The Music Video in 2018
From MJ's "Thriller" to Britney's "Oops I Did it Again", we all have those music videos that we can't help but think about when we hear our favourite songs. But without MTV, Much Music and CMT playing as many videos (and less and less people watching TV in general) what is the role of the modern music video? With high quality video equipment becoming more accessible, a large budget isn't as necessary in order to create a complementary video that aids in telling the story of a song! I believe that music videos may be even more important than ever before with the evolution of social media. Our world has become increasingly more visual with platforms like Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter that having visual support for a song is vital to reaching a larger audience. Even streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are incorporating video into their user experience making their platforms more interactive. That goes without saying that YouTube, a video platform, is still one of the most popular platforms for consuming music. Although budgets aren't as high for music videos, compared to even five years ago, they are still as important as ever, if not more so. I wanted to share the two main objectives that I believe, if achieved, can result in a very successful music video, without breaking the bank.
Simple = Strong
Back in the day most music videos seemed to be a massive production that only major labels could afford to pull off. Multiple locations, large crews, actors, cars, equipment all added up into what would be an insane budget for a music video in 2018. Keep in mind that music videos used to be big money makers as well as great support content for songs. TV networks like MTV, CMT and Much Music played music videos nearly all day, which supported the artists and labels by paying royalties for showing the videos. With these networks leaving the majority of their music video programming behind, labels and artists have had to tighten up their budgets for videos as the royalties for music videos have dried up. Today, even major labels are simplifying the video content that their artists are producing to save money.
This isn't a bad thing. Often times the simpler the video, the more impactful it can be. I came across a new video for one of my favourite artists the other day, Ben Rector. Rector's songs are some of the best stories that you will ever hear, and that is the reason I think I love his music so much. His song "Old Friends" is an anthem of nostalgia and reminiscing as he reflects back on his childhood friends. The video has to be one of the most clever, simplistic and strongest pieces of support content for a song I have ever seen.
The simple production of the video is something that I am still in awe of. I have watched it dozens of times and still can't seem to stop. The entire video is filmed in one continuous shot making editing a breeze. Although they probably took a few takes, the end result is a relaxed, support piece the complements the song perfectly. In the editing process they used some simple effects and typography to help tell the story. What is so cool about this video is that it was shot in Rector's childhood garage, with his childhood band. The location and the actors are exactly what the song is about, again keeping the entire story and treatment of the video simple.
Although not every song is going to be this straight forward of a storyline, the premise of the video can remain similar. Such as Dan + Shay's "Alone Together" video which I will elaborate on a bit more.
Watch the video below!
"Old Friends" | Ben Rector
Similar to the Ben Rector video, Dan + Shay's "Alone Together" has a simple shoot and leaves room for some creativity in the editing process. One location, only Dan + Shay as the onscreen talent and a simple equipment set up, this video's shoot would have been pretty simple to execute. Although there isn't any B-roll of actors playing out the story, the simple choreography of Dan + Shay paints a picture that reflects the song's lyrics. The lighting of the video keeps the visuals entertaining as well as the neon effects added in post. The simplicity of the video is something that I love and is another example that simple can equal strong.
Watch the video below!
"Alone Together" | Dan + Shay
As humans, we love stories. It is practically how we consume almost any type of media. Whether it be a commercial for a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or a Hollywood film, we love stories. That is why I am a firm believer that there should be some sort of storyline in every single video that I create. It doesn't have to be complex with twists and turns, but something
When Annika and I were putting together the idea for our music video for our single "Blame it on the Neon" we wanted to ensure that there was a storyline worked in that not only served the song but also showed off our personalities. We were also on a limited budget ($5,000) which we were able to pull off! By calling for fans to partake in the shoot, leveraging relationships with friends that own a bar, and a good looking bartending buddy we were able to put together our most successful music video to date!
Again, although the video didn't exactly mirror the lyrics in the song, it certainly follows a parallel storyline. We love our videos for "Waiting Kind of Girl" and "Best Adventure" but they are missing a certain something... If you watch them I think you will know what I mean. They look great, but there is some substance missing and to me, its a story. With "Blame it on the Neon" the story was the driving force of the video. We kept it in the back of our heads throughout the shoot to ensure that there was continuity throughout the video and that nothing seemed out of place. The story line in the music video and the bumpers on both the beginning and the end of the performance section of the video create depth in the video, beyond the song, giving it something special.
This video ended up getting featured on CMT (Country Music Television) in the US which was a huge accomplishment! It also has over 132,000 views on YouTube at the time that I write this, where our second most viewed music video has 65,000. I truly believe that along with the success of the song itself, the video's success was driven by the storyline that it had built in. I will always try and build in a storyline into each video that I am apart of making from now on, because it's what we, as humans, hold on to.
Watch the video below!
"Blame it on the Neon" | Leaving Thomas
Although the way that we consume media is changing so incredibly fast, one thing that will remain consistent is that we will always want to watch, listen to, and be consumed by a story. As a content creator, this is a core value that I feel needs to be present in virtually every piece of content that I create. Also, you don't need to have a outrageous budget to make a great video with a powerful story, just be resourceful, creative and make some magic!
"Nothing Much These Days" | Aaron Pollock
^ Check out the video I made with the incredibly talented Aaron Pollock! ^
Got a music video or another project that you would like to work on together? Hit me up, I'd love to chat!