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, 18 December 2012

Norn Irn Gangnam Style

As the most-viewed music video in history despite its comparatively recent vintage, there have been many, many Gangnam tributes/satires. Like Rebecca Black's horrific audio assault Friday before it (given its own sideways IGS tribute of course), many of the views, each notching up micro-payments through YouTube's ad-funded partnership programme, were from people wanting to mock and vent their spleen.
So, when I heard my old school had done a Gangnam vid ... I was underwhelmed. The vid's success, at least outwith its home market, is based on crude racial stereotyping; it receives oppositional readings as Stuart Hall would say.
Then I actually looked at it - and its a great example of the continuing power of a pop culture media format to convey a strong message. This message (PR for Antrim Grammar School with a nice touch of self-mockery from some of my old teachers) at the time of writing is approaching 200,000 views and seems to be adding 1,000s more a day. If ever there was a great example of how Media Studies skills can have commercial application, this is it.
If you've any thoughts, feel free to comment on this post (or on AGS' YT channel).

Monday, 17 December 2012

Daft Punk - TechnoLogic vid

YEAR: 2005
AUDIENCE: 18-24+ (by now 15-34)
DIRECTOR: DAFT PUNK (3rd self-directed vid)

By 2005 Daft Punk were a major act, with massive worldwide singles and albums behind them and the backing of one of the world's biggest record labels, EMI (through their subsidiary label Virgin), to boot. This shows in the video: it may lack shot variety in large part, but the budget is there for all to see with the central robot figure an impressive hybrid of the Terminator and Chucky from the Child's Play franchise. The distinct horror overtones are something we might more easily associate with industrial music, which tends to display a strand of technophobia, and also points to a band willing to sacrifice daytime screenings to target their core, club-going 18-24/18-34 audience. It would be hard to see this getting airtime pre-watershed.

The layers of intertextuality don't stop with what appear to be straightforward horror/sci-fi film signifiers though: the track gained wide exposure through being sampled in a Busta Rhymes track (with Missy Elliott on vocals); the track was used for both an iPod ad and a Motorola phone ad, featured in top-rated teen drama The OC (which has a wide global following), in 2009 was featured in two separate car ads. As the track's Wiki further reports:
It is a playable track on the iOS games Tap Tap Revenge and Tap Tap Dance, and was sampled for the video game DJ Hero. In an episode of the TV show America's Best Dance Crew, crew Kaba Modern performed to a master mix of this song on February 7, 2008. "Technologic" was also featured in the game Dance Central 2.
What we also see is another Daft Punk trait: anonymising the duo in the act. The doll itself could act as a stand-in for the animations they did in the past, but we also get two futuristic guitar-playing characters, dressed like security men or police with their full-face dark helmets. Their movement is notably minimal and stiff.

Another really key feature is the link up between the vid and the stage set: the mysterious, enigmatic pyramids formed a centrepiece of the tour that was already ongoing when this video was released. As we've seen, since 2005 the change in the music business from a product-sales industry to a live performance + merchandise + archive (long tail) sales industry has been pronounced, and this was an early indicator of a band that saw that change coming - as an act advertising iPods, a key driver of that drive, should!

The length of takes is quite remarkable, and perhaps an attempt to stand out from the crowd: its certainly counter-intuitive to have such a slow-paced video. Arguably the sheer splendour of their mise-en-scene, together with the impressive SFX, is doing the hard work for them, but it still seems odd and a little unsatisfying. Its not the only time we've seen this: the iconic Da Funk video featured many such long takes too.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Hurtwood House: Your competition!

Subbed to this school's channel as they produce some nice work, and have just looked at their latest A2 uploads. Its worth having a clear sense of the high level some others are working to out there - if you want a high mark you have to aim as least as high as examples such as these. They're not beyond improvement, but are generally impressive. Whats also noticeable is that these students have clearly invested in creating a production budget for themselves.

Copyright and YouTube

See also;;;;

Whereas your final AS coursework must feature zero copyright material, you're using a copyrighted track for your A2 coursework - have you remembered to evidence, as required by the exam board, an attempt to contact the rights holder (usually the record label) for permission to use the track for this work, making clear you're not seeking to profit from using their copyrighted material (and might even encourage some people to buy the track through your video!)?

Since YouTube introduced an automatic detection system (see the Wiki) and signed deals with most of the major TV, film and music companies (as you'll have seen from your Media work, these tend to be subsidiaries of massive horizontally and vertically integrated conglomerates such as News Corp and NBC-Universal), the issue of 'fair usage' of copyrighted materials has evolved a little.
Link at the end of the post: a very useful site for exploring the issue further
If any of your work contains any copyrighted material you might find its deleted by YouTube, or blocked in certain nations but not others (dependent on which countries its deals have been signed in). This will particularly the case where you've used lengthy clips from films. Where you've used a short clip, or any copyrighted music, you're more likely to find a notice on your channel uploads page telling you there is 'matched copyright material'.
My vodcasts used clips short enough to be considered 'fair usage'
Rather than delete or block the upload, the more common response is simply to assert that other copyright holders' material has been used, and force ads onto your upload, the revenues from which will be split between YouTube and the copyright holder.
I've tried to find a definitive acceptable length of film clips which won't generate a YouTube blocked upload, without success so far (if you find anything on this please pass it on). I'd suggest aiming for 30secs or less, using freeze frames with original audio removed for anything over this, but that's a guess. Check your uploads for anything being blocked. So far, we've not problems with any A2 music videos, just AS film vodcasts (and a compilation of scenes which used a Depeche Mode a couple of years ago), including one of mine (vodcast on scream queens + final girls, available to view on request) in which I simply used too much of Bride of Chucky. provide a very considered analysis of the issues involved, YouTube's policies and also highlight some of the common abuses - where fraudulent companies simply claim you've used their copyright material when that's not the case. I think I may have found one such dubious claim on my channel, for past AS coursework where the soundtrack was composed in school using GarageBand! In such cases, the fraudulent company pockets the money from ads which YouTube force on to the upload.
See;; and other such links on the site.

YouTube itself offers a guide, including lengthy videos, though they shy away from being specific over such matters as how much of a single TV show, film or other text goes beyond the fair usage doctrine - see also the Wiki on Fair Usage.

The Uni of Houston's DigitalStoryTelling site also features a considered discussion of the issues and legal policies.