Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


Added a range of resources on this at the prodeval blog; useful for cwk Eval too

Monday, 4 April 2011

WestYorks Indie Film Network

These guys are holding their monthly open meeting on Tuesday 5th April - see
WEST YORKSHIRE INDEPENDENT FILM NETWORK hold a monthly networking event at The Roast, 1 Whitehall (riverside), Leeds, LS1 4BN. We are there on the first Tuesday of every month from 6:00pm for filmmakers and anyone who wants to be involved in the film world to come along and network with their peers . Then from 7:30pm we beggin the screenings. For this element of the evening we are open to filmmakers and film lovers alike.

Spoof vid eg1 Whitesnake Here I Go Again

Seen as the epitome of hair-metal absurdity (albeit with some decent tunes) David Coverdale (nicknamed Percy by Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, who he's widely seen as copying) and his band Whitesnake provide a neat template for the hair-metal vid: manly men (with 'girly' hair) with serious expressions, hot car, hot lady, a bit of smoke...

Here's the original, followed by a spoof...

Is the following really any more absurd?!

Performance vid - simple eg Jorn: Song For Ronnie James

ACT: Jorn
TRACK: Song for Ronnie James

YEAR: 2010
GENRE: Heavy Metal
(some female gaze?; 2ndary 35-44 aud from 80s + aspirational tweens + younger teens [10-14])  


Here's a really straightforward example of a performance vid. The track is a tribute to a recently-deceased metal vocalist, Ronnie James Dio; this isn't a big-budget production.
There are hints of amateurism, but whats just as significant is the overall simplicity, and how relatively easy this would be to replicate.

A quick bit of context from the Wiki - note that the '...' denotes that I've cut out a chunk of this - there's no point in simply copy/pasting large passages of text, so I've used what I've felt was strictly useful and relevant:
"Song for Ronnie James" is a song by Norwegian heavy metal singer Jorn from the tribute album Dio. It was written as a tribute to the deceased Ronnie James Dio who died a couple of months earlier. ...
The music video, together with the announce of the tribute album, was released in the internet just five days after Dio's deceasing news, which caused some critique and especulations, as Lande was accused of exploiting the death of Dio. Later the record company explained that the album had been in the works since spring of 2009, before Dio's death in May 2010.

The key ingredients?
  1. a performance space: outside can make for more interesting vids, but inside is easier to control
  2. its large enough to afford high-angled shots, props and allow the performers to perform energetically, not just have to shuffle a little until they bump into someone else (so a domestic garage wouldn't be ideal!)
  3. amps and visible electrical leads to create the verisimilitude of actual, not mimed, performance
  4. also in terms of mise-en-scene to create verisimiltude we have the tight jeans, black leather, studs, long hair (and liberal doses of facial hair!), with direction given (if required) to maintain serious, sombre expressions
  5. focus on the singer: while he's most often presented in MS, sometimes low-angled and with a fair few CUs thrown in, the others are mainly presnted in ELS and LS (tho' with CUs of fretboards thrown in, and some MSs as this isn't a typical band, so the cult of the singer is a little inappropriate in a band paying tribute to a dead vocalist). As with an actual live performance on stage, the mic-stand is a key prop
  6. shot variety - there isn't much going on, so this is utterly key; the performance would have been recorded over and over again to generate enough coverage for the editing process, including each member shot separately, and various 2/3-shots with others in the background
  7. genre-appropriate prop: quick commutation test - would a Mini, or a green, electric car be 'rock'n'roll'?! The one main prop (excepting all the musical equipment) is the car: black, sporty, macho, quite literally metallic. The one thing they've avoided is the old cliche of the busty blonde draped over the bonnet (see Whitesnake's "Here We Go Again" or better still this spoof)
  8. limited, low-key lighting. This can vary somewhat; hair-metal/glam bands are often aiming for a certain effeminancy and so use the high-key lighting more associated with glamour. The lighting behind the performers is visble: a limited, spaced out set of unexceptional lights. The performers aren't entirely flooded with fill lighting, which enables interesting shadows to form
  9. diegetic intro: the young chap behind the till is grinning gormlessly, and not a little camply, directly at the camera - this really should have been reshot
  10. sell, sell, sell ... the teen males are wearing t-shirts of Dio's bands, the shopper flicks through Dio CDs, stopping when he comes to a Korn CD (this is 'nu-metal' and so to be rejected), all the while surrounded by AC/DC CDs and displays, which might just subliminally rub off - similar music but a much more commercially successfully act!
Basic or not, the vid is just shy of 500,000 viewings at the time of writing.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Covergence - albums via magazine + papers + iPad apps

The post on Caliban points up examples of convergence - a music act effectively with its own TV [online] output.

Here's more egs, again flagging up the fast-changing nature of the music biz as the digital revolution grips every facet of the media industry in its binary teeth, of the music industry converging with the print industry.

If you're unaware of who Prince is, try the wiki...
Lets start with an interesting vid, blending faux-news report ('Vanessa' is actually famed Cheers actress Kirsty Ally)

Prince giving away his 2007 album with the Mail on Sunday - a frankly bizarre choice given the ultra-conservative nature of the paper, and much of its readership - is one early example; the newspaper effectively became a music publisher, record label! Here's the Mail's announcement.

One music store executive described the plan as "madness" while others said it was a huge insult to an industry battling fierce competition from supermarkets and online stores. Prince's label has cut its ties with the album in the UK to try to appease music stores.
The Entertainment Retailers Association said the giveaway "beggars belief". "It would be an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career," ERA co-chairman Paul Quirk told a music conference. "It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.
"The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday."
More on this:
Prince's CD giveaway another nail in the album's coffin
Why Prince's Free CD Ploy Worked

Prince was reportedly paid $500,000 over and above the royalties for each CD — typically around 10%. Considering that his last album, 3121, sold only 80,000 copies in the U.K., this deal may have earned him more than eight times as much. Plus, Planet Earth — which has gotten fairly good reviews so far — is now in the hands of thousands of people who may never have thought to buy it. Maybe they like what they hear ... and maybe they want more. They'll have to settle for buying up his back catalog, because the 21 shows he's playing in London in August and September are already sold out. Naturally, he's giving away a copy of the album with every ticket (a trick he pulled with Musicology back in 2004).
There's no ignoring this bigger, stronger breed of freebie, but there's also no reason it has to signal the death of the music industry. Thanks to the rise of digital distribution, the business of making and selling music has been in flux for years, with labels, lawyers and retailers constantly forced to adapt. "In the record industry, you can barely hear yourself think for the sound of the business being dismantled and the paradigms being broken," says Conor McNicholas, editor of music weekly the New Musical Express. Those who can't keep up are flailing — last month, HMV reported its annual profits have more than halved — or already fallen: last year, retail giant Tower Record sclosed its stores and in June the U.K. music chain Fopp shut up shop. Meanwhile, record labels are looking for solutions in mergers and takeovers — any day now, British firm EMI could be bought out by investment group Terra Firma. Says McNicholas: "With the pace of change, you just have to be very quick on your feet and rework your business model every six months — that's the challenge."
But the free CD has been around for decades. Smash Hits gave away flexi-discs in the 1980s and modern music magazines such as NME, Mojo and The Word have long been including CD compilations with their issues.
Music shop in London
The industry is feeling the strain
It was recently estimated that 10% of CDs produced in the UK are covermounts. But most of these are to plug new artists and therefore have the blessing of the industry, because fledgling acts reach new audiences.
There are fears, however, that the Prince deal marks a new phase in which established artists will cut record companies and traditional retailers out of the equation.
[Q magazine have reduced the frequency of their covermounts, fearing being seen as a CD with a mag] ... In 1997, Q's first free CD - a high quality, best of the year - increased sales of the magazine by 325%, and the production cost was shared by the record company. But the returns have fallen since and the cost is now £150,000, fully absorbed by the magazine.
The broader issue of the Prince deal is how the function of albums has changed, says Mark Ellen, editor of The Word magazine.
"Five years ago people toured in order to sell records and called the name of their tour after their recording, and probably lost money in order to promote and extend the life of the album.
"That balance has shifted and now people put out albums to justify going on tour and charging more to go on tour."
As Prince might say, a sign o' the times.
Thats a point I've made often, thus the subtle highlighting - its useful to have this direct quote.

Prince came up with the clever ploy of giving away an exclusive album with concert tickets, which has been widely repeated since and looks set to be an increasingly important means of music distribution henceforth. The vociferous condemnation of the music industry didn't stop the symbol, who went about for some time with "slave" on his forehead in protest at his record contract, from repeating the process in 2010, this time using a tabloid, The Mirror. I have to say I bought it. And it was about as good as the paper itself.
Although details for only two territories have been released so far, 20Ten, the singer's 27th studio album, will be issued in Germany and Belgium as a magazine cover mount. In Germany at least, 20Ten will not be available in record stores or as a download.
... Since Prince's 2007 experiment, artists such as Paul McCartney and McFly have tried the model out.
Prince in 2006
Sign of the times ... Prince gives away his latest album free with the Mirror
As a Prince fan, I bought the Mirror for the first time on Saturday to get a copy of his latest album, 20Ten. As a musician, I was puzzled by why he felt the need to give away his music with a UK tabloid that costs 65p. I was equally perplexed by his decision to snub iTunes because it doesn't pay advances.
This is different from the idea of a covermount; in this case we're looking at artists' albums having an entire magazine commissioned to flesh out the package, and help encourage sales. The image below is from
This is Future Publishing's (mag publisher) mag subscription sales site.

The same has been done for Motorhead, Jimi Hendrix (compilation, not new material!), plus Blondie:
The Blondie Fan Pack includes 'Panic Of Girls', the band’s brilliant new studio album, plus a 132-page magazine.
Fans who buy the Blondie Fan Pack will be able to hear Panic Of Girls weeks before it goes on sale in the UK record stores.  What’s more, the Fan Pack version of Panic Of Girls comes with two bonus tracks – that will not be on the record store version of the album.
The Fan Pack magazine is 100% Blondie-approved and contains major, all-new interviews with Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke and all the other members of Blondie, as they talk us through the making of the album and look back over a history that has seen them sell 40 million albums and break new ground in the worlds of pop and fashion.
The magazine is packed with a wealth of exclusive, never-before-seen pictures of Blondie – including rare treasures from Chris Stein’s own archive. A must for all Blondie fans!

Future, of course, is far from a print-only publisher these days; rare indeed is the paper or magazine that doesn't offer some online content. iPad apps are another multimedia offering demonstrating convergence. At you can see this:

I'm sure bands (Radiohead?) won't be far behind in tapping into potential new sources of revenue with Ipad apps - let me know if you come across any

Teaser videos + YouTube channels: Caliban

Good example here of how the very concept of music video is evolving in the face of the challenges and opportunites thrown up by digitisation and new media.

The band Caliban (described as 'deathcore'), signed to US label Roadrunner Records (former Indie, now a subsidiary of WMG [Warner Music Group], one of the music industry monopolist leviathans], have made good use of YouTube and social media, using 'teaser videos' and TV-style vodcasts, trailed through mainstream media but also MySpace, Facebook etc, to publicise their tours as much as their album releases - which neatly sums up the shift in focus away from pushing record sales to flogging tickets (in the expectation that will also then generate merchandise and some back catalogue sales) for concerts.
Metal Hammer featured the band's 'teaser video' for their upcoming tour thus:

Caliban To Cover Rammstein And More
terrybezer / News, Uncategorized / 01/04/2011 14:58pm
Find out what German metalcore bruisers, Caliban, will be covering on their upcoming ‘Coverfield EP’ and get a teaser video inside.
Caliban will be releasing a cover EP titled ‘Coverfield’ that will feature the following tracks:
01 – “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” (Type O Negative cover)
[The vid was embedded on the page; interestingly, the band - or their management - disabled embedding, compelling viewers to watch it on YouTube and be exposed to the suggested links featuring more of their YouTube uploads. Watch the teaser vid here]

They also created a trailer for their previous tour:

Here's CALIBAN TV - Episode 11 Part 3 - Summer Festivals - much of the footage is simple enough handheld material BUT there are slick, professional production values, even down to the cliched but appropriate for the target audience use of a curvaceous, leather-clad blonde female presenter. Episodes aren't brief affairs either - episode 11, taken in combination, would exceed half an hour. This points the way to the music vid being just 1 part of a multimedia mix, including blogs, using social media for viral marketing, behind-the-scenes footage, and TV-style vodcasts or webisodes creating motivation to subscribe to a channel ... which in turn acts as advertising for that channel to generate more hits.

The 1st part, noticeably, has been blocked by WMG/EMI - the music monopolists are so vast in scale they don't even trouble themselves to support their own acts!!!

Here's the band's YouTube channel: - another site that offers links to artists but also has a host of info on viral marketing etc ... and a competition...

A sort of LinkedIn for videomakers?

This is crowdsourcing for music video; acts and labels can put up a brief and indicative budget and seek submissions from video-makers - and it seems to be a very active concept (they also stress that they don't accept zero-budget pitches): - working with artists

 Here's the blurb from - another site (see post on MusicRadarVideos) that offers the chance to work with artists
The word ‘Genero’ means to create in Latin and that’s really what we’re about... giving all of you super-talented people around the world the freedom to create. We choose the songs from Artists around the world and then leave it up to you to make your own music videos for them to express what the songs represent for you.
By offering some fantastic music and a blank canvas we hope we can provide the platform for music video to enter a new realm... where it can surprise and delight again and the next wave of talented music video creators can be discovered and introduced to the world.
For our featured artists it’s a new way to connect with fans and a new platform for getting their official music videos made. For video creators you’ll have a chance to make official music videos as well getting paid and winning some great prizes.
We’re a friendly bunch and we’d love to hear from you. If you’re a video creator or fan and you’ve got ideas on how to make the site better for you, it would be great to hear your suggestions.
If you’re an Artist who wants to be featured on get in touch with us - we’re always on the hunt for great new music. If you’re a brand looking to connect with an international community of creative people and music fans we’d love to chat to you too.