Music vids are primarily an entertainment medium, and ads for music products. The success of many viral vids showcases the greater opportunities low-budget producers have, even if the actual music retail market sufferd from even greater monopoly than the film biz.
Here's an example, though, of the vid as agit-prop; PR for a generally negatively-portrayed people and place, which has swiftly received extensive 'flak' and faces further censorship. As this article says, it will be interesting to see how the BBC handles this in the highly unlikely event it becomes a hit...
Palestine campaign song generates controversy ahead of release
Coldplay removes link to video after 7,000 comments as Glenn Beck describes 'Freedom For Palestine' as evil propaganda
It's a compilation number, along the lines of Feed The World or Free Nelson Mandela, and its artists include Dave Randall of Faithless, Maxi Jazz and the Durban Gospel Choir. Images from the West Bank and Gaza, along with the separation barrier, are featured in the video.
Its lyrics refer to catastrophes, refugees, crimes against humanity, prison camps, occupation, human rights and justice. "We are the people and this is our time, stand up, sing out for Palestine," goes the refrain.
Coldplay initially linked to the video from the band's Facebook page, prompting around 7,000 responses, both for and against. Earlier this week, the band removed the link (see update below).
The US media host Glenn Beck drew attention to the song on his Fox show, describing it as "evil" and "pure propaganda". Referring to the song's lyrics, he said: "Before you know it, 'Israeli occupation' will be standard fare. Everyone will just see it as they're just occupying that land. That is a lie."
If the song makes it into the UK charts, it is likely to cause a dilemma for the BBC. The corporation ran into controversy last month for masking out the words "free Palestine" from a number recorded by Mic Righteous. It did it in order "to ensure impartiality was maintained", it said. On another recent occasion, the word "Palestine" was excised from a BBC script.
I have no idea whether this campaign song will sink or soar. But the controversy building around it even before release is an indication of what could be yet to come.
1.42pm update: I've just had an email from Frank Barat at OneWorld who tells me:
"Coldplay did not remove link from its Facebook page. Facebook removed the link because thousands of people (and computer generated posts) reported it as abusive."
My apologies to Coldplay for misrepresenting them.