Music Videos Are Not Dead! They’ve Just Gone North For The Winter. (Wk 5)

Digging into week five of my blogging challenge (for more about the challenge, see the links to previous posts at the bottom of this page.)

The task: (a) entwine youtube into my online presence and (b) post a new video. So after fiddling around with my youtube channel – switching over to the new layout, updating the look with my now ubiquitous honeycomb backdrop and adding web links and so forth – I set out to finish part (b) of the task.

And I’m glad I did. Because this week, it seems, I have inadvertently launched a new project aptly titled: my Homemade Music Video Project. This has been on my secret to-do list since I first created the music video for my song Be My Girl back in March of 2010.

I say secret because in addition to making music, I have a fantasy of being a world famous movie director / auteur! Okay, if not world famous…then at least kinda well known around internet circles and among my fans and friends.

Image of How To Make A Secret Message

How To Make A Secret Message

I’m a filmmaking newby, and I’m fascinated with old super 8 footage and stop animation and all sorts of low-tech ideas. What better way to figure stuff out then to…well… figure it out!

So the project goes like this: I am going to make videos for every song on my album, Even Though The Sky Was Falling… and then some (I’m thinking of a few tunes from my earlier album, Hearts Fall, and when the new album comes out – songs from that one too.) Once a month, or so, I plan to put together a new video and… yep, you got it… post it on my youtube channel. Seamless integration!

And So, Drrrrrrum Rrrrrrrollll…

Here is my first submission: (well, second if you consider Be My Girl to be the inaugural one so many mooooons ago.)

May I present: Little Grey Sparrow!

(Warning: embarrassing hair cuts ahead.)

Part Two: A Brief Musing On The Function Of Music Videos

Remember a few years ago when every body was saying that music videos were dead? That’s because in the old school way of thinking (old school being 80s & 90s MTV model) music videos were promotional tools only… music video were the sweet eye candy, the ribbon on the music, the window dressing on the salad days designed to do one thing only… sell singles.

They were sleek, expensive and only doable for artists with major label support. After all, there was only so much broadcasting time available on MTV or MuchMusic – and those were really the only outlets for showing them. If you were going to sink that much money into promoting a song, the production values had to be high. And that meant having big backers.

Even the addition of CMT and MuchMore didn’t do much to change this. If your video didn’t have high production value and someone working it for you [read = $$$], it was/is tough to get it added to rotation. (Though having said that, and if I may toot my own horn for a second: last year Be My Girl got picked up by Bravo, and I hear it still plays from time to time. Groovy!)

February 14th, 2005: The Day That Everything Changed

And then Youtube showed up. All of a sudden you could post as many videos as you wanted and the ability to garner viewership was, theoretically, a democratic process. If people liked your video and shared it, well gosh darn… you’d go viral! Thus followed the explosion of kitten and silly prank videos and other quick sugar fixes. [Ed. note: well, it took a few months for youtube to actually get up and running. But the domain name was registered seven years ago tomorrow. And in my opinion, that’s romantic enough to deserve to be the title for this section]

Youtube opened up an avenue for independent artists to try their hand too. And thanks to the limits of bandwidth and viewing resolution, as well as the immediacy of upload times, music videos no longer needed to be polished and sleek, just interesting to watch.

Tap, Tap… Is This Thing On?

This raises the question – as an independent musician trying to build sustainable income from music, I wonder do music videos really help to sell music anymore? Do people rush from watching my latest post over to iTunes to download the song?

Maybe that is not the right question anymore. What music videos do is help to forge stronger relationships with fans, and hopefully make new fans too. And equally important is that the process of searching for visuals to express a particular song inspires me to expand my creative thinking. Hopefully that brings depth and moves me to make better work in the future.

What do you think? Are music videos dead? If not, what do you get out of them? What makes a music video interesting enough for you to watch and to share?

Next week: “Blogging”.
Look for my next blog update Monday February 20th.

For more about the blogging challenge I have embarked on for my 2012 New Year’s resolution, see my earlier posts:
Warm up: Does Anybody Ever Win These Things
Week 1: What The Mayans Can Teach Us About Setting Goals, Or…
Week 2: Hold the door, this elevator is going up!
Week 3: Home Sweet Homepage
Week 4: Social Media and the Theory of Everything



Filed under MSi9W3, Music, Writing

17 responses to “Music Videos Are Not Dead! They’ve Just Gone North For The Winter. (Wk 5)

  1. Music videos are not dead. I thought I would provide links here to some from my new friends. Katrina Marie’s music videos actually inspired me to order a copy of her album.

    Tiffany Jo Allen actually invited her fans to submit their own pictures for her Christmas video:

    Ariana Gillis did this amazing video for her song “Shake the Apple”

    Here is the music video I did last year:

    Neil Gertler and Mervin Wrighton are currently working on a music video to enter in a contest for a song promoting the Niagara Region.

  2. YF

    What a wonderful post!

    While watching the video I was thinking how nice your challenge has been for your fans. You have been reaching out and engaging more than before with updates, the survey, more blogging etc. Now with the video and sharing personal footage you took another step in bringing fans closer to you. I think folk singers have always been about connecting with people, and with the boom in communication these days this can be achieved globally and not only locally.

    So this is what goes through my head as I am watching some bad hair-styles and other Ellis family moments. Sure enough, I read along to reach this part: “What music videos do is help to forge stronger relationships with fans”, and certainly feel that this stronger relationship is indeed taking place (as strong as artist-fan relationships can be).

    However, do they translate to more sales? (“do music videos really help to sell music anymore?”). I am not sure, but I guess you will find out. I am drawn to your blog, videos and other updates because I already like your music and bought your CDs, not the other way around. I was exposed to it by the old-fashioned word-of-mouth: a friend got me to come to your show and I liked it. Would I have followed your blog, or indeed, bought the CDs have I only been exposed to your music through the internet? I am not sure.

    I think this is where I will end, without any strong conclusion.

    • And what a wonderful comment! Thanks!

      I am enjoying creating this stuff a lot, so it is really nice to hear that my recent flurry is resonating with you and not just floating away into the ether. : )

      And yep, you’re right. It is a bit of a chicken ‘n egg thing. Who knows, really, why first connections happen. I’m just glad that they do!

  3. Rather like recording music itself these days video creation can be done at a very high level from the home or wherever else you have decent portable gear. It then comes down to the savviness of the artists themselves. Your brilliant piece is a prime example of that.
    Videos are becoming more personal-for the lack of a better term – rootsier.
    I’m all for it It still comes down to wether or not I like the song but the homespun quality of many of the things I’ve seen recently gives me a greater faith that I’m seeing more of the artists real personality.

    • Good point, Ross.

      You reminded me of another thing: I don’t mean to imply that there is/was no creative expression in those fancy gloss videos… there are directors and designers and many talented people who work in that field, for sure.

      But strip things down, take away all the flash… and ALL you’re left with is inspiration (or the lack of it.)

      PS I totally misread “rootsier” as “roostier”, which in this video is also true. Chickens do appear briefly about half way through the song.

  4. Karyn, I’ve lately been writing weekly with a couple of 20-something-year- olds. Last time out, they spontaneously broke into a Spice Girls song and did all the moves that went along with it! I said, well, it’s obvious you guys grew up in the video age. And they said, no! The lyrics just INSPIRED the antics! And they were doing exactly the same moves together. So I say, good lyrics make their own movies. But who can resist watching videos? No one. And there you have it.

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