Are Music Videos Even Worth It Anymore?
“…the day that you play me will be the same day MTV play videos” – Kanye West
Back when I was growing up (in the 90s), music videos were all the rage. In many cases, they were more hotly anticipated than the songs themselves and could add interest and promotional value exponentially.
However, in recent years, networks (such as VH1, MTV, and BET) that once based their programming around airing music videos, have all but abandoned them for
utter foolishness reality television shows and scripted programming.
Basically, it’s hard to catch a music video on television these days. Of course, people can watch them on YouTube and/or VEVO, but do those views necessarily translate into sales for the artist?
Kanye West and Jay Z both released
subpar and mediocre, respectively #1 albums without music videos. West recently released a video on his website for “Black Skinhead” and The Formerly Hyphenated Artist will release “Picasso Baby” on HBO as an art film.
Here’s the question: With networks rarely playing music videos anymore and artists clearly selling records without them, is there any need for a label (or an artist, independent or otherwise) to spend money producing them anymore?
Maybe Jay Z is changing the game by releasing his latest one as an art film on a major TV network, but how many artists would be able to replicate that? Furthermore, is it necessary when Samsung had already spent $5 million for the record that 528,000 iPhone users bought the first week of its release?
Beyond that, are music videos losing significance in general or only in hip-hop? That is, would you still buy music from artists like Usher or Chris Brown if they didn’t pull off dazzling dance moves in almost every frame?
I have no answers to these questions, but it might not be too surprising to see labels and artists moving away from music videos as we’ve come to know them and toward other means of promoting their albums and singles.