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Some History Facts on Music Videos

Music videos are a vital part of the music industry. Artists are entitled to their careers on music videos because they are given the opportunity to influence the public not only with their vocal talent, but also with their looks or movements.

Thirty years ago, music video used to be as important as it is today. MTV (Music Television) was the phenomenon that gave so much power and importance to music video. MTV began broadcasting in the US in 1981 and that was the beginning of the control of music video over the music industry. The first video ever played on MTV was ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ by The Buggles. Because MTV was broadcasting music 24 hours a day, there was a need to produce music videos. As a result, music video began to play an important role in the careers of artists. Her videos are thought to have had a profound impact on Madonna’s career that reflected the artist’s sexual, attractive appearance. Some experts say Madonna inspired the image used by actress Greta Garbo in her silent films. MTV was highly controversial: some saw it as the beginning of a wonderfully new era in music, others saw it as the end of true musical talent, as artists value their appearance more than their vocal abilities.

Today, the music video is as important as the song itself, sometimes even deciding about the success of a song or artist. Collections of music videos are being sold on tapes or DVDs. Apparently most music video fans are watching them with sound to enjoy their artistic value, as they consider it a new kind of art. They consider that a music video should be judged based on its visual qualities and not on the quality of the song. Music ‘gurus’, corporate managers, seem to have realized the potential of using sexual appeal in music videos, so this feature is being used excessively because it is becoming more popular with the public.

The birth of music video created a new kind of directors: video directors. MTV even started listing directors with video credits and this profession is becoming more and more popular. Most video directors don’t seem to specialize in this particular art form, they feel it’s just a step on the way to directing a film. Many of them start directing videos or commercials, hoping to gain the recognition to build a name and direct a movie. Even video directors seem to admit that music video is secondary to the song itself.

Finally, while fans of the music video have tried to elevate this type of entertainment to an art form title, the music video is ultimately just a commercial work, intended to sell a product: the song.

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