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They are called "music videos"


They are a short film or video that accompanies a complete piece of music, most commonly a song. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. Although the origins of music videos go back much further, they came into their own in the 1980s, when MTV's format was based around them.


The term "music video" first came into popular usage in the early 1980s. Prior to then, such clips were described by various terms including "promotional films" or "promotional clips".


Music videos are often called promo videos or simply promos, due to the fact that they are usually promotional devices. Sometimes, music videos are termed short-form music videos to distinguish them from full length movies pertaining to music. In the 1980s, the term "rock video" was often used to describe this form of entertainment, although the term has fallen into disuse.


Music videos can accommodate all styles of filmmaking, including animation, live action films, documentaries, and non-narrative, abstract film.


In 1910 Alexander Scriabin wrote his symphony Prometheus -- Poem of Fire for orchestra and "light organ". And as far back as the 1920s, the animated films of Oskar Fischinger (aptly labelled "visual music") were supplied with orchestral scores. Fischinger also made short animated films to advertise Electrola Records' new releases, making these films possibly the first music videos.


In 1929 the Russian film revolutionary Dziga Vertov made a 40 minute film called Man with the Movie Camera. It was an experiment on filming real, actual events, contrary to Georges Méliès theatrical approach. The film is entirely backed by music (played live by an orchestra on theaters) and has no dialogue at all. It's notable for the use of fast editing and fast frame frequencies, which were all synched to the music in order to create an emotion on the viewer. The film is highly regarded for setting the principles of the documentary genre, but it is also important in all filmmaking.


In the 1936 film version of Show Boat, Paul Robeson, as Joe, a stevedore, sings Ol' Man River in what might be called an ancestor of the modern music video. The camera does a full pan around him as he sits on a wharf singing; then on the lines "You and me, we sweat and strain", the scene dissolves to an expressionist montage set against deliberately artificial backgrounds, showing dock workers doing exactly what is being sung about ("Tote that barge, lift that bale", etc.). The camera then returns to Robeson as he finishes his solo refrain, then shows dock workers entering to sit around him and join in the song. We see another expressionist montage before returning to the full group for the closing verses.


Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 film Alexander Nevsky, which features extended scenes of battles choreographed to a score by Sergei Prokofiev, was influenced by Vertov's work . It set new standards for the use of music in film and has been described as the first music video.


Animation pioneer Max Fleischer introduced a series of sing-along short cartoons called Screen Songs, which invited audiences to sing along to popular songs by "following the bouncing ball". Early 1930s entries in the series featured popular musicians performing their hit songs on-camera in live-action segments during the cartoons.


The early animated efforts of Walt Disney, his Silly Symphonies, were built around music. The Warner Brothers cartoons, even today billed as Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, were initially fashioned around specific songs from upcoming Warner Brothers musical films. Live action musical shorts, featuring such popular performers as Cab Calloway, were also distributed to theatres.


Blues singer Bessie Smith appeared in a two-reel short film called Saint Louis Blues (1929) featuring a dramatized performance of the hit song. It was shown in theatres until 1932. Numerous other musicians appeared in short musical subjects during this period. Later, in the mid-1940s, musician Louis Jordan made short films for his songs, some of which were spliced together into a bizarre feature film Lookout Sister; these films were, according to music historian Donald Clarke, the ancestors of music videos.[1]


Another early form of music video were one-song films called "Soundies" made in the 1940s for the Panoram visual jukebox. These were short films of musical selections, usually just a band on a movie-set bandstand, made for playing. Thousands of Soundies were made, mostly of jazz musicians, but also torch singers, comedians, and dancers.


Before the Soundie, even dramatic movies typically had a musical interval, but the Soundie made the music the star and virtually all the name jazz performers appeared in Soundie shorts, many still available on compilation video tapes or DVDs.


The Panoram jukebox with eight three-minute Soundies were popular in taverns and night spots, but the fad faded during World War II.


[edit] Foreshadowing developments 1950-1964


In 1956, Petrushka, directed by John David Wilson for Fine Arts Films aired as a segment of the Sol Hurok Music Hour on NBC. It is considered to be the first conceptual music video and first animated special ever aired on network television. Igor Stravinsky himself conducted a live orchestra for the recording of the event.


In 1957 Tony Bennett was filmed walking along The Serpentine in Hyde Park, London as his recording of "Stranger in Paradise" played; this film was distributed to and played by UK and US television stations, leading Bennett to later claim he made the first music video.


According to the Internet Accuracy Project, disk jockey-singer J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson was the first to coin the phrase "music video", in 1959.[2]


[edit] The Scopitone


Around 1960 the Scopitone, a visual jukebox, was invented in France and short films were produced by many French artists, such as Serge Gainsbourg, Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc to accompany their songs. Its use spread to other countries and similar machines such as the Cinebox in Italy and Color-Sonic in the USA were patented.[3]


In 1961 Ozzie Nelson directed and edited the video of "Travelin' Man" by his son Ricky Nelson. It featured images of various parts of the world mentioned in the Jerry Fuller song and Ricky singing. It is believed to be the very first rock video. Ricky also had a regular music slot on the family television show which played a great part in publicizing his career.


The pioneering full-colour music video for The Exciters' "Tell Him" from 1962 greatly influenced all that came afterwards.


In 1964, Kenneth Anger's influential underground experimental short film Scorpio Rising pioneered the concept of using popular songs for ironic moments and images.


[edit] 1964-1970: The Swinging Sixties and avantgarde film-making


[edit] 1964: A Hard Day's Night


The defining work in the development of the modern music video was The Beatles' first major motion picture, A Hard Day's Night in 1964, directed by Richard Lester. The musical segments in this film arguably set out the basic visual vocabulary of today's music videos, influencing a vast number of contemporary musicians, and countless subsequent pop and rock group music videos.


Although unashamedly based on A Hard Day's Night, the hugely popular American TV series The Monkees was another important influence on the development of the music video genre, with each episode including a number of specially-made film segments that were created to accompany the various Monkees songs used in the series. The series ran from 1966 to 1968.


[edit] "Promotional clips" from The Beatles and The Byrds to substitute touring


In 1964, The Beatles began filming short promotional films for their songs which were distributed for broadcast on television variety shows in other countries, especially the U.S.A. as a way to promote their record releases without having to make television appearances. (At the same time, The Byrds began using the same strategy to promote their singles in the United Kingdom, starting with the 1965 single "Set You Free This Time".)


By the time The Beatles stopped touring in late 1966 their promotional films, like their recordings, were becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they now used these films to, in effect, tour for them. Their films for Rain and Paperback writer feature innovative use of rhythmic editing, slow motion, and reversed film effects.


[edit] 1966: Subterranean Homesick Blues


Also in 1966 the clip of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" filmed by D A Pennebaker was much used. Unlike most of its predecessors, there is no attempt to make the song seem as if it is being performed; Dylan does not sing or mime to the song, but merely stands still, holding up a series of cue cards featuring the song's lyrics (or variations thereof) in time to the music. The clip's ironic portrayal of a performance and the seemingly random inclusion of a celebrity (Allen Ginsberg) in a non-performing role also became mainstays of the form. The clip has been much imitated.


[edit] 1967: The defining milestones of Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane


The Beatles took the genre to new heights with their groundbreaking films for "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane", made in early 1967, which used techniques borrowed from underground and avant garde film, such as reversed film effects, dramatic lighting, unusual camera angles, as well as rhythmic editing and color filtering added in post-production, plus surreal props and set designs. Created at the height of the psychedelic music period, these two landmark films are among the very first purpose-made conceptual clips that attempt to "illustrate" the song in an artful manner, rather than just creating a film of an idealized performance.


[edit] The Doors


Other pioneering antecedents of the music video made during this time include the promotional films made by The Doors. The group had a strong interest in film, since both lead singer Jim Morrison and keyboard player Ray Manzarek had met while studying film at UCLA. The clip for their debut single "Break On Through" is essentially structured as a filmed performance, but it is notable for its accomplished and atmospheric lighting, camera work and editing. The Doors also directed a superb promotional clip for their controversial 1968 anti-war single "The Unknown Soldier", in which the group stage a mock execution by firing squad. One of the clip's most innovative features is its use of external visuals sources, with extensive intercutting of archival footage and shocking contemporary TV footage of the carnage of the Vietnam War.


[edit] The Rolling Stones


The Rolling Stones appeared in promotional clips for songs such as "We Love You" (which made reference to the persecution of Oscar Wilde), "2000 Light Years From Home", "Child of the Moon" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and collaborated with Jean-Luc Godard on the film Sympathy for the Devil.


[edit] Yellow Submarine


When released in 1968, the animated film Yellow Submarine was an international sensation, although The Beatles themselves had only a tangential involvement with it. Soon it was commonplace for artists to make promotional films, and bands such as The Byrds and The Beach Boys were also making promotional films. Although these "film clips" were often aired on pop music TV shows, they were still considered as secondary at that time, with live or mimed performances generally given precedence.


[edit] 1970-1974: Television


On the The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, director Chris Bearde enlisted animator John David Wilson, whose pioneering work set an early benchmark, to direct animated segments of current hits of the day reinterpreted by the duo. Songs included Coven's "One Tin Soldier", Three Dog Night's "Black and White" and Melanie's "Brand New Key". Wilson later went on to self-produce many more animated videos for artists such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Jim Croce.


Another early television forerunner of the music video was Now Explosion, produced in Atlanta and syndicated nationwide in 1970 and 1971.


[edit] 1970-1975: Concert films and beyond


The promotional clip continued to grow in importance, with television programs such as The Midnight Special and Don Kirshner's Rock Concert mixing concert footage with clips incorporating camera tricks, special effects, and dramatizations of song lyrics.


Other important contributions to the development of the genre include the film of the Woodstock Festival, and the various concert films that were made during the early Seventies, most notably Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs And Englishmen and particularly Pink Floyd's groundbreaking Live at Pompeii concert film, which featured sophisticated rhythmic cross-cutting.


Also during this time, David Bowie released his promo clip for Space Oddity.


Many countries with local pop music industries soon copied the trend towards promo film clips. In Australia promotional films by Australian pop performers were being made on a regular basis by 1966; among the earliest known are clips by Australian groups The Masters Apprentices and The Loved Ones.


Surf film makers such as Bruce Brown, George Greenough and Alby Falzon also made important contributions in their films, which featured innovative combinations of images and music, and they notably dispensed with all narration and dialogue for many extended surfing sequences in their films, presenting the surfing action accompanied by suitably atmospheric music tracks.


Nicolas Roeg's 1970 cult film Performance contains a sequence in which star of the film Mick Jagger did a rendition of "Memo From Turner" combined with a psychedelic collage.


George Greenough's 1972 film Crystal Voyager included a spectacular sequence (filmed by Greenough) that was constructed around the extended Pink Floyd track "Echoes". The group reportedly agreed to allow him to use the music gratis, in exchange for a copy of Greenough's footage, which they used during their concerts for several years.


Other notable Australian developments in this field are the early 1970s monochrome promotional films made by Australian musician and filmmaker Chris Lofven, whose clips for the Spectrum song "I'll Be Gone" and the Daddy Cool song "Eagle Rock" were among the best of the early Australian promotional clip productions. It is notable that Lofven's 1971 clip for "Eagle Rock" bears a strong stylistic resemblance to the promo for the 1980 hit "Brass in Pocket" by The Pretenders, and it has been speculated that original bassist Pete Farndon may well have seen the Lofven clip when he was working in Australia in the mid-1970s as a member of The Bushwackers.


Arguably, the first promo clip to combine all the elements of the modern music video is David Bowie's promotional clip for the song The Jean Genie, which was released as single in late 1972 at the height of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust period. Filmed and directed by renowned photographer Mick Rock, this genre-defining four-minute film was produced for less than $350, shot in one day in San Francisco on 28th October 1972, and edited in less than two days.


The Swedish music group, ABBA, used promotional films throughout the 1970s to promote themselves in other countries when travelling or touring abroad became difficult. Almost all of these clips were directed by Chocolat and My Life as a Dog director, Lasse Hallström.


[edit] Modern era


The key innovation in the development of the modern music video was, of course, video recording and editing processes, along with the development of a number of related effects such as chroma-key. The advent of high-quality colour videotape recorders and portable video cameras coincided with the DIY ethos of the New Wave era and this enabled many pop acts to produce promotional videos quickly and cheaply, in comparison to the relatively high costs of using film. However, as the genre developed, music video directors increasingly turned to 35 mm film as the preferred medium, while others mixed film and video. By the mid-1980s releasing a music video to accompany a new single had become customary, and acts such as The Jacksons sought to gain a commercial edge by creating lavish music videos with million dollar budgets; most notable with the video for "Can You Feel It".


Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" also started a whole new era for creating promotional clips on video tape rather than on film. Among the first music videos were clips produced by ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith who started making short musical films for Saturday Night Live in 1979. In 1981, he released Elephant Parts, the first video album and first winner of a Grammy for music video, directed by William Dear. A further experiment on NBC television called Television Parts was not successful, due to network meddling (notably an intrusive laugh track and corny gags). The early self-produced music videos by Devo, including the pioneering compilation "The Truth About Devolution", directed by Chuck Statler, were also important (if somewhat subversive) developments in the evolution of the genre and these Devo video cassette releases were arguably among the first true long-form video productions. Video Concert Hall, created by Jerry Crowe and Charles Henderson, was the first nationwide video music programming on American television, predating MTV by almost three years. The USA Cable Network program Night Flight was one of the first American programs to showcase these videos as an art form. Premiering in June 1981, Night Flight predated MTV's launch by two months.


Two feature-length films released on the cusp of MTV's first appearance on the dial contributed enormously to the development of the form. The first was 1981's Shock Treatment, a pseudo-sequel/spinoff of The Rocky Horror Picture Show principally written and scored by RHPS creator Richard O'Brien. The film broke stylistic ground by being more focused and less visually ambitious – and thus easier to emulate on a tight budget – than either RHPS or Ken Russel's chaotic 1975 adaptation of The Who's music and storyline from the album Tommy, or even a lower-budget affair like The Ramones' Rock 'n' Roll High School.(1979) The limited budget and resulting necessity of restraint and simplification served as an inspiration to depict the setting – Denton USA, a town completely controlled by a dictatorship in the form of a television network which subjects its inhabitants to unnecessary therapy and extreme fashion makeovers, among other eerily "reality t.v."-foreshadowing fates – in a fashion so absurdly literal (The town of Denton is literally one and the same as the DentonTV studio) that it surpasses sheer silliness and lends a surreal and comical tone to the film which requires the suspended disbelief of the viewer to make sense. In other words, Shock Treatment introduced Bertolt Brecht to the world of commercial musical filmmaking. Furthermore, the occasionally rapid-fire editing and eye-catchingly bold and simplistic colour schemes gave the emerging first wave of music video directors plenty of more ideas to work with.


The following year saw the release of a rock'n'roll musical that was something of a "shock treatment" in and of itself. Directed by Alan Parker, who also directed Midnight Express and Fame, Pink Floyd: The Wall transformed the group's 1979 concept double-LP of the same title into an explosively confrontational and apocalyptic audio-visual labyrinth of stylized, expressionistic images, sounds, melodies and lyrics which, with a few exceptions, are never actually sung by any character on or off screen. The effect of pitting Parker, Floyd songwriter Roger Waters and cartoonist Gerald Scarfe's collectively negotiated interpretations of the events and experiences in the life of the protagonist, Pink (The character was played by the future 'Sir' Bob Geldof), against the album's bleak and theatrically enormous music and topically challenging and controversial lyrics was so provocative and unsettling that critics and audiences alike remain sharply divided by their opinions of the film to this day. The sequences of rapid cuts between juxtaposing but implicitly related imagery in The Wall has undoubtedly influenced the style of many videos, possibly including the re-editing of shots depicting various plot points in the film 8 Mile into the video for Eminem's "Lose Yourself". Also, the simultaneously comical and threatening style, staging and concept of scenes such as the huge hall of schoolchildren chanting "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" or the Nazi salute-incorporating line dance of masked neofascists in "Run Like Hell" is much in the same spirit as Michael Jackson's posse of dancing undead ghouls in the legendary "Thriller" video. In 1985 MCA Home video released The Doors' Dance on Fire, that was to become the first long-form, original-concept video. Involved in this project was Rick Schmidlin, George Paige and Linda Weis. Ray Manzarek oversaw the direction, and since then long-form releases have been a huge success.


In 1980, New Zealand group Split Enz had major success with the single "I Got You" and the album True Colours, and later that year they joined Blondie in becoming one of the first bands in the world to produce a complete set of promo clips for each song on the album and to market these on video cassette. This was followed a year later by the first American video album, The Completion Backwards Principle, directed by Michael Cotten of The Tubes. However, several of their video clips were directed by band member Noel Combie.


[edit] 1980s


During the 1980s promotional videos became pretty much de rigueur for most recording artists, a rise which was famously parodied by UK BBC television comedy program Not The Nine O'Clock News who produced a spoof music video; "Nice Video, Shame About The Song". Frank Zappa also parodied the excesses of the genre in his satirical song "Be In My Video".


In the early to mid 1980s, artists started to use more sophisticated effects in their videos, and added a storyline or plot to the music video.


A non-representational music video is one in which the musical artist is never shown. Because music videos are mainly intended to promote the artist, such videos are rare; two early 1980s examples, however, are Bruce Springsteen's Atlantic City directed by Arnold Levine and David Mallet's video for David Bowie/Queen's Under Pressure. Blues Traveler spoofs the non-representational style in its video for the song Runaround, in which a thin, stylish group of pretenders lip-synch the music while the real band performs backstage. Almost all of the videos by Tool, New Order and The Arctic Monkeys are non-representational.


[edit] 1981: MTV


In 1981, the U.S. video channel MTV launched, beginning an era of 24-hour-a-day music on television. (The first video broadcast was fittingly "Video Killed the Radio Star", by The Buggles.) With this new outlet for material, the music video would, by the mid-1980s, grow to play a central role in popular music marketing. Many important acts of this period, most notably Madonna and Mylene Farmer, owed a great deal of their success to the skillful construction and seductive appeal of their videos. Some academics have compared music video to silent film, and it is suggested that stars like Madonna have (often quite deliberately) constructed an image that in many ways echoes the image of the great stars of the silent era such as Greta Garbo.


1986 became a landmark year for music videos, thanks to Peter Gabriel's smash hit "Sledgehammer". The video broke new ground in the use of special effects and sophisticated animation techniques. It was animated by British studio Aardman Animation (and, incidentally, was one of Nick Park's first projects with the studio). "Sledgehammer" won 9 MTV Video Music Awards in 1986, a record which still stands. The video is, to this day, considered one of the most important and influential music videos ever created, being placed at #1 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "Top 100 Music Videos" in 1993, and placing #4 on a similar list from MTV in 1999. MTV has stated that "Sledgehammer" is the most-played video in the channel's history. "Sledgehammer" is not Gabriel's only contribution to the medium, however. Most of Gabriel's videos employ sophisticated animation and other cutting edge special effects, and he has long been considered one of the music video's foremost innovators.


In the information technology era, music videos approached the popularity of the songs themselves, being sold in collections on videocassettes and now DVD. Enthusiasts of music videos sometimes watch them muted purely for their aesthetic value. Instead of watching the video for the music, (the basis for the artform), the videos are appreciated for their visual qualities, while viewers remain uninterested in the audio portion of the performance. This is a normal sociological reaction, some say, to the increasing trend in the music business to focus on visual appeal of artists, rather than the quality of the music. Critics say that the corporate music managers, over the course of logical and calculated business decisions, have sought to capitalize on the sex appeal of females in music videos rather than in choosing less profitable musicianship-based music.


The precursor of MTV was independently-produced Video Concert Hall, which usually featured daily programming of four hours or more, but rarely 24 hours, except on the Warner Communications QUBE cable television stations. Billboard credits Video Concert Hall as being the first with nationwide video music programming on American television. Video Concert Hall creators Charles Henderson and Jerry Crowe are considered the "fathers" of television's video music programming.


Although many see MTV as the start of a "golden era" of music videos and the unparalleled success of a new artform in popular culture [citation needed], others see it as hastening the death of the true musical artist [citation needed], because physical appeal is now critical to popularity to an unprecedented degree [citation needed].


[edit] Influential TV shows


[edit] Top of the Pops


In the UK the importance of Top of the Pops to promote a single created an environment of innovation and competition amongst bands and record labels as the show's producers placed strict limits on the number of videos it would use. Therefore a good video would increase a song's sales as viewers hoped to see it again the following week. David Bowie scored his first UK number one in nearly a decade thanks to director David Mallet's eye catching promo for "Ashes to Ashes". Another act to succeed from this tactic was Madness, who shot on 16 mm and 35 mm short micro-comedic films.


Top of the Pops was censorous in its approach to video content, so another method was for an act to produce a promo that would be banned or edited. It would then use the resulting public controversy to promote the release. Early examples of this tactic were Duran Duran's "Girls on Film" and Frankie Goes to Hollywood with "Relax", directed by Bernard Rose.


[edit] The Chart Show


Another important development in music videos was the launch of The Chart Show on the UK's Channel 4 in 1986. This was a programme which consisted entirely of music videos (the only outlet many videos had on British TV at the time), without presenters. Instead, the videos were linked by then state of the art computer graphics. The show moved to ITV in 1989, and was axed in 1998. By this time the programme's use had largely been supplanted by satellite and cable music channels with increasing amounts of people having access to such channels, and the launch of Digital Television occurring around the same time (Ironically, digital television would lead to the rebirth of The Chart Show in 2002 as a digital music channel, Chart Show TV).


[edit] Countdown


Although little acknowledged outside Australia, it is arguable that the 1970s–1980s Australian TV pop show Countdown — and to a lesser extent its commercial competitors Sounds and Nightmoves — were important precursors to MTV.


Countdown, which was based on Top of the Pops, was successful in Australia and other countries quickly followed the format. At its highpoint during most of the 1980s it was to be aired in 22 countries including TV Europe. In 1978 the Dutch TV-broadcasting company Veronica started its own version of Countdown, which during the 1980s featured Adam Curry as its best known presenter. The program gained international significance in the recording industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Produced on a shoestring by the government-owned ABC national TV network, its low budget, and Australia's distance proved to be influential factors in the show's early preference for music video. The relative rarity of visits by international artists to Australia and the availability of high-quality, free promotional films meant that Countdown soon came to rely heavily on music videos in order to feature such performers.


The show's talent coordinator, Ian Meldrum, and his producers quickly realised that these music videos were becoming an important new commodity in music marketing. For the first time, pre-produced music videos gave TV the opportunity to present pop music in a format that rivalled or even exceeded the impact of radio airplay, and it was soon apparent that Countdown could single-handedly break new pop acts and new songs by established artists — a role that up until then been the exclusive preserve of radio.


Although Countdown continued to rely heavily on studio appearances by local and visiting acts, competing shows like Sounds lacked the resources to present regular studio performances, so they were soon using music videos almost exclusively. As the 1980s progressed, the ability to use music videos to give bands the best possible presentation saw record companies making more, and more lavish, promotional videos.


Realising the potential of music video, Countdown negotiated a controversial deal with local record labels, giving them first refusal and a period of exclusive use for any new video that came into the country, and with its nationwide reach and huge audience, the show was able to use music videos to break a number of important new local and overseas acts, notably ABBA, Queen, Meat Loaf, Blondie, Devo, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. This early success in Australia in turn enabled these acts to gain airplay and TV exposure and score breakthrough hits in their home countries.


[edit] Music video directors and creative rights


Since December 1992, when MTV began listing directors with the artist and song credits, music videos have increasingly become an auteur's medium. Few if any filmmakers train specifically to make music videos, and very few can afford to make them exclusively. Most split their time between videos and other film projects. Music video directors - who generally conceive, write, and direct their videos - currently receive no authorship, creative rights, profit participation or residual income from DVDs, iTunes, and other new media on which their work may appear.


However, those features of the industry that tend to make music video direction a less-than-lucrative profession, have also made the medium an exciting art-form, one defined by the cross-pollination of ideas and approaches from various disciplines. Music video directors, like most filmmakers in general, emerge from disparate backgrounds, and don't share much in the way of common thinking or set-in-stone pedagogy, bringing to the field a diversity of experience.


[edit] Music video censorship


As the concept and medium of a music video is a form of artistic expression, artists have been on many occasions censored if their content is deemed offensive. What may be considered offensive will differ in countries due to censorship laws and local customs and ethics. In most cases, the record label will provide and distribute videos edited or provide both censored and uncensored videos for an artist. In some cases, it has been known for music videos to be banned in their entirety as they have been deemed far too offensive to be broadcast. The first video to be rejected by MTV was "Girls on Film" by Duran Duran in 1981 because it contained full frontal nudity; it was also rejected by the BBC. In 1989, Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" video (where the singer performs the song in an extremely revealing body suit surrounded by a ship full of cheering sailors) was restricted to late-night broadcasts on MTV.


In 1983, Entertainment Tonight ran a segment on censorship and "Rock Video Violence." The episode explored the impact of MTV rock video violence on the youth of the early 1980s. Excerpts from the music videos of Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Kiss, Kansas, Billy Idol, Def Leppard, Pat Benatar and the Rolling Stones were shown. Dr. Thomas Radecki of the National Coalition on TV Violence was interviewed accusing the fledgling rock video business of excessive violence. Night Tracks producer Tom Lynch weighed in on the effects of the video violence controversy. Recording artists John Cougar Mellencamp, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss, along with directors Dominic Orlando and Julien Temple, provided a defense of their work. The episode's conclusion was that the controversy will continue to grow.


In 1991 the dance segment of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" was cut because it showed Michael Jackson "inappropriately" touching himself in it. Michael Jackson's most controversial video, "They Don't Care About Us" was banned from MTV, VH1, and BBC because of the alleged anti-Semitic message in the song and the visuals in the background of the "Prison Version" of the video.


Madonna is probably the artist most associated with music video censorship. The controversy surrounding her marketing of sexuality began with the video for "Lucky Star", and amplified over time due to clips such as "Like a Virgin". Outcry occurred over the subject matter discussed in "Papa Don't Preach", although the video is tastefully done. "Like a Prayer" courted heavy criticism due to its religious/sexual/racial imagery. In 1990, her music video for the song "Justify My Love" was banned by MTV due to its depiction of sadomasochism, homosexuality, cross-dressing, and group sex, generating a media firestorm. Two years later, her video for "Erotica" was aired only 3 times (each time after midnight) due to its sexual depictions of sadomasochism. More recently, Madonna's "What It Feels Like for a Girl" was banned in 2001 due to its graphic depiction of violence. She also pulled her "American Life" video because of its controversial military imagery that seemed inappropriate once the War in Iraq began; subsequently, a new video was made for the song. The debate over the banning of "Justify My Love" by the Canadian music video network MuchMusic led to the launching in 1991 of Too Much 4 Much, a series of occasional, late-night specials (still being aired in the early 2000s) in which videos officially banned by MuchMusic were broadcast, followed by panel discussion regarding why they were removed.


Prodigy's video for "Smack My Bitch Up" was banned in some countries due to depictions of drug use and nudity. The Prodigy's video for "Firestarter" was banned by the BBC because of its references to arson. Thursday's video for "War All the Time" was banned by MTV because of its supposedly controversial nature.


As of 2005, the Egyptian state censorship committee has banned at least 20 music videos which featured sexual connotations due to Muslim moral viewpoints. The Sex Pistols' video for "God Save the Queen" was banned by the BBC for its anti-royal sentiment. In 2004, many family groups and politicians lobbied for the banning of the Eric Prydz video "Call on Me" for containing soft pornography, however, the video was not banned. At some point in the past, the video for "(s)AINT" by Marilyn Manson was banned by that artist's label due to its violence and sexual content.


[edit] Internet


The earliest purveyors of music videos on the internet were members of IRC-based groups who took the time to record music videos as they appeared on television, then digitising them and exchanging the .mpg files via IRC channels. As broadband Internet access has become available more widely, various initiatives have been made to capitalise on the continued interest in music videos. MTV itself now provides streams of artists' music videos, while AOL's recently launched AOL Music features a vast collection of advertising supported streaming videos. The internet has become the primary growth income market for Record Company produced music videos. At its launch, Apple's iTunes Store provided a section of free music videos in high quality compression to be watched via the iTunes application. More recently the iTunes Store has begun selling music videos for use on Apple's iPod with video playback capability.


Another new phenomenon, deriving from the popularity of blogging, is the use of so-called music video "codes", lines of HTML code including links to music videos that the individual can simply copy and paste into their blog in order to feature a given video streaming on it. YouTube, Google Video, IFilm and MySpace have become primary venues for viewing videos. There are also several less popular websites such as Wimstream, MSSVision, Thrilltone, and others. With Google's acquisition of YouTube, their continuing enhancement of the features on the embedded videos is making it easy for anyone to display their favorite videos, with the simplest of code. Google may also be assuming the legal burden for these 3rd party sites since it is not necessary for them to upload or host any videos themselves.


A major problem with the movement towards YouTube and other social video platforms is that most users aren't aware of the underlying legal issues involved in uploading music video content. In 2007 the RIAA issued cease-and-desist letters to YouTube users to prevent single users from sharing videos, which are the property of the music labels. After the YouTube/Google merger this biggest player of the online video market assured they would work towards a solution of the dilemma by paying royalties through a bulk agreement with the major record labels. This doesn't solve the problem elsewhere, however, as not all labels share the same policy in regards to music videos. Some welcome the development and upload music videos to various online outlets themselves, viewing the music videos as free advertising for their catalog artists. However, videos aren't merely commercials for a product, they are both the product itself (the artist's recording of the song) and feature the added value of the visual element, and as such are seen as being worth more than the recording, not less. (Apple's iTunes generally charges $1.99 for a music video as compared with $.99 for the song alone.) Indeed, as many people as it takes to conceive and record an album and bring it before the public (some of whom are entitled to not only payment but credit for their work, and get that on hard copies but not on illegal or even on most legal downloads), it takes dozens more to conceive, film, and edit a music video. In this regard, many record companies are interested in maintaining the value and encouraging the residual compensation for the dual product of their music videos, and regard it as theft when that product is given away for free. One mitigating factor, however, is how small the percentage of a record company's older material is ever made available at retail after the period of its initial release. Many artists' work is not actually released worldwide, and so is only available as an import, for which a premium is often charged when it is can be found online or in a store. With older and rarer videos - and sometimes even their recorded element - often unavailable to the public anywhere but on such sites, it is the record company who is preventing artist compensation, and not the uploader of the material.


Those who own rights to music face the challenge of letting it be known that they will defend the rights to their property, while at the same time trying to blend with and capitalize on the Web culture. Sites like Thrilltone seek to reverse the digital trend by encouraging people to buy CDs instead of just downloading the best song or two, legally or otherwise. While many record companies delete older albums in favor of hits collections, some record companies may find this inviting, especially with older catalogues that might be rediscovered by those who had it in analog format or didn't buy it the first time around, or be discovered anew by a youthful audience.


[edit] Unofficial music videos


Unofficial, fan-made music videos are typically made by synchronizing existing footage from other sources, such as television series or movies, with the song. The first known fan video, or songvid, was created by Kandy Fong in 1975 using still images from Star Trek loaded into a slide carousel and played in conjunction with a song. Fan videos made using videocassette recorders soon followed. [4] With the advent of easy distribution over the internet and cheap video-editing software, fan-created videos began to gain wider notice in the late 1990s.


Such videos are sometimes known as OPV, Original Promotional Videos (or sometimes Other People's Videos). In the case of anime music videos, the source material is drawn from Japanese anime or from American animation series. Since neither the music nor the film footage is typically licensed, distributing these videos is usually copyright infringement on both counts. Singular examples of unofficial videos include one made for Danger Mouse's illegal mash-up of the Jay-Z track "Encore" with music sampled from The Beatles' White Album, in which concert footage of The Beatles is remixed with footage of Jay-Z and rap dancers, as well as a recent politically charged video by Franklin Lopez of subMedia, cut from television footage of the Katrina aftermath, set to an unofficial remix of Kanye West's "Gold Digger", inspired by the rap-artist's comment "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Fans gave P!nk an unofficial music video for the song "Dear Mr. President" (in which she criticizes George W. Bush's administration), since she stated that will not be released as an official single from her I'm Not Dead album.


In 2007 a new form of lip sync-based music video called lip dub became popular in which a group of people are filmed lip singing in a seemingly random spot then dubbing over it in post editing with the original audio of the song. These videos have the feeling of being spontaneous and authentic and are spread virally through mass participatory video sites like YouTube.


[edit] Timeline


* 1941: A new invention hits clubs and bars in the USA: The Panoram Soundie is a jukebox that plays short videoclips along with the music.

* 1956: Hollywood discovers the genre of music-centered films. A wave of rock'n'roll films begins (Rock Around the Clock, Don't Knock the Rock, Shake, Rattle and Rock, Rock Pretty Baby, The Girl Can't Help It, and the famous Elvis Presley movies). Some of these films integrate musical performances into a story, others are simply revues.

* 1960: In France a re-invention of the Soundie, the Scopitone, gains limited success.

* 1961: Ricky Nelson's Travelin' Man video is shown on television.

* 1962: British Television invents a new form of music television. Shows like Top Of The Pops, Ready! Steady! Go! and Oh, Boy start as band vehicles and become huge hits.

* 1964: The US-Television market adapts the format. Hullabaloo is one of the first US shows of this kind, followed by Shindig! (NBC) and American Bandstand; The Beatles star in A Hard Day's Night

* 1965: Bob Dylan films Subterranean Homesick Blues as a segment for D. A. Pennebaker's film, Dont Look Back, with two alternate takes.

* 1966: The first conceptual promos are aired, for the Beatles' "Paperback Writer" and "Rain". Early in 1967, even more ambitious videos are released for "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever".

* 1968: The Rolling Stones collaborate with Jean-Luc Godard on Sympathy for the Devil

* 1970: The record industry discovers these TV-Shows as a great opportunity to promote their artists. They focus on producing short "Promos", early music videos which started to replace the live performance of the artist on the TV-stage. Also, the Atlanta-produced Now Explosion starts a 26-week run in syndication.

* 1973: The first of forty-six different Schoolhouse Rock music videos begin airing during Saturday morning cartoons on ABC.

* 1974: ABBA pioneer the use of "Promos" with their clips, directed by Lasse Hallström. These contain innovative effects, camera angles, and a less static look than is the norm at the time. The band continue using such videos throughout the 1970s.

* 1975: "Bohemian Rhapsody", a groundbreaking video released by Queen, marks the beginning of the video era and sets the language for the modern music video. The video is considered one of the first to use advanced visual effects.

o "Tommy", the film adaptation of The Who's rock opera is released.

* 1979: Devo releases "The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprise", which is the first music video to include computer animation, as well as traditional animation.

o Another 1979 video with computer animation is "Computer Games", by New Zealand band MiSex.

* 1980: "Ashes to Ashes", considered a groundbreaking video, is released by David Bowie.

* 1981: MTV, the first 24-hour satellite music channel, launches in August. Initially few cable TV operators carry it, but it rapidly becomes a major hit and cultural icon.

o "Shock Treatment" is released in theatres.

* 1981: Michael Nesmith wins the first ever music video Grammy, for Elephant Parts.

o Pink Floyd The Wall is released in theatres.

* 1983: Night Tracks debuts on Superstation WTBS (later known as TBS) with up to 14 hours of music videos each weekend by 1985. This allows nearly all U.S. households with Cable TV to view music videos regularly, as MTV still isn't widely available at this point in time compared to WTBS.

* 1983: Friday Night Videos debuts on the NBC television network, allowing nearly all U.S. households to view music videos regularly. Michael Jackson's Billie Jean video is released on TV, and for the first time a black artist's video is featured in heavy rotation on MTV with the video for his Beat It hit single.

* 1984: Laura Branigan's video for her hit song "Self Control" is refused airplay by MTV, who demand certain cuts be made to remove content they find objectionable.

* 1984: Michael Jackson's short film Thriller is released, changing the concept of music videos forever. The Making of Thriller home video is also released in 1984. It is the first ever video about the making of a music video and it becomes the best selling VHS to date.

o MTV presents its first Video Music Awards, hosted by Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler.

o The Grammys award Best Short Form Music Video, as well as Best Long Form Music Video.

* 1985: a-ha find instant stardom with their hit song "Take On Me", significantly due to heavy rotation play of the song's video, which features a combination of live action and rotoscoping animation. The groundbreaking video wins several awards and is consistently rated as one of the best for decades to come.

* 1985: Madonna's video for her hit single "Material Girl" is released. It is largely based on Marilyn Monroe's performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes A huge storm of interest explodes for the video. The video is considered one of the most memorable and always comes up in "The Best Videos" lists.

* 1986: "Sledgehammer", the groundbreaking video from Peter Gabriel, furthers the revival of animation in music video, utilizing stop-motion photography and winning several awards.

* 1989: MTV renames its "Video Vanguard Award" the "Michael Jackson Vanguard Award" in honor of the pop star's contributions to the art of music video.

* 1989: Madonna's controversial video for "Like a Prayer" is released.

* 1990: MTV bans Madonna's Justify My Love video. It is released as a video single, the first of its kind.

* 1991: Nirvana release the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, catapulting Kurt Cobain - and the grunge genre - into the American and Worldwide mainstream.

o First use of the now-familiar morphing special effect in a music video, with Michael Jackson's "Black or White" (directed by John Landis), from his album Dangerous.

* 1992: MTV begins to credit music video directors.

* 1995: Release of the most expensive music video ever at that point, "Scream", from Michael Jackson's HIStory album, a duet with his sister Janet.

* 1996: Pop-up Video is first aired on VH1.

* 1996: M2 is launched as a 24-hour music video channel, as MTV has largely replaced videos with other content.

* 1999: M2 is renamed to MTV2.

o Making the Video, a series chronicling the production of a music video, premieres on MTV.

* 2002: MTV Hits is launched, as MTV2 is gradually showing fewer music videos.

* 2003: TBN launches a new channel for teens and young adults called JCTV. JCTV is a Christian Alternative to MTV, VH1 and other music video channels.

* 2007: Musicbox (URL: musicbox.sonybmg.com) is launched by Sony BMG. This online portal signifies the first free streaming effort owned and operated by a major label.



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And anything by the Beatles piss me off too. Sorry, but I fuckin hate all of their songs.

Every single one, huh.


USSR? Check

Helter Skelter? Check

Strawberry Fields? Check

Hey Jude? Check


I'm sure there are more but thats all I got for now. If I messed up the titles, I don't care.

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I think CanadianChris was actually asking what songs they were and not a Wikipedia entry on music videos. I clicked the first three and stopped. The first was about some chick getting off on fast food or something and I don't know what the fuck the others were.

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You know what vanhalen? Fuck you. Fuck you with handcuffs on and crazy glue on your lips. Fuck you and your long ass posts that singlehandedly ruined this thread.



And "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" doesn't suck!

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And anything by the Beatles piss me off too. Sorry, but I fuckin hate all of their songs.

Every single one, huh.


USSR? Check

Helter Skelter? Check

Strawberry Fields? Check

Hey Jude? Check


I'm sure there are more but


Nope, that's all of them.

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Okay, someone remind me why embedding Youtube videos was a good idea

So no one has to turn their pop up blocker off. Or something.

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All we need now is eye-gougingly poor page design and a song immediately blaring in your ears to make this somebody's Myspace page

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Guest Smues

Vanhalen is gone for 3 days. I don't think I need to explain why. Also, if you embed a youtube video, give a title or description or something so people know what it is.

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Okay, someone remind me why embedding Youtube videos was a good idea


I was the first to speak out against this. We are of one mind on this subject Slayer.

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Guest suref142

In fact, I don't hate anyone, the best you think may be the worst other people hate

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I used to think Oates was black when I was like 6.


And hey I just checked his wikipedia article to see what he is (half Italian, half Spanish-Moorish) and found out that he recorded a solo album a couple years back and did a duet with Paris Hilton on it. Wonder how he got her on there.

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I used to think Oates was black when I was like 6.


And hey I just checked his wikipedia article to see what he is (half Italian, half Spanish-Moorish) and found out that he recorded a solo album a couple years back and did a duet with Paris Hilton on it. Wonder how he got her on there.

He's not?

Edit: Close call, isn't it? I'd like to see that Simpsons again where Lisa's in the "Second best band in the world". He looked awfully black there.

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I love that moment in Hall & Oates's cover of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" where the duo trade off vocals in an increasingly soulful fashion.



Oates had a decent singing voice; he was just so completely overshadowed by Hall.

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I'm a fan of Hall and Oates and wanted to go see their concert in December at the Orpheum in Boston but then I found out the cheapest tickets were $40. The highest were $125. Come on, it's 2007, who's openly going to pay $125 to see Hall and Oates? I could have seen them for $40 up close two summers ago with Todd Rundgren opening. Don't know why the hell I didn't go to that one...



And back on topic..."We Are The World" is indeed a truly terrible song but the sentamentalist in me keeps me from calling a charity song one of the songs I hate the most. So my assesment of it is "Shitty song that had its heart in the right place." I'm a much bigger fan of "Do They Know Its Christmas?". Hell, I even like "Tears Are Not Enough" better.

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I think I mentioned this before, but I had the chance to see Todd Rundgren earlier this year, and for cheap, but skipped it. I would've gone if I knew he wouldn't play anything post-1975 outside of "Can We Still Be Friends?" and "Bang the Drum All Day." Hell, I could've lived without the last song, but that's the one everybody knows, so I can deal with it.

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I feel kind of bad for Todd Rundgren. The man is a musical genius but now he's relegated to the state fair circuit with the New Cars. The New Cars are sort of embarrassing to everyone involved but I can't trash them too much since I did buy tickets to see them. They cancelled said show though due to embarrassingly low ticket sales.

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I give props to Rundgren for following his muse wherever it's taken him these past 30 years, but so much of what he does is completely ridiculous/bad. I'd give him further credit for not trying to recreate his past successes, but his involvement in the New Cars is fairly questionable. Profiting on someone else's past glories? Uh....

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I really don't get how they got him to do that. I would say it's the money and the opportunity to give more exposure to his solo career but I don't think any more people are going to New Cars shows than his solo shows. I thought it'd be a temporary thing too but apparently they're coming out with an album next spring. I don't see why Ric Ocasek doesn't stop this, it's just embarrassing everybody involved. That said, if they came again, I'd probably buy a ticket :D

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