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

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Contacting labels, fansites etc

The absolute minimum requirement is that you evidence your attempts to contact the rights holder (record label, or in some cases venture capital groups) for the track to request permission to use it for non-commercial purposes. A suggested template for what to write follows below; we have already had some good news on this front - Mary/Lucy/Chris have got the thumbs up from We Are The Ocean's record label to use the audio; good work folks!

I have also suggested you look at contacting the band (or surviving members if using a 60s/70s act), plus fanzines, fan sites, fan clubs... make full use of the power of the web to tap into a wide range of potential sources of feedback, not to mention ideas. This should generally help with your research, not least to get a clearer idea of the target audience.
You could also consider following up any contacts made with requests for phone or email interviews, or simply post questions on fan forums, such as:
  • what does the track [name] mean to you?
  • if you were to make a video for this, what would it consist of?
  • have you any thoughts on any existing, official, music videos for [band/act]?
  • do you know of any useful online sources, especially linked to music videos or target audience, on [band]?
  • do you know of any other unofficial videos for [band's] music? has any been used in TV, film or advertising?
  • [summarise YOUR idea]: any thoughts on this?
  • who would you say are the target audience for [band/act]? what do you base this on?
  • how would you describe the brand, or identity, of [band]
  • do you know of any recent magazine articles on [band]?
  • [try record label espec with this] have [band] released any digipak CDs? have you got scans (or details of which mag published in) for any examples?
Do have a thorough look on YouTube for any videos for the band, particularly but not exclusively your track, and discuss these with reference to the band's audience.

Just to stress, the following is a suggested template. You may opt for greater brevity, which is an important principle in seeking contact with busy people! Mary's email, below, got results!

We are Media Studies students in our final year at Ilkley Grammar School (West Yorkshire, UK; we are both 17). We are working on a music video for [BAND NAME] classic "[TRACK TITLE]" for our coursework assignment (together with a design for a digipak CD single and a magazine ad for this). This is for the purposes of our coursework, not for any commercial use or gain.

The video will not represent any of the band members but will instead feature fictional characters from a local cast.

We would like your permission to use the audio track for "[TRACK TITLE]", for example when publishing our completed video on YouTube (not least as this helps us gain audience feedback on rough cuts and final cuts of our video). We'd be delighted to discuss the concept we have for this video if you are interested, or to simply answer any further questions you might have. You can also address any queries to Mr Burrowes, Head of Media Studies at the school.

We hope to hear from you soon!

[NAME1] [you could add mobile number (for record label/band; not forums/fanzines) +/or email]
[NAME2] [you could add mobile number (for record label/band; not forums/fanzines) +/or email]
[provide all group member names]
[One or more blog URLs, perhaps YouTube channel or link to your AS work (and mention having work screened at national film fest if you did), can all help establish your credentials]

Ilkley Grammar School, Ilkley LS29 8TR.

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