Video killed the radio star: The power of the music video

January 11, 2019

On August 1st, 1981 the first 24-hour music video channel, MTV, arrived on the world’s television sets. Fittingly, it was The Buggles’ new wave hit Video Killed The Radio Star that Christened the channel and ushered in the era of the music video.

Since then, the importance of music videos has been made abundantly clear. Music videos can add to the emotional weight of a track, put a new perspective on music that we already love or become far bigger than the song itself. From Michael Jackson’s Thriller to Tenacious D’s Tribute countless videos have become an intrinsic feature of the songs they’re set to and cemented their place in history.

The importance of music videos can’t be understated, especially in the current online world where sharing a video with the world is as simple as uploading it to YouTube. It’s essential that any new artist to understands how they can harness the power of the music video, and we’re here to help.

The impact of music videos

As we’ve mentioned, music videos can have hugely beneficial impacts on songs. A record that would originally be remembered simply as a decent track can become an iconic staple of an artist’s body of work. Just look at the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. While there can be little doubt that MJ would have been successful no matter what thanks to his upbringing and unique voice, the videos made a huge difference to Jackson’s fame.The likes of Thriller, Bad and Smooth Criminal not only showcased cinematic production values, but built up a myth around Michael, with his outfits, dance moves and overall personality shining through more deeply.

While Jackson may have been the king of the 80s music video, it’s not just pop music that can benefit from a great video. Iconic videos from Aerosmith, Guns ‘N’ Roses and Weezer all helped to put the bands on the map. Of course, videos were more obviously important back in the days before the internet as the primary vehicle for musicians to promote new material, but do music videos still matter in the streaming age?

Music videos may no longer be the primary way artists gain exposure, with most people now listening almost exclusively through Apple Music, Spotify and the like. Even so, they’re still wildly important for adding to the music you make. Last year saw the release of Childish Gambino’s This Is America, with a video that hammered home the political message delivered through the song’s lyrics, and this is just one example of a recent video that’s taken the world by storm. So whether you’re the next Arctic Monkeys, Ariana Grande or – please, no – Lil Pump, the visuals that go alongside your music can continue to inspire listeners, even if they do have to bring up YouTube to see you.

What goes into a music video?

So, now you know why they are so important, it’s time for your band to create tomorrow’s best music videos, but where to start? If you’re wondering how to make a music video, there are plenty of sources out there that talk about the technicalities, but in our opinion, what goes into the video itself is most important.

Firstly, you’ll want to choose the right song for the video. While you might love that hyper-experimental 15-minute B-side, is it really the track you want to spend hours putting to visuals? Choose a cracking single that always gets the party going, the kind of song that your target audience is really going to enjoy. There’s a good reason that David Bowie made a video for Space Oddity rather than The Laughing Gnome.

When it comes to what’s actually going to be in the video, it’s usually best for smaller bands looking to save on production costs to stick with live footage. Unless you have a seriously great storyline for your video, or really know how to stretch those low production values to create a masterpiece, going live for your video is a great idea. Live footage is authentic, easy to shoot and edit and a great way to introduce a new audience to your sound and live energy. Even if you do decide to go for a more story-driven video, intercutting the shoot with live footage is still a good way to ensure that people know exactly what you can deliver from a performance perspective.

Music videos can make a big difference to how your band is perceived and the right video can add a lot to your music. The importance of music videos can’t be understated, but the best is yet to come. With cheap recording equipment available to all and the ability to upload your music to potentially millions of people, there’s no better time to record your own music video. So shoot that vid and send your tunes viral.

You can’t shoot a video without an amazing track to go along with it. If you haven’t laid down your very own Thriller, then it’s time to come down to Kore Studios and get recording. Contact us today to arrange a recording session.