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, 31 January 2012

DIGIPAKS: further pointers on scrutinising examples

I left this as a comment on one blog, worth sharing:

You note the relationship between outer + inner panels here, and should do so (+ that of front/back outer panel) for every example
Think more about fonts too - standardised or variation? Be specific when denoting (describing this). Consider size + framing of text too, key aspects you have to think about for your own designs
Is there anything to denote that this is the 'digitally remastered gift edition'? Anything other than remastering which marks it out from the standard release?
You might find it easier to compile a summary of conventions if you stick to a bulleted list of what you observe in each (maybe put analysis in brackets)

Here's a good eg of a student from elsewhere's detail on one eg:

Friday, 27 January 2012


There are various posts below on both Mag Ads + digipaks (eg +, plus links lists

But too few of you have really covered the process behind these as you should

You must:
  1. set out an initial idea of what the format is
  2. scrutinise 5+ general examples of the format, providing jpgs and detailed denotation
  3. summarise the media language of the format [should be as vodcast]
  4. scrutinise 5+ genre-specific examples of the format, providing jpgs and detailed denotation
  5. summarise the media language seen in genre examples [should be as vodcast]
  6. outline your ideas (sep posts as you change/think of new ideas)
  7. be clear on how your ideas reflect, develop or challenge conventions
  8. be clear on how the package of 3 texts fit together AND reflects your target audience
  9. evidence + detail (discuss why you did certain things) drafts; think about compiling several before-and-after jpgs you can use in a vodcast
  10. evidence audience feedback and your response as you go - this can be fun as well as formal: video a focus group, perhaps of genre fans; create a brief questionnaire etc
  11. as you go, post on aspects of Photoshop or other digital technologies used - generating screenshots now will make your Evaluation videos (+exam prep) much easier
  12. final cut + summary of role played by aud feedback

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Watch Latymer School finished vids

Look for the 2011 Music Vids playlist on their channel (at least one is blocked on copyright grounds)
Interesting to look at, and there are vids which touch on aspects each of you are working on
The sheer confidence and assurance of the performers generally stands out and is a significant plus, as is the evidence of lighting rigs; the strength of the female performers, and how they handle erotic signifiers without crossing a line is particularly striking. On the other hand, there is some shaky camerawork; some nice ideas not so well executed; some unfortunate casting; some perf footage which is clearly not synched to the track, and generally some editing which could be tighter and better paced.

I think we're well placed to generally do better, and they're a very, very strong centre with a superb track record for slick, prize-winning productions! Have a look and see what you think, and let me know if you want me to play back any and discuss in class - there are plenty of other finished vids out there; many schools submit their A2 coursework for January

View Hurtwoodhouse vids

Google "a2 music video" and you'll find many more - select 'in last month' for 2011-12 vids and blogs. I spotted a Muse vid in there - I'm sure there'll be more of your choices with other Media student vids out there...

Monday, 16 January 2012

MAG ADS: the fundamentals

We explored this in today's lesson, a few key points follow
First though: use the Links List I've provided on this blog (I've temporarily re-positioned to the top), and this post which gathers together links to some strong examples of past work on mag ads.

All images bar technical/record co logos should be your own
You must prove they're yours by including the original unedited shots
Remember to keep notes/screenshots of changes made as you edit/Photoshop
If you have used a found image but transformed it (sigh...) you should still produce another version which doesn't include a found image

Primarily to help flog the CD+DVD digipack.
Branding or re-branding
Wider revenue raising: touring + merchandise increasingly key for today's music performers, plus official band websites (which increasingly offer subscription packages which come with exclusive releases, prior notice of tickets etc)

As always: research/denote general examples THEN genre-specific examples, in both cases listing common conventions with specific examples for each convention

In Eval you have to account for how the 3 texts work as a package
That DOESN'T mean you MUST use shots from the vid in both print texts (tho makes sense to somewhere in digipack)
You could be more abstract, creating an image/shot conceptually linked to your vid idea
You may be including a product shot of digipack

The three As...
You've got to ensure you thoroughly research which mag/s your ad/s will appear in
Most mags (or their publisher's) websites provide very specific breakdowns of their target audience - they have to as mags rely on ad revenue at least as much as cover price in most cases
Could you design a 2nd ad for use in a mag that appeals to your secondary aud? (this might help you to ensure you've shown excellence in image editing)
Or at least write about page rates - you'd pay for a full page (or even the back page) in mag/s appropriate for primary target aud but perhaps a quarter or half page in mag/s appropriate for your secondary aud
As ever, test your ideas/get aud feedback - if doing 2 versions, do you get distinct feedback from primary/2ndary auds?

Main image, which might not be directly from the vid but still has to show linkage to vid/digipak
Product shot? Small-ish if so
Highlight digipak and bonus DVD
List of DVD/special edition features?
Tour dates? If your act is active research any current or upcoming gig dates and use these (for defunct girl/boy bands perhaps 1 member is touring?). You could make up 'reunion tour' dates - try to find articles about a reunion tho + reflect on the phenomenon of the reunion tour (links well to your rebranding effort)
Release date? Don't necessarily need the words 'released on', just a date - that depends on your overall design
Social media + URLs: Twitter hashtag + Facebook page URL - but not MySpace!!! You don't need http:// or www. really (look at recent examples). Official fansite. (or other) if listing tour dates. Record co URL + logo. DVD logo to stress the bonus DVD.
Tagline or descriptive text
Review puffs? (phrases from reviews)

Avoid found images...
Doesn't have to be directly from your vid
...but should have a conceptual link (its the exclusive new video thats the lead selling point of digipack)
Try to avoid simply replicating a digipack shot
If you've used a plain image consider a 2nd ad ... otherwise you can't be awarded high marks for image manipulation (some layering is generally a good idea)

Many do, but think about markscheme if you intend to stick to a single font
Consider downloading a font

HISTORY: MTVs 1st day playlist

With thanks to Rob Shaw for suggesting this, here's the video playlist from MTV's very 1st day:

Sunday, 15 January 2012

MAG AD: dimensions

Conor asks: 'Sir, regarding the magazine adverts, what are the dimensions it needs to be? e.g does it have to be a full A4 page or can it be a smaller (but with the same information on it) such as the Charlie Simpson photo attached? It's just that I've taken some photos for the backdrop and put some great filters on them, but they can't be maximised much without the quality been drastically reduced.'

Answer: Ideally, dimensions to fit accurately the mag you're placing it in; and remember there are full page, 1/2 page etc ads (each carrying different prices - most mags contain details or contact details to find out, as ads, NOT cover prices, form the bulk of the publisher's income in most cases. Some groups last year produced a variety of ads, citing different page sizes for different ads. To show awareness of aud + institution you MUST be specific on which mag/s; where in them + what size; why (and price detail would be a good touch)

Look to last year's blogs for good examples 
So long as proportion/shape are accurate, at a push you can include ads that are scaled down - tho' again think about selling it as a half or 1/4 page ad. There's no need to print these off - so long as they look good embedded on screen thats the main thing

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Divshare alternative: SoundCloud

Haven't signed up to try it out myself, but I did note the neat way comments appear as you play uploaded MP3s, which could be a useful feature; have a look at as an alternative for uploading podcasts.

Here's an example:

Leonard Cohen - Darkness

MARKETING: Use dates to create special vids

Fri the 13th has just passed; you could use days such as this to create specials for your blog; you can see Megadeth doing this for Halloween:

GENRE: history/future of Indie record labels

Even if they misspelt the title, a good in-depth article here:

POMO, WEB EXCL.: Morbid Angel silent movie vid

Perhaps reflecting the hype around The Artist, the 2011 French silent movie thats receiving critical acclaim right now, here's a highly postmodern vid taking on the media language of silent movies but from an unusual source: death metal icons Morbid Angel. Personally I think the vid's quite poor, and the slow pace just doesn't work for the genre, BUT it will generate debate and thus publicity. They gave the online premiere to the magazine site Terrorizer, a move increasingly used (we also see video premieres on the schedules of C4, E4 etc quite commonly) and so something you could think about/write about with regards to use of technology.

Evanescence also provide a good eg of promoting a vid through ... a vid! They gave an interview on set of their latest to MTV, ensuring airplay and publicity:


There are micro-sites at the Guardian on this (SOPA = Stop Online Piracy Act, currently being debtated in the US).
Here's an article from elsewhere, from the Piracy Party, a movement that sprang from the prosecution of Sweden's Pirate Bay website:

Why its always glass half empty for the British music industry?

Laurence Kaye helps to run the Pirate party in the UK. They defend the right to get music for free on the internet as opposed to the music industry and musicians who see it as losing their livelihood and control. He sends us a blog stating that the death of the music industry has been excagerated…
Why its always glass half empty for the British music industry?
a pirate asks 'Why its always glass half empty for the British music industry?'

Most of us have a mate who has a tendency to the glass half empty view of life. For every silver lining there is a cloud. When one door closes, so does another. That mate for bands and songwriters is music industry body, the British Phonographic Industry, affectionately known as the BPI. They never seem to miss an opportunity to rush in with an arm flailing press release wailing: “The pirates are coming! We’re doooomed! Doooomed I tell you!” Or to be fair, currently it’s “If it weren’t for the lovely, yet tax averse Adele, we’d be dooooomed!”

WEB MARKETING: Band blog Webisodes FoxyShazam Janes Addiction

A rubbish band but one who cleverly use the web's marketing potential, with a multimedia-rich blog, and exclusive deals with other successful websites to premiere one of their video series:

Jane's Addiction have also used webisodes as a marketing tool:

Monday, 9 January 2012

INDUSTRY: Auteur film dirs still do high-profile vids: Loutallica/Aronofsky

News of a highly-reputed, auteur filmmaker turning his hand to music video - demonstrating that the form is more than just a pathway to filmmaking!
The video in question is for a track from the ridiculous Loutallica, but never mind: read more and see the vid at

DIGIPAK: vinyl-style cds

Some of you asked about the vinyl-style cd used by the Joy Division group last year; I've been in touch with Jonny Hughes (recipient of the 2011 Media prize btw) and he tells me...

Hi Dave,

We bought the vinyl CDs from here. The label for the disc was done by making a template in Photoshop and printing it out on some general labelling paper.

The music videos are looking good so far this year - particularly like the Nine Inch Nails sample footage and two of the performance videos.

Anyway thanks again (and also for the Media prize)

Jonny Hughes

Sunday, 8 January 2012


A useful snapshot of how digitisation is transforming the music industry, including breakdowns by genre: