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Monday, 13 September 2010

The History Of Music Videos - Joe Jones

The music video originated in the 1930s and 1940s. During this period of time, the music industry suffered an almost fatal blow from the invention of the television. To combat this, there was the creation of 'soundies'. 'Soundies' showed bands and artists lip syncing their songs on a screen. The reasoning for the 'soundie' was to counteract the television and offer another form of entertainment.

During the 1950s, the world-famous Elvis Presley released the song 'Love Me Tender' which accompanied the 1956 film of the same name.

The idea of a performance within a film started to become commonplace during the decade. Also during the 1950s, there was the rise of the teenagers, which coincided with the rise of Elvis Presley.

The 1960s saw two major bands fight it out for record sales - The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The Beatles followed the same route as Elvis by releasing a song and film under the same title - A Hard Day's Night.

The 1960s also saw the invention of 'Concert Films', which included live performances and interviews with the band. To this day, this is something bands release often as a DVD feature, or even use live footage in the music promo videos themselves.

Also in the decade, The Monkees were given their own television show as a way of launching their music career, as the music industry continued to battle with the inevitable lure of the television. Musicians seemed to be saying 'if you cant beat 'em...join them'.

The 1970s saw the invention of open air rock festivals, which were often taped. Again, these helped to promote the band and offered the audiences unlimited access to their idols. Furthermore, the decade saw an increase in the amount of bands that used concert films as a way of promoting themselves.

1975 heralded a turning point for music videos with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

This promoted the band and its music in a way never before seen. At the time, it was considered a gamble as it was an untried method. However, it proved to be a successful way of promoting the song as it helped Queen to a then record 9 weeks at the top of the UK charts, thus paving the way for all other artists to begin to make these 'promotional music videos'.

In 1981, Music Television, or MTV for short, was launched in America. The main idea of MTV was to broadcast music videos into the homes of millions, which would help further promote the music of the bands and artists showcased on the channel. The first video shown on MTV was 'Money For Nothing' by Dire Straits. In 1984, MTV Europe was launched. Both of these have contributed to an increase in record sales in the past 25 years.
Michael Jackson's Thriller was a music video that subverted the conventions of a music video when it was first released. For example, at 13 minutes in length it was three times longer than some other music videos of the time. The length, along with the inclusion of dialogue and a break from the song for the narrative to continue, lead to the video being labeled by many as a short film. Another video which subverts the conventions of a music video is The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up, which included drug use, violence and nudity, all of which lead to it eventually being banned from television.
A video that has, however, lived up to the conventions of its era it Beyonce's hit from the noughties, Crazy In Love. In the video, Beyonce is objectified as she dresses and dances provocatively, trying to catch Jay-Z's attention. This is a typical video from the hip-hop genre during the noughties as women are often viewed as objects by the men within the genre.

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