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

Saturday, 15 April 2017

YOUTUBE payment row in figures

Music industry goes to war with YouTube

POMO Is originality impossible now?

This article focuses on legal cases, citing a number of musicologists as well as songwriters

Has pop finally run out of tunes?

Friday, 31 March 2017

KIDZ BOP Chart-topping teen YouTube channel

Razor sharp example of cutting to the audio (Uptown Funk vid), and exemplar of the continuing insight of the Uses and Gratifications theory

Kidz Bop: 'It's not for everybody'

HISTORY Landmark SFX timeline

Gimme Gimme Gimmicks: the innovations that changed music videos

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Muppets MASH-UP old school Bone Thugs

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

VINYL vote by Earache

Disappointing not to see Carcass on there, but my vote goes to Nocturnus' trailblazer The Key...

The latest twist in the analogue comeback, extreme metal label Earache are running a list of back catalogue albums - any that hit 500 pre-orders will be commissioned, burned and posted.

The audience as commissioner, the former audience...

Sunday, 12 March 2017

INDUSTRY Website only book Testament to diversification

A novel idea, the band book...

Thrash legends Testament (Burnt Offerings, Over the Wall, Souls of Black and many other classics that'll add a sonic boom to any day) are producing a band history which can only be ordered through their website, and comes with a personalised inscription.

Of course, there's a video from the lead singer, the venom vocalled Chuck Billy, to announce/flog the tome...

Thursday, 9 March 2017

TICKETS EXCLUSIVE through Spotify, e-zines and more

Korn blimey...

Fan club and VIP ticket packages for the upcoming tour will go on sale beginning March 7 at 10:00 a.m. local time at Korn.comCiti cardmembers presale begins that same day at noon local time. For complete Citi pre-sale details visit: Live Nation presale starts on March 8 at 10:00 a.m. local, followed by a Spotify presale beginning March 9 at 10:00 a.m. local and a BLABBERMOUTH.NET presale starting March 9 at 10:00 a.m. local. All presales end March 9 at 10:00 p.m. local timing. Remaining tickets for all dates will go on sale to the general public on March 10 at 10:00 a.m. local time at

SPOTIFY getting on a playlist key to profit

A useful quote from a veteran UK Indie label boss:
If you get on the right Spotify playlist, it could pay for your album. My friend Ian who runs How Does It Feel to Be Loved has a band call Haiku Salut – they were on a Spotify playlist and it made them a load of money. It’s different from just sending a record to NME. There’s no longer one source that has that single power those magazine had. That’s possibly a good thing, but I feel sorry for a lot of music writers who are expected to provide content for free.
Bed bugs, Brexit and goodbyes: 20 years of indie, as told by Fortuna Pop!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

PLAY ALONG VID No Obituary for vid variety yet

A useful reminder of the versatility of the music video format:

Death metal godfathers Obituary won a synergistic cross-promotion through Guitar World magazine (also a website of course), creating a split-screen video to enable fans to play along with the guitar on their new release. 

They are also booked on a branded tour which will benefit from a major push through the magazine, and offer the chance to attract new fans as the publication has a multi-genre readership. Moreover, it's a neat way for a 1980s band to attract younger fans, kids and teens starting out on developing guitar skills.

So, add this to the lyric video, unwrapping video, album preview/promo video, tour announcement or localised tour shout out, single shot, live performance, fan footage, interactive, 3D, virtual reality (VR), teaser, tie-ins with console games like Guitar Hero ...

It also gets Obituary further publicity through stories on popular e-zines such as MetalSucks.

Good tune to boot, even if not up to the standard of their early classics, Slowly We Rot and Cause of Death!

MERCHANDISING Soot 4 loot NIN style

Another example of the infinite possibilities that exist for merchandising, and a novel way of making the audience feel a connection to the artist

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

WEB 2.0 YouTube channel as label alternative SBTV

SBTV is a useful example of how new digital platforms are disrupting the established business practices of media industries:

When it came to underground artists, SBTV could play a crucial part in an artist’s trajectory. Instead of waiting to get signed by a label or for radio to create the hype, artists could put their freestyle on SBTV, get a manager and a million views on YouTube, then leverage that to get a record deal. In 2017 – with cases such as Stormzy or Boy Better Know – major label backing is no longer essential.

So, at first it gave a platform to underground artists who got zero airplay on mainstream radio, without which it has long been the case that commercial success is difficult to achieve.

Now, however, the revenue from YouTube views exceeds the likely income from record sales for such Indie artists as those featured on SBTV.

The channel itself, now with over 10,000 uploads (just take a moment to think about that - imagine doing 10,000 videos, vodcasts!!!), was also a pioneer of appointment viewing, a spin on linear TV's scheduling. Each week at 5pm subscribers would know a new episode in a series would be uploaded (regular podcasting applies the same strategy...).

10 years of SBTV: the YouTube channel that undercut the music industry

Thursday, 16 February 2017


Please take heed of the warning below - this post is about videos/music subjected to censorship, so view/read with caution and not with younger children in sight of your screen.
As I recently returned to this topic, I've added a few more examples below, and I'll develop this further when time permits, perhaps into an exam case study on the mediareg blog (where there are further resources on this). Use the censorship tag to find more on this blog.

Here's a fairly recent example that I've blogged on in detail over on the mediareg blog.

There are many interesting, highly readable books on the topic - I'll add details of some I've read as + when time permits, but you can find examples with a simple 'banned music' search (eg AmazonUK). I'll be reading Southall's book shortly - available on Kindle Unlimited if you're a subscriber.
Brian Southall’s history of the songs, performers, record covers BANNED by ‘the authorities’ includes the incredible facts behind stories such as…
Roger Daltrey trying to perfect Sonny Boy Williamson’s stuttering, Cliff Richard banning himself, the airbrushing out of Alice Cooper’s ‘penis’ on a record cover, and attempts by USA citizens to get Justin Bieber deported to his native Canada.

Did you know that Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus’ was the first single banned from UK’s Top of the Pops and that before that No.1 hit with Jane Birkin he’d completed an earlier version with Brigitte Bardot?
What was the real reason the Sex Pistols were prevented from topping the singles chart with ‘God Save The Queen’ in Silver Jubilee week 1977?
Why did a falling out between Terence Stamp and The Smiths create a collectors’ item in 1984?
Boycotted, banned and the subject of death threats – what exactly was The Dixie Chicks’ crime in 2003?

NB: we also discussed the economic context of the music industry: the concentration of ownership (one of Chomsky's five filters in his propaganda model; filters remove radical counter-hegemonic content before it can shape public discourse or opinion), or consolidation as free market apologists would prefer.

With such scale, the pressure from threats of boycott, often exerted through campaigners targeting advertisers who put ads on some other wing of a conglomerate, can be immense - advertiser power being another of Chomsky (and Herrmann's) propaganda model. Madonna lost a multi-million Pepsi sponsorship when she dared to depict a black Jesus in her Like a Prayer; Time-Warner famously pulled Ice-T's Cop Killer after facing high level political and police pressure, and threats from shareholders. Ice-T now claims the decision was his; he left the record label after the row over this - the Wiki is a short, informative read, but you can find further accounts easily.
When I started out, [Warner] never censored us. Everything we did, we had full control over. But what happened was when the cops moved on Body Count they issued pressure on the corporate division of Warner Bros., and that made the music division, they couldn't out-fight 'em in the battle, so even when you're in a business with somebody who might not wanna censor you, economically people can put restraints on 'em and cause 'em to be afraid. I learned that lesson in there, that you're never really safe as long as you're connected to any big corporation's money. [Wiki]

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Big Three Sony Universal Warners

In film its the big six (7 if you count Lionsgate); in the music industry, following a controversial 2012 $2bn takeover of EMI by Universal, its just the big three: Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. Sony and Universal also combine on the VEVO platform.

See:; (the spin on this one is a bit odd - that the ENTIRE Indie industry beats any one of the big three individually);; this pdf.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

UGC Depeche Mode fan takeover Facebook for a year

Another new twist in the web 2.0/UGC/convergence mode, this one reflecting the pattern that's seen lyric videos go from fan-made to official releases. The "former audience" indeed!

Headline story on Pitchfork - many more sites/e-zines followed suit
Depeche Mode, a huge selling act that comes high up concert revenue charts when they tour, have announced that fans can apply to be one of 365 who get to control their Facebook page for a day - a page with 7m followers.

This announcement has helped gain a lot of free, high-profile publicity.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Spotify chief most powerful figure in music industry

The big three are all represented alongside major management agencies and touring agents, but it's Spotify, seen as responsible for an unexpected rise in music industry revenues, with its 51% share of the US streaming market (a challenge here for Apple, who also feature in the top 10), that tops the pile according to industry magazine Billboard.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

MALE GAZE in video

I've blogged on this many times; just added a fresh look, using Guns n' Roses, Miley Cyrus and Avicii videos as examples, here.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

WEB 2.0 LYRIC VIDEO Bring Me The Horizon example

Are Coldplay and Justin Bieber's fan-made music videos just cheap marketing ploys?
The idea long predates the digital age: (I see 351studio, a specialist producer of lyric videos, also cite this!)

This is a topic I've blogged on previously, looking at Anthrax and Jane's Addiction examples. I quite likely haven't tagged additional posts that reference this phenomenon.

When creating your own simulacra of existing artists (typically but not always the case - Sunburnt in December being a fine example of a student group that professionally recorded their own band) you need to be closely examining how they, and the industry more generally, seeks to engage with audiences.

The lyric video is one such means. This emerged as and remains a popular form of UGC or fan-made video, but more recently many artists (or their record labels!) have been adding and heavily promoting their own lyric videos. The attraction is obvious - production costs are minimal; providing the lyrics can boost concert atmosphere; the official lyric video can help spark further UGC efforts, whilst pushing traffic to the official YT channel.

Here's a BMTH example, reflecting 1 of 2 common approaches: white text on a black background, though they have both animated the text (something you can do in FCPX using keyframing and/or Motion) and the band's logo (using 1 ore more still images as a backdrop - often the album cover - is the other common approach).

This simple video has been a useful revenue driver for the act/their label, with approaching 32m views as of Jan 2017:

Indeed, an interesting reflection on the nature of music video consumption in our converged age, the lyric video has x7 the views of the actual main promo vid!

The Wiki on the term focuses on music videos which put the lyrics on screen, a different concept to the overlaying of typed lyrics on (usually) still images, but notes that the lyric video often precedes the release of the main promo vid:
A lyric video is one in which the words to the song are the main element of the video. The music video for R.E.M.'s "Fall On Me" interspersed the song's lyrics with abstract film footage. In 1987, Prince released a video for his song "Sign o' the Times". The video featured the song's words pulsing to the music presented along with abstract geometric shapes; an effect created by Bill Konersman.[55][56]
In 1990 George Michael released "Praying For Time" as a lyric video. He had refused to make a traditional music video, so his label released a simple clip that displayed the song's lyrics on a black screen.[57]
A lyric video may be released separately by a music label prior to the more usual video featuring the artist. Cee Lo Green, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Muse, Blur, Ellie Goulding and Avenged Sevenfold among many others, have released lyric videos.[58]
There are even companies who specialise in producing lyric videos, such as 351 Studios:
Today’s digital age changes the way we promote new releases. These days, Lyric Video Production is part of the standard package when artists and labels release a new song. Each day we can see hundreds of new lyric videos on YouTube and other streaming services. There is big competition out there! Lyric Video Production actually dates back to 1965, in Bob Dylan’s release “Subterranean Homesick Blues” as an official music video. But now it’s a different story. It’s a new industry standard. There are also categories for best Lyric Videos in awards by multiple music networks.
Are you looking for a lyric video maker? 351 Studio is the best, most professional lyric video company. We are behind many major and independent artists and labels. With the best creative minds in the team, we can offer you unique, trendy, professional and industry-standard lyric videos for your songs, incorporating your style as an artist, your vibe, any graphics you may have, some video footage, and all animated with perfect dynamics to your song.


Thursday, 29 December 2016

INDUSTRY Big 3 revenues streaming surge

Music streaming hailed as industry's saviour as labels enjoy profit surge

Will Spotify kill the music download?

Record sales: vinyl hits 25-year high

Friday, 16 December 2016

Xmas campaigns and social media engagement

Metallica fan's festive treat.

This is a key time of year for acts to engage with their audiences, and you'll see all sorts of examples of this. Social media is primarily used by acts to create the sense of enagement and interaction with fans - even though, for bigger artists at least, most of this 'personal' interaction is actually produced by hired help.
Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie is given an annual Xmas makeover

Saturday, 10 December 2016

WEB 2.0 makes fans stars

'It's crazy, for sure': meet the stars of

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

VINYL plays the long game overtakes digital

Tables turned as vinyl sales overtake digital sales for first time in UK

Vinyl indignity: record sales are up, but small labels don't see the benefit

Record sales: vinyl hits 25-year high

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

WEBSITE WIX tools for music sites

As seen from our sampling of websites, you can expect to find a range of online digital music outlets directly linked/embedded, as well as links to physical media (especially boxsets) resellers (sometimes self-distributed). Amazon Music, Apple Music/iTunes, Spotify ... there are lots of smaller platforms too. SoundCloud is increasingly commonly seen, for podcasts, remixes, samples, live audio, and simply for publishing tracks (for some unsigned/Indie acts). Like Vimeo and YouTube it includes purchase options, not just streaming.
Amazon includes a sample clip option - and so can you. You could avoid copyright issues by recording audio of you stating something like - don't just use my 'script'
hi, apologies as you're aware this isn't actually the track by [artist] you were hoping to hear. This website is a student coursework production and whilst we wanted to demonstrate our grasp of technology and industry conventions, we didn't want to contravene the artist's copyright. You can, however, find links to the actual artist page on various streaming and digital retail sites on this site!

Here's Amazon's Skrillex page, for example, with playable clips:

Wix provides a tool for creating a similar experience on your own website:

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

WESBITE some home pages and banners compared

You have a few fundamental decisions to make early in the construction and design of your site:
  • BANNER this should tie in with icons/banners for all social media, and will often change to reflect the latest album release or tour
  • TOP LINKS any decent website has clear, specific top-links, accessible on every page for quick navigation through the site. 4 or 5 (sometimes 6) is the norm. Some will include dropdown menus with sub-pages. 'Contact' or 'social media' shouldn't be one of these as those icons should also be on every page AND their content featured heavily throughout
  • COLOURSCHEME/OVERALL LOOK there should be a clear feel throughout the site. That doesn't necessarily mean the same background colour/image, but there should some clear feel of consistency
Here are a few homepages/banners to consider:

He started out as a late 70s punk, but became one of the biggest selling 80s pop artists, and a key pioneer of the epic MTV music video, and continues to record and tour today. He has TWO official sites, one for the US and one primarily for the UK.
The US site has 6 top links, and a poorly designed banner - odd for an artist famed for tightly controlling and self-designing so much of his own artwork over the years. The forum is in heavy use - 0.5m posts, including recent additions. Note the emphasis on merchandise and live dates, a clear reflection of how artists tend to monetise their work these days. 'Features' is an odd mish-mash of many things; this could do with a dropdown sub-menu. There actually is a mouse hover submenu, but its a graphic only, and disappears when you move the mouse or click on Features. I also note that clicking through to merchandise prices appear in euros but there is a separate banner for a US store on the homepage for that separate site.

VIRAL the sick slickness of me-too memes

The idea of a “viral hit” long ago stopped being something that just happened to a song and became, through contrivance and orchestration, a core part of the marketing plot. We can see this today, the air thick with the tang of desperation, as tracks are propelled by endless videos and vloggers shamelessly bankrolling themselves with “promoted content”. Songs are announced as viral hits on launch, semantically bulldozing through what “viral” actually means. (Mannequin challenge, Rae Sremmurd and the meme-powered viral hit)
The quote comes from a good overview, and critique, of the viral video concept by Eamonn Forde: