The marvel of music video online has been brought upon by the “process whereby new technologies are accommodated by existing media and communication industries and cultures” (Dwyer 2006:2), otherwise known as the phenomenon of digital media convergence. A fundamental shift from music video television to music video online has occurred over the past decade which has aided the success of online delivery methods such as ‘YouTube’ and ‘VEVO’. Herein, the argument can be made that the classic television programs and channels for music video like ‘Rage’ and ‘MTV’ have now taken a back seat to the succeeding online approaches. Therefore, Alex Munt’s article “New Directions in Music Video” is appropriately titled and the content within it aptly postulated that music video has indeed been directed onto a different path.
In order to effectively discuss the dynamics of music video online, the inception of music video television in the 1980’s must be evaluated to soundly understand this shift to the preferred modern online methods. Specifically, the launch of MTV in 1981 allowed artists to showcase their latest hits on television in a video clip. The proclaimed ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson, completely and utterly revolutionised the production of music videos with his ever so famous “Thriller” clip. His explicitly unique and distinct style inspired a generation permitting for break-through artists for the future. A clear modern day example of this can be seen through R&B producer and recording artist Usher.
At the time Usher arguably produced his most famous record in Confessions, MTV and music video television were of high popularity and due to this it is almost impossible not to listen to the song without recollecting the renowned mirror shattering scene towards the end of his video clip. In such a poignant song where Usher is literally on his knees confessing all of his wrongdoings, the shattering of the mirror represents a flawless personification of the world crumbling down on him. Nevertheless, digital media convergence has produced an exponential growth in music video online because of the “increasing availability of broadband coupled with the difficulty of streaming longer videos through the current Internet technology” (Munt 2007: 3). Consequently, this has seemingly altered the way music videos are now produced.
The “viral spread of music video on portals such as YouTube and Vimeo is consistent with ‘the rise of clip culture’ online” (Geist 2007) has generated for new artists and with that, an utterly innovative method of music video online. Weird Al Yankovic is a prime artist who has successfully played on this new era of music video. Weird Al has been noted for his humorous parody of rap star Chamillionaire’s hit record “Ridin’ Dirty” with his version “White and Nerdy”. This music video of ‘White and Nerdy’, although being a sheer mockery of the original entwined with its low-budget capacity, has caught the attention of millions with an astounding 72 000 000 hits on YouTube. Interestingly, this is 53 000 000 more hits than the original ‘Ridin’ Dirty’.
Despite this shift to music video online and its distinctive style, elements from previous ways of presenting music videos, primarily music video television, have been retained. Just like on the all night music television program ‘Rage’ whereby you are able to submit clips to be aired, digital media convergence has allowed for user-generated sites like YouTube to upload any video that you desire. One of the most prosperous examples of this in modern day context is the music video of “Here It Goes Again” by OK Go. The financial side in constructing this video would be close to nothing as the only significant monetary factor needed to be allocated would be the hiring of the treadmills. Nonetheless, despite the minimal effort contributed towards making the music video, it has received a staggering 14 458 966 hits on YouTube reflecting the sheer popularity in this different style of online music video.
The significance of Jenkins’ (2008:13) statement that "old media never die—and they don't even necessarily fade away” is prominent in understanding this shift towards music video online. In agreement with Jenkins, Austerlitz (2008:13) boldly clarifies any ambiguity by asserting that ‘the music video did not die; it merely mutated, onto a new host: the Internet’. Moreover, Shani Orgad contends the argument of ‘Mobile TV’. As technological factors have advanced and it is now possible to access internet via your mobile phone, the genius of accessing music video on smart phones have risen in popularity. According to Orgad (2009:198), “more than half a billion customers subscribed to video services on their mobile phones in 2011”. This meritoriously renders the effects of digital media convergence for the future of music video.
Ultimately, music video has undergone significant changes over the past three decades primarily from being aired on television channels and programs such as ‘MTV’ and ‘Rage’ to online delivery methods. These approaches have been successful through user-generated websites like YouTube and Google Videos which have presented the industry with an utterly unique style of music video because of digital media convergence. Herein the flair, effort and passion that went into music videos with the likes of pop and R&B icons in Michael Jackson and Usher have now been altered with online methods producing low-budget handmade videos such as “Here it Goes Again” by OK Go.
Austerlitz, Saul 2008 Money for Nothing: A history of the music video from the Beatles to the White Stripes, New York: Continuum
Dwyer, T 2010, Media Convergence, McGraw Hill, Berkshire, pp 1-23.
Giest, Michael 2007 ‘The Rise of Clip Culture Online’, BBC News, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4825140.stm, March 2006 (accessed 1 November 2010)
Jenkins, Henry 2008 Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide, New York: New York University Press
Munt, Alex 2011 New directions in music video : Vincent Moon and the ‘ascetic aesthetic’, Australia: Australasian Association of Writing Progams
Orgad, Shani 2009 Mobile TV : Old and new in the construction of an emergent technology Convergence, vol 15 no 2 pp 197 – 214 http://con.sagepub.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/content/15/2/197.full.pdf+html