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

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

MERCHANDISE pinball wizard swimming shorts

Monday, 15 October 2018

MONETISING pay a grand to be on stage

Friday, 12 October 2018

CONVERGENCE Metallica drones as effect

I've used the convergence theme heading as drones are an example.of how professional-level technology has entered consumer-level in affordability and general accessibility.

It's increasingly replacing still expensive helicopter shots in music video and TV.

This example is notable as it's also a neat, creative means of lighting effects - the drones Metallica use with their live song Moth into Flame.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

SPOTIFY male dominated playlists keeping women down

A range of interesting stats and details in this article reflecting on Spotify hitting it's ten year anniversary, but 1 is especially interesting, and maybe reveals one key means by which male dominance of the music industry is maintained.

Men dominate Spotify's own playlists, seen as key to modern success, leading to more user playlists which are male.dominated and so on.

Also intriguing because when I think of the biggest names in current pop and music generally its mostly female artists that spring to mind.

Spotify at 10: men dominate streaming service's most-played artists

See also:
Has 10 years of Spotify ruined music?

Monday, 1 October 2018

ALT VIDEOS vertical version convergence UGC

Thanks to Simon for this one, which demonstrates another alternative to the traditional narrative/performance video but also the ongoing process of convergence. Its also a further demonstration of how artists are increasingly taking on formats popularised by fans as UGC and releasing their own official versions to better control the monetising of their recorded material.

Simon linked this eg by the world's biggest-selling artist of recent times, the ubiquitous Taylor Swift. She makes for an interesting digitisation/convergence case study already - she initially refused to allow her albums to appear on Spotify and Apple Music, forcing Apple to abandon plans for a free version of Apple Music with lower artist payments.

and here's the original

Think about why artists do this:

  • primarily more control over monetising their work
  • but also accessibility: creating the sense/brand image that they are to some degree at the level of their audience still (in this case shooting simple vids through their smartphone)
  • standing out: multi-versions like this generate articles/news stories, thus more hits and more revenue
  • for ultra-mainstream artists like Swift maintaining wide audience appeal through single narrative videos can be difficult, so these help to target specific demographics

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

ALT VIDEOS dance performance and animation

IN THIS POST: Multiple examples of alternative videos; using animation; UGC/fan-made videos; the role of dance moves in vids; examples from UNKLE, Billy Eilish, Sepultura, Arctic Monkeys. See alt videos tag etc for more

Spotted this thanks to a Yr8 student - yet another type of alternative (not the main promo) video, to go with visualizer, lyric, unwrapping, teaser, single shot, performance, acoustic (not to mention fan-made, covers, reaction videos and UGC generally)...

Billie Eilish has released a 'dance performance' video for Ocean Eyes.
Smart move which achieves a key aim of pop vids especially - to generate a replicable dance sequence, which might then be taken up by (especially) young fans for playground simulacra or, the holy grail, posted UGC vids which are directly monetised anyway through YouTube but also generate further free publicity by appearing on Twitter, FB (etc) feeds of friends/followers. 

You should think about replicating at least one of these - or even just short teaser clips (or gifs) for the website + social media feeds that push traffic to the YT channel (even if the full vid isn't actually there), a great, easy way to show (if you provide detailed research/explanation) insight into audiences and industry.

Approaching 12m views on 25.9.18

Monday, 17 September 2018


(TBC) I've previously provided an extensive list of themes to consider, with notes on each of these. Having reviewed these, I've come up with a more streamlined list of 10, combining these and some additional aspects. These will help you evidence research/analysis/applied understanding of all 3 CIA (Conventions, Industry, Audience) and go a long way to preparing for your 4 evaluation Qs.

You can gather and build your research through any combination of posts so long as this eventually includes posts titled:
GENERAL CONVENTIONS1: Lyrics/visuals; Narrative 
GENERAL CONVENTIONS2: Genre characteristics
Intertextuality + postmodernism   
GENERAL CONVENTIONS5: Cinematography + Editing
GENERAL CONVENTIONS8Distribution, social
GENERAL CONVENTIONS9Branding/promo package 
That's 10 research themes. For each one you need to indicate ideas/aspects you've seen that might influence your work (and then sum this up).
1-5 are conventions focused (+ incorporate Goodwin's 6 conventions), 6-9 go further into industry and audience, and 10 is simply an overall summary of which points are more likely to be reflected in your idea.

You will have some posts, including from class and homework, on individual videos, titling like this:
GENERAL EG1Artist 'Track Title' (year) 
This phase of pre-production is to help inform your initial pitch development. You will repeat the process with a similar list for GENRE conventions research.

Monday, 16 July 2018


Yeah, it's another mystery intertextual ref - try adding the words Alice Cooper to a Google (or, hey, a privacy-friendly DuckDuckGo)

Just look at the levels of engagement (screenshots from Aug 27th 2018):
And here it is...
1 of the most expensive vids ever produced (still!)

Sunday, 15 July 2018

AUDIENCE WEB 2.0 BOOK active fandom UGC

This Wired feature on how the audience has become more active through the convergence of the online world is a great one to get into multiple concepts linked to audience. A few excerpts below (initially about UK prog rock Marillion, who ended up touring the US only because fans funded it!!!)

Tuesday, 10 July 2018


A post I'll add to over time if I remember. I have scattered a few archetypal vids across the blog, not sure if I used any tag though.

Read Austerlitz' superb history of music video for a fuller sense of how the form was established long before the 80s MTV boom that made it a routine part of promo and marketing efforts - or just watch the movie A Hard Day's Night to see The Beatles establishing the core of the media language still used over half a century later!

DISTRIBUTION CONVERGENCE Instagram album release

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

VISUALIZER VIDEOS another alternative format

Evie brought this format to my attention, another to consider alongside the lyric video, unpacking video, live video, and additional narrative or concept videos (eg Pixies' 2 Bagboy bids, U2's 3 for One!)

Here's another format that could be great fun to adapt for evaluation Q's or earlier audience/genre conventions research:

Saturday, 30 June 2018

FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM music and lip sync features

Convergence continues...

With Facebook recently tieing up rights deals with multiple labels their subsidiary Instagram has announced an add music option for their Daily Story feature ... and a Lip Sync Live feature is rumoured for a Facebook launch soon

Thursday, 21 June 2018

YOUTUBE faces EU music video rights hike

Spoiler alert ... the tech giants won this battle:YouTube and Facebook escape billions in copyright payouts after EU vote

'YouTube faces paying billions to music stars after copyright vote'

Great article + big news, as this impacts YouTube's distribution of music videos - it could lead to a mass deletion of music videos from the site, pending clear + specific agreements being signed with labels/rights holders.

NB: there is no change in law YET; this initial requires a further vote in the European Parliament in July before it takes on legal status, and it seems likely several states will object to it.

The quotes below contain some killer stats, the type I've often cited before:
  • YouTube pays out about 67¢ per its 1.3bn music video-watching users ($856m/£650m annual)
  • that's less than half the total royalties payout for 25 BILLION streams than is generated by just 4.1m vinyl record sales!!!
  • Spotify pays out about $20 per user (272m users, annual total $5.6bn royalties)
For years the music industry has argued that YouTube exploits the lack of legal protection around music videos being viewed on its service to pay minimal amounts to artists and labels when they are viewed. The music industry has lobbied that this “value gap” between the true worth of the music videos and what YouTube decides to pay needs to be addressed with legislation.
On Wednesday, a crucial vote by the European parliament’s legal affairs committee went the way of the music industry with an agreement to adopt copyright laws that will force platforms such as YouTube to seek licences for music videos.

YouTube has an estimated 1.3 billion users who regularly watch music videos and it paid $856m (£650m) in royalties to music companies last year – an estimated 67 cents per user annually. In the UK, record labels and artists earn more than double the royalties from the sale of 4.1m vinyl records than they did from the 25bn music videos watched on YouTube last year.

By contrast, income from the 272 million music fans who paid for ad-supported services such as Spotify, generated $5.6bn in royalties, or about $20 per user annually.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

MONETISING Meet and greets replace store signings

Has the meet and greet replaced record signing appearances? Apparently so...

Thursday, 7 June 2018

STREAMING free People offers artists alternative

People: how the National and Bon Iver's streaming service frees musicians

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

ANIMATED LYRIC VIDEO of lesbian male gaze? Rita Ora controversy

Rita Ora apologises after LGBT criticism of her song Girls

Sunday, 6 May 2018

SOCIAL MEDIA key to marketing

Not exactly a revelation, blogging on the basis of a simple, sharp quote from Lily Allen (who in the same article says it's the 360 deals for branding, endorsements that make money now, not the music):

Lily Allen: ‘We need to fight back against these forces’

Allen responds to a question asking how she can face going on her social media daily when she gets so much abuse through it:

Well... a) Social media, what it’s for, is to partake in conversations. Just because my conversations are amplified or misconstrued, doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be able to express myself, and that’s what we’re talking about, really, freedom of expression. b) Every marketing budget now takes social media engagement into account. So if I didn’t tweet and I didn’t do Instagram I wouldn’t be here right now – we literally wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

MUSIC INDUSTRY stats summary CDs behind streaming


Guardian: UK record labels' revenue grows at fastest rate since 1995.

The disruption from digitisation is now a long established phenomenon in the music industry - the outdated chart below fails to distinguish the collapse of the digital download market, and its near-complete replacement by streaming.

You can see the enormous impact of digital disruption here:

Here's a calculator.
I tried the Astrid S example of the 47m streams of Such a Boy:

In this post I blogged on multi examples, including One Direction, a big mainstream pop band's estimated $50m from a hit album ($36m sales, $14m from streams) ... just a sixth of their $300m touring income over the same time period (2015), not counting merch! Revenue directly from music sales/streams is falling overall, though labels are finding new ways to keep their overall revenues up.

Here you can see the staggering difference in how many sales/streams it takes for an artist to earn $1,260, ie the US legal minimum (employers cannot pay any lower!) monthly wage, which of course they want more than!!! You need 1m Spotify streams, or 4m YouTube streams to earn this!!!


Saturday, 14 April 2018

DOWNLOADS DEAD? iTunes ceases from 2019

I've blogged on this before, predicting the digital download would all but disappear in as little as 2-3 years ... and here we go.

The market-dominating iTunes will cease to offer downloads to 'own' (the legal status is controversial, but ownership is clearly restricted compared to physical media) from 2019, as streaming surfs to the top of Apple's, and the wider music industry's, strategy.

The dominant mode of distribution not so long ago is rapidly disappearing, though I'm sure some smaller sites will continue to offer DL options. How many major artists will bother offering this? Could still be quite a few - many digipak and vinyl sets come with DL codes for MP3 or even FLAC files.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

LADY GAGA QUEERed music video

I've mentioned her frequently, great case study of gender representation and the post-feminist position ... but also beyond that of queer representation, an intentional blurring of the gender binary.

On my summer list to return to and develop a new case study...

10 years of Lady Gaga: how she queered mainstream pop forever

From Madonna to Janelle Monáe: how female sexuality progressed in pop

Friday, 6 April 2018

PROMO PACKAGE Slayer digipak, vinyl, figurine + promo videos

I mention beer as a great example of merch below - you can buy both Slayer and Iron Maiden beer in Luxembourg (Auchan), and Motorhead, plus some other branded wine/spirits if I recall correctly. That this is now a common strategy, especially in heavy metal, can be seen from a simple google ('heavy metal beer'). See this Pinterest for a gallery (pic, right comes from it):

A salutary lesson - I'd tapped out a lengthy post on a smartphone using the Android app ... only to see every word blink and disappear (possibly because the broadband connection flicked off). If using this very useful tool, its worth saving a few times to avoid the risk of this...

NB: As the article link contains a filter-unfriendly term, its below the read more line; the videos featured in the article contain uncensored strong language.  
Multi-editionalising has become the norm, certainly for rock/Indie acts

Here's a new example of a converged, web 2.0 promo package featuring a digipak, vinyl and download options, a range of videos/vodcasts, and even an expensive, limited edition figurine (which clearly anchors the core target audience as being male, and a significant chunk of this being older males, more likely to be able to afford such items!).

The Metal Eagle Edition of Repentless is also available. Made of aluminum alloy, measuring 15” X 17” X 3” and weighing in at a hefty 7.8 pounds, the Metal Eagle Edition will house a deluxe digipak of the new Repentless CD plus bonus material detailed below. The limited (only 3,000 copies worldwide) and numbered Metal Eagle Edition will be a direct-to-consumer item and available exclusively via the Nuclear Blast mailorder online stores.

You really should take note of this - regardless of how simple your brief might be, your ads should reflect not just a digipak but the wider range of options we expect to see today, and you could usefully (and very simply) spin off digipak designs into vinyl editions - after all, the digipak is in large part mimicking vinyl sleeves.

Thrash metal icons Slayer are signed to an Indie label, Nuclear Blast, who astutely exploit the potential of online tools to engage with the existing fanbase and target a new audience for their acts.