and the official music video had about 3.22 billion views. This generated about $5.34 million in revenue, of which $4.2 million went to the label, where 25-50 percent go to the artist, and $1.142 million for the publisher. “Videos today are seen as a revenue source on the product,” says Jim Roppo, Republic Record's executive in vp marketing. “When you make videos with the potential to reach 500 million to 1 billion impressions, what can we invest to get the best creative possible? We need more iterations.” (Cobo, Leila)

Music videos today have become something that most artists use to create an advertisement for their individual image. Artists often have to create videos using styles and building their own unique video around it. Styles are the visual look and atmosphere that the music video creates. They often combine multiple styles in their videos to make a bigger statement about their work and show how much they care about a particular piece of media. Combinations also create a more interesting video then just a single style. The 7 most used Styles today's music video include:  surrealism, narrative, interpretive, animation and impressionist, pastiche and parody. A video that uses surrealism has a dreamlike state, where the real world ceases to exist. A narrative tells a story with a beginning middle and end, not always in that order. In an Interpretive video the artist makes the audience figure out the meaning to the video for themselves. Many times different people might interpret the video differently than others. An animation video is simply animated, which can be eye catching and gives the music video some visual flair that a regular video would not have. An impressionist video attempts to capture a moment in daily life in the real world. Parody and pastiche are very similar except pasiche is the celebration of another piece of work and imitates it with respect, and Parody: imitating another style, most often with humorous intent.(Maguire, Sean)

Cinematographers, editors and directors use many different techniques to create a distinct feeling, pace and look to the video. Things like different lighting, camera positioning and green screening are added post-production to make the video more unique. One of the biggest roles in a music video is the cinematographers. The cinematographers has to decide the different camera techniques and the lightning to use. The editor is the one that takes all the shots and clips recorded and combine them to create scenes. They have to make sure that the video stays consistent and coherent while making sure the narrative goes with the music.. The director is in charge of choosing the cast members, production design, and almost all of the creative aspects of filmmaking.(Maguire, Sean)

One of the strongest interpretive music video created lately is Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, better knows as XXXTentacions video Sad. The video was released less than 2 weeks after he was shot and killed outside of a motorcycle dealership. This makes it hard to find out the real meaning of the video because he is not here to explain it.

The video opens with just a pair of eyes in a black background. Subtitles then begin to appear, “Hello. My name is Gekyume” Which is A word made by the rapper meaning a “different state” or “next” universe of thought. The video then begins to flash questions such as ‘how old are you?, what is your name?, why are you watching this video?. Then X begins to walk into a funeral towards a casket and the questions get more real, “why do you love?, why do you hate?, what is your blood type? Birth time and place?” This really makes the viewer begin to think before the video even begins. Then x goes on to say “if you are watching you are subjected to a segmented piece of my creative aura and wishes” Which really brings the viewer in.

At this point X is at the casket at the front of the funeral and it is his body in the casket, but with his old hairstyle from when he was an up and coming rapper. Most likely the meaning of this is that the old violent, depressed version of himself is dead and he is creating a new image for himself. This would make a lot of sense because he made and directed the video before his death. But this has no clear meaning because a lot of people thought he was not really dead and it was a publicity stunt. I personally know that that is not true because I believed that he was still alive as well until I went to his memorial in Miami Florida shortly after his death and saw his body in the casket up close. As he is looking at his old self the body comes alive and they begin to fight in the church. This is when the music finally starts and he quickly takes down his old self and quickly takes him down. The next scene has both of them break out of the church while the new version of X mercifully beats the old version of himself while people from his past stand around and watch.

The final scene of the video cuts to a dark room with just X sitting on a chair with his head down. The subtitles appear and say “you have done well at beating yourself, are you satisfied?” As soon as that is don't X stands up rapidly and the video ends. This most likely means that even though he has created a new version of himself he still wants more. Months before his death he had become a very generous person giving away cash and material goods to his family and others in need. This was a very big step for him because before he was his old self he was on the wrong path, “allegedly” beating his girlfriend and overall just being a violent person, but just as he was beginning to get his life on path he was shot and killed, abruptly ending any chance.

Another great music video is Drake's God's plan, he stepped outside the box and created a very unique music video. He showed generosity to those in need by giving away the entire budget of $996,631.90 to those in need. This video is a nice change from most rappers music videos today. Most just have rappers flashing their wads of cash and expensive jewelry, and Drake is actually giving away wads of cash to those in need. The video opens with an older man talking about how he knew Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington when he was young. He goes on to talk about how he doesn't make anywhere near what they make for a living, but he enjoys the same good health. “It's a good life, it's a good life.” He says towards the end of the scene, he doesn't need money feel happy. Drake embodies this attitude throughout the video, giving away almost a million dollars because he does not need it to have a good life.

Drake begins by walking into the Sabor Tropical Supermarket in the Miami area, holds up a megaphone and says “anything you guys want in the store, it's free, whatever you guys want”. Then it pans to dozens of people filling their shopping carts with whatever they can, as fast as they can. Drake sits down next to family who is sitting on a ledge by the street. It takes a second, then one of the kids notices Drake sitting next to her, and screams. Drake smiles and hands the family a big wad of cash, and the family is overwhelmed with gratitude towards the rapper. The rapper spend a lot of time at Miami University doing good deeds, but mostly dancing and singing with the students. He begins by giving a $50,000 check to Destiny James, a junior at the University. She later posted on Instagram post thanking Drake "You don't understand what this means to me. I would've never imagined this happening to me. I'm just a girl from Denmark, SC that wants to MAKE IT and be somebody and for you to see my hard work means the world. Thank you so much. God I thank you." Then the video cuts to Drake giving away another $50,000 check and toys for all the children to the Lotus House Women's Shelter. Which supports homeless women and children. After the donation he goes further handing out $150 Target gift cards to about 130 women of the shelter. Drake then gives back to the firefighters of Miami with a $20,000 check.

Toward the end of the video Drake begins to give away cars, and just hand out large wads of cash to people in need. “We're nothing without our mothers,” Drake tells a young man at the end of the video. “Gotta make sure you take care of your mom, too, no matter what you do. It's all we got, trust me, that's my world. ” This is a strong message because drake himself was raised by a single mother. Shortly after the video went live Drake posted on instagram: "I am not into challenges on IG (instagram), I find them annoying...but today I am going to challenge everyone to just go out and do something for someone, anything, the smallest thing, just to bring another human being some joy and please tag me in it somehow so I can see all the love being spread." (Kornhaber, Spencer)

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