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, 26 September 2013

Politics in Music Video

A simple post, for now at least: a few examples of music videos which have incorporated strong, explicit political themes (depending on how you read a video, any video can be seen as having implied political themes, and certainly ideological messages), following on from a student pitch centred on Muse's Assassin, a politically-charged track.
War is overdue
The time has come for you
To shoot your leaders down
Join forces underground

[sample lyric from Muse's Assassin]
First up, a band with a long history of tracks and videos taking up explicit, and generally controversial, counter-hegemonic, themes and positions: Megadeth. They were one of the very, very few bands to venture to my home town back in Northern Ireland in the midst of 'The Troubles' (an absurdly reductive label if ever there was one. Frontman Dave Mustaine naively took the advice of a friendly face just before going onstage, and, in a fairly Loyalist (pro-UK) town, pronounced his support for Irish Republicanism ... causing a fierce riot.
NB: The video below contains hyper-fast editing, coming close to a flashing light effect. (View in higher quality 720p here)

There are many metal bands that incorporate rebellious, counter-hegemonic messages, with the popular campaign to get Rage Against the Machine's totemic Killing in the Name Of [a performance video only; includes strong language] an example of how audiences' response to, or uses of, such material doesn't necessarily reflect the full political message as intended.

Next, a Brazilian thrash band well known for their explicitly political lyrics, Sepultura; songs such as Polozia are straightforward in their condemnation of excessive state force. They've used news footage of riots and civil uprisings in their videos (including, from memory, either Inner Self or Beneath the Remains), such as here, with Refuse/Resist - not just employing a political theme but actually a call to arms and action:

There are many more examples out there; punk lyrics were often highly political and so to many of the proto-videos produced around that time - Green Day's American Idiot is a good contemporary example of this.

Maggie Thatcher inspired many (mostly) hostile tracks over the years, continuing when she died in 2013 and any attempted debate over the rights/wrongs of her receiving a state funeral was swiftly shot down by most of the mainstream media. The Huffington Post also did an interesting post on this.

Any more suggestions? Add below as a comment, and I'll add to the post.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Vinyl sales record goes to...

Perfect illustration of how the 'new media' age is not simply a narrative about digitised media formats: news that Daft Punk have become the biggest seller of vinyl in Amazon's history (they launched in 1995). It's become increasingly common for bands (especially rock/Indie, but also pop) to issue limited editions of vinyl alongside CD and download, something that anyone considering a promo package should consider...
Daft Punk, fresh from breaking all sorts of records with their Get Lucky single, seem to be almost single-handedly reviving the vinyl music industry. Amazon has announced that the French duo's album Random Access Memories has become their best-selling vinyl LP of all time.
In fact, the DJs' latest LP isn't just the best-selling vinyl record of summer 2013: nobody has sold more vinyl copies since Amazon launched in 1995. Daft Punk top's all-time vinyl bestseller list, followed by Adele, for 21, Amy Winehouse, for Back to Black, and David Bowie, who has two records in the all-time top 10.