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

Monday, 11 December 2017

YOUTUBE Poppycock I saw it through the grapetube

This strikes me as intriguing but wretchedly deplorable, a harbinger of cultural implosion. All the world's a (nearly) 6 inch screen Shakespeare famously quoth.

Such gibberish might fit well on Poppy's channel, home of vapid vids and now smatterings of music. Millions watch her wordlessly eat candyfloss, repeat a 2 word mantra. Can't wait for her scratching an armpit video, that ought to rake up a few million sugar glazed eyeballs.

Spittle-flecked horror, oppobrium for this virtue vacuum, is an instinctive response - but ... then there's the claim this is a meta, pomo, deconstructionist take on online culture. It's hipster to be squared.

Poppy is a very slim Caucasian blonde female. So was Buffy, but she had a great script.

No, I'll stick with Poppycock, but still suggest this is an interesting case study of a carefully constructed YouTube identity/brand being slowly spun out into pop, rather than using YouTube to boost an artist's brand and fanbase.

A decade ago it was the likes of Lily Allen brought to the fore by viral take-up of her MySpace warblings. Heartwarming story, aside from the expensive Sony campaign that actually underpinned it.

Poppy and her svengali sidekick director dude may be smart cookies, but sugary temptation offers empty calories. Calling the fans Poppy Seeds - smart touch; maybe Gaga is a more apt comparison, the pop queen of cyberspace connection is perhaps going to be looked on as the step before such Tubers established the next multi-platform media marketing miasma.

Poppy is a disturbing internet meme seen by millions. Can she become a pop sensation?

Friday, 8 December 2017

MERCHANDISING Thrash metal Pantera baby stroller

I kid you not... (think about it...) Pramtera?!

When you're looking at a website store, you should spot some examples of baby and child merch. I've given several examples before, so add this legends of thrash metal merch to the list.

For legacy or established acts like this it makes perfect sense. Pantera broke through in the early 90s with the classic Cowboys From Hell - caused my hair to reach out to others many's a time!

Therefore much of their fanbase are mature adults, often with families - and they continue to attract new fans despite being a defunct act.


Monday, 4 December 2017

MERCHANDISING Metal figurine toys put Maiden ahEddie

UPDATE: Maiden mascot Halloween masks
If you look back to the 70s, American glam-rockers KISS predated all of the merch ideas I've blogged on, flogging lunch boxes, PJs, basically ANYTHING they could shove a KISS logo onto (and make-up sets!)...
The Maiden masks are also an example of the metal/horror links. And let's not forget the Maiden pinball machine...

The e-zine MetalSucks is one of many to feature the release of new Iron maiden figurines...

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

VINYL hits 4m in UK Sainsburys launch label Metallica Master Retromania

This is how Sainsbury's announced the launch
Sainsbury’s customers can now pick up some exclusive, freshly pressed vinyl alongside their freshly pressed fruit juices. (Sainsbury's,1st Nov. 2017)

Sadly the vinyl boom, boosted by nostalgia* from the deaths of the likes of Prince and Bowie, whose final album Blackstar was a vinyl bestseller, is led this year by the tragic return from early retirement of Ed Sheeran.

Further evidence of how mainstream this vinyl resurgence is, a major Xmas pressie source, the Gallagher brothers solo records and Sergeant Peppers are joined as major sellers by ... supermarket Sainsbury's own label.

Grab a loaf, milk and a compilation record with some Van der Graaf Generator. Tremendous. Though the only real national music store chain left, HMV, remains the dominant force in vinyl sales for now.

See Guardian: Ed Sheeran and Gallagher brothers lead vinyl revival at HMV. and Sainsbury's announcement.

Here's a very useful video suggested by Richard D:

Simon Reynolds wrote an interesting book, Retromania, about the profound change in the cultural position of music and how its consumed brought about by digitisation. Thanks to YouTube especially, older acts never actually fade away. Pop was always considered ephemeral: pop acts would have their year or so of popularity then fade from the limelight and memory as their teen/tween fanbase got older and bored.
Now we can easily access older acts material, and record labels see back catalogue as a key driver of revenue. Spotify is full of special editions, and even re-recordings (eg Def Leppard's Hysteria), which enable a band to regain control of revenue streams rather than the record label they were signed to for the original album.

The Smiths, The Sex Pistols and Metallica are but 3 recent examples of bands re-releasing iconic albums with lots of studio outtakes, demos etc, sold in multiple packages (with vinyl options in all 3 of these examples). The Master of Puppets boxset was gifted by the Danish PM to his Indonesian equivalent, and you can also treat yourself to the very dull featuring singer James Hetfield's hands, part of the publicity and marketing campaign that kicked in months before the release date.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

WEB 2.0 INDIE Technology loosens record labels hegemony

Part of an in-depth series on the music underground, this is a great article for getting your head round the central concept that digitisation has created opportunity for artists to succeed without relying on record companies for production and distribution - or even on physical sales of recorded music.

This is exemplified most in 2017 by Chance the Rapper – Forbes estimates he made $33m (£25m) this year without the need for a label or even to sell physical music. But, before him, the dubstep and grime scenes in the UK saw a new generation of artists using YouTube for distribution, broadcast and community.

'We could build something revolutionary': how tech set underground music free

Friday, 10 November 2017

REPRESENTATION INDUSTRY Swift tailor-made case study

Taylor Swift’s reputation: will her new album silence her critics?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

INDUSTRY Vevo the music video giant

Vevo is an entity you need to engage with to show a good grasp of the industry, a case of the music giants combining to monetise and control the distribution of their videos through YouTube.
See Lifewire, Wiki for simple explanations, and look into your own artist for Vevo links.

They're the major music industry force behind the Tory attempt to enforce age ratings on music videos, voluntarily engaging in the BBFC scheme. See this Guardian Music tag for more on this.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

SFX CONVENTIONS Green screen examples + layering

Not performing IN a bar but ON the bar top!
Here's a simple example of the power of the green screen - one from 30 years ago, long before you could achieve instant green screen keying on a Mac as you can now (there's a term for that, a very important one, linked to digitisation: CONVERGENCE).

Once you have green screen footage - especially if it incorporates full body movement (as opposed to the maximum MLS dictated by using a single sheet unless you're very careful) - you have incredible creative freedom over how you use it.

LAYERING - which isn't always through green screened footage - is one of the fundamentals of music video, a very common device but not one seen much in TV drama for example.

I'd welcome your suggestions (as blog comments) on useful examples to add to this post from your own knowledge/research.

Here's a simple example from a Thai dance-pop artist.

Monday, 16 October 2017

INDUSTRY MONETISING And the brand played on

No alternative: how brands bought out underground music

Thursday, 12 October 2017

AUDIENCE WEB 2.0 Is going underground still feasible?

This might turn out to be a highly irritating Grauniad exercise in uber-hipsterdom, proudly proclaiming awful bedroom acts adored by some London clique as artistic giants ... but it could also be an invaluable discourse on the still evolving disruptive force of new technology and how it impacts music marketing and artists' relationship with audiences and industry alike....

In the coming weeks, we’re going to run a series of articles examining what, if anything, it means to be an underground artist in 2017. We’ll be exploring whether it’s possible to find a meaningful audience for your music while avoiding the glare of publicity, the complex relationship between art and commerce, how technology assists and impedes artists who want to find new routes of promoting and disseminating their music, what the value of remaining underground is, and whether Britain is host to any thrilling and vibrant music scenes that exist entirely off-grid.

Where is the musical underground in 2017?

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

GENRE INDIE BBC doc on history of Indie

As you study genre theory you'll come to realise how loose a concept it is - but one that is absolutely vital for marketing and retail purposes, even in the streaming age when shelf space is not an issue. As 'consumers' (such a loathesome term, but still widely used) we do still tend to think along genre lines, which is why these are so important whether its Netflix, Spotify or (gasp!) a physical record/music store.

BBC3 and BBC4 (often replaying BBC2 content) are worth keeping an eye on through iPlayer as they often feature some great music docs. This is a good example, a thorough grounding in the evolution of the Indie genre - a genre which has both some easily identified stereotypes and such a wide range of music that it becomes a very, very loose concept. Further complicated by the Americanism of alt-pop or alternative rock, which is essentially the same. In both cases, there are acts seen as Indie who are signed to major record labels, while many on independent labels are having their work distributed by majors so even the original linkage is debatable.

Thanks to Richard for the link - I'd mentioned this specific doc series many times and he spotted it on YT.


Unlike the cheesy old school techno classic, there are limits with the tracklisting ... the maximum running time of a CD (while it still remains a mainstream delivery platform).

You need to approach this simple detail of your work with caution - and thoroughly back up your decision with multiple examples.

Here's a simple (its far from precise on CD length, quite inaccurate on that!) pointer from Dave Taylor - as the saying goes, if Dave says its true, it probably is...
As I've blogged many times before, you should be looking to create a value proposition for what is usually a best of/greatest hits (or B-sides etc) compilation of previously released material ... by adding (and highlighting with a cover sticker) newly recorded bonus tracks. Some past students (see Atomic Kitten example) have even gone the extra mile and created their own lyrics for these new tracks to include in a digipak lyrics booklet!


WEBSITE ALBUM SAMPLER Suede's non-music vid video!

An example which highlights three points:
  1. Websites are routinely updated to centre on the latest album release
  2. Bjork, The Pixies and many more are trailblazing a growing trend of creating videos for ALL album songs, not just the singles, recognising this boosts revenue-gaining YouTube hits ... but the importance of additional videos (unwrapping, lyric, live, UGC etc) is growing faster still, and Suede's "album sampler" is a good example. It would have Vernallis jumping up and down screaming I TOLD YOU SO given its narrative-free (is that possible?!) nature
  3. Its another reminder of the convergence between film and music video - bear in mind that the 1964 Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night [Wiki] is widely considered as having created the music video template (archetype) with its video-like scenes ... and MJ's Thriller! While you will generally be creating youth-targeting productions with bands' existing (older) audience now the secondary target for you, Suede are possibly reinforcing their mature adult appeal with an entire feature-length arthouse movie released with their album. Its nature might also suggest an oddly upmarket (ABC1) audience for an Indie band. Read more here.
Here it is so you can judge for yourself - you should be thinking of this as an easy, but creatively free, extra (like the single shot video, lyric video...), so long as you remember to keep it MUCH shorter (or it'll just get blocked).

The website splash/landing/home page on 10.10.17:

The "album sampler"


Saturday, 7 October 2017

GENDER QUEER China's female boy band

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

FRANCHISE MUSICALS Bored bards' Broadway badinage

Bruce takes Broadway: Springsteen's stage show is a risky business

Friday, 29 September 2017

UGC WEB 2.0 Fan album art, track listing

Faux real: Taylor Swift, Jay-Z and the ‘leaks’ that are too good to be true

Thursday, 28 September 2017

FEMINISM + TWEEN AUDIENCE Spice Girls counter-hegemonic titans?

Spice World: the feminist movie? When girl power hit the the big screen

Monday, 14 August 2017

WEB 2.0 Social first, UGC, me too memes, cashtags key to promo

Short and snappy overview here from Wired of how 'social first', trying to seed interest and stimulate sharing and UGC before paid-for campaigns kick in, has become the industry norm.

Some contrasting examples of 'organic' underground successes and notable failures by the likes of Katy Bloody Perry - hit or flip the common key is some degree of replicability, whether dance or ... spraying water on your face (KBP).

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

VFX Shins layering that'll stick(er) in the mind

LAMAR + NIK is a joint name you may have seen from your research into video examples, and nofilmschool here compare them to Michel Gondry, high praise indeed.

The specific stop-motion technique they use here isn't necessarily what you might take away as an inspiration - look at the seemingly mundane mise-en-scene they add these stickers (you should be thinking greenscreen to achieve a comparable effect) to: stacks of coins, 'checkers' chips, cheese slices, all quirky and interesting when shot in tight close-ups.

No need for a narrative in a video as entertaining and visually busy as this, though the likes of Sledgehammer manage to incorporate this.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

STREAMING Warner soars past $1bn digital revenues

The conglomerate giant doing fine, artists less so...

Ed Sheeran’s Divide puts Warner Music’s streaming income on track to cross £1bn

STREAMING 2.4m YouTube views to earn months minimum wage

CONVERGENCE Metal Gear...Video game group's hit single

Pentakill: how a metal band that doesn’t exist made it to No 1

Sunday, 6 August 2017


Saturday, 5 August 2017

Viral car lip sync hits 120m views

This would be a good idea for an additional video alongside your main effort (live, lyric, unwrapping vids are also useful additions).

The infamous Wayne's World Bohemian Rhapsody inspired James Corden's Carpool Karaoke which in turn has inspired this couple of performers (he's a comedian, she appeared on America's Got Talent) to create a series of car-set lip sync vids.

With 120m views already, they're making money from that, but they are also add for their services as hireable entertainers.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

DIGITAL strings up boxset racket?

(Theory link: Simon Reynolds' Retromania)

'The Beatles or Radiohead can forever flog key works to consumers prepared to pay £100 for unheard sessions on picture-disc vinyl. Icons like Morrissey can keep on reissuing even the unlamented likes of Maladjusted as part of their bigger story, safe in the knowledge fans want to buy into that idea too. But digital closes the door on nostalgia as much as it mucks with the album as a format. Will the 2026 reissue of Solange’s A Seat at the Table meet with the same ripe whiff of remembrance from a generation who recall where they were the first time they opened Spotify and it was algorithmically recommended to them? If not, Our Love to Admire may be one of the last albums in history to make it to its 45th anniversary super-deluxe box set.'

The reissue racket: how many more ‘classic’ albums will be repackaged?

Friday, 21 July 2017

WOMEN still controlled by men, Instagram only space for genuine expression?

A good look here at how patronising patriarchy, an assumption that women are more pliable and will do as instructed, remains ingrained in the music biz, and an interesting side note on how being 'woke' (Katy bloody Perry's farcical attempt to show her socially conscious side leading to that garbling of language) is seen as important for branding and the opportunity to land marketing deals with brands.
A perhaps too uncritical, but useful, highlighting of Instagram especially as social media being the only space where female artists are permitted to freely express themselves - ignoring the product placement rife in these platforms and other forms of artifice.
Pop’s glass ceiling: why new female stars can’t break through

Thursday, 29 June 2017

VINYL new plant points to continuing growth

Records come round again: Sony to open vinyl factory in Japan

Saturday, 24 June 2017

GENRE 40 sub-genres of metal

An example I've used before, a useful one to highlight the need to take care in defining genre. Each of these 40 (and there are still others - no grunge here for example) have some distinctive features that a videomaker should be aware of.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Female gaze of Torres, Mitski and female directors

A quick note on the Torres video: mostly very dull, but 2 elements that might inspire some useful ideas
the David Lynch-like unsettling intermittent red lighting, and playing with darkness (possible Twin Peaks influence there)
the stoney-faced singer continuing to lipsynch with shower water flowing over her (wind effects have been used in other vids, anything like this adds visual interest and impact to a key convention, arguably bringing a postmodern deconstructionist approach in revealing, and revelling in, the absurdity of lipsynching). In practical terms it would be better to try and rig a shower head to a hose - or even point it out of a bathroom window if the external wall framing works (as bathroom framing would be very limited)
This is desire: Torres, Marika Hackman and the artists redefining the female gaze

Saturday, 10 June 2017

DIGITISATION labels aren't needed can do all from bedroom Run DMC say

Some strong language in this article, but coming in the week when Taylor Swift announced an end to her 3 year boycott of Spotify (to 'celebrate 10m album sales' for her latest...and undermine Katy Perry's album release), here's a great quote summing up digital disruption:

Run-DMC have about 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify, that’s not bad is it? (1)

That’s not bad – that’s really good! We still get our royalty. You do a deal now, the labels get ownership of this and that – but these days you don’t need a record company, you don’t need a lawyer, you don’t even need a studio. You can do it all in your f***ing bedroom.

Run-DMC's Darryl McDaniels: 'We lived sex, drugs and rock‘n‘roll – but never put it in our music'

Like to make music? Turn your tunes into an income stream

Thursday, 1 June 2017

MERCHANDISE death metal colouring book by Mastodon

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Marketing 2.0 Success stories of Indie and self-distributing acts

How to be a DIY pop star: lollipops, kung fu and other fail-safe strategies

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Amazon launches live gig arm, growing video demand

Amazon moves into UK live music starting with Blondie London gig

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Metallica FB livestream rehearsal + pop-up tour shops

Update: Katy b Perry went a manicured step further, livestreaming her fakery for 72 hours to promote her latest audio torture device (album): A weekend with Katy Perry's live stream: meditation, James Corden and a dog called Nugget

Slipknot tie up 1bn views with 360 video

Saturday, 15 April 2017

YOUTUBE payment row in figures

Music industry goes to war with YouTube

POMO Is originality impossible now?

This article focuses on legal cases, citing a number of musicologists as well as songwriters

Has pop finally run out of tunes?

Friday, 31 March 2017

KIDZ BOP Chart-topping teen YouTube channel

Razor sharp example of cutting to the audio (Uptown Funk vid), and exemplar of the continuing insight of the Uses and Gratifications theory

Kidz Bop: 'It's not for everybody'

HISTORY Landmark SFX timeline

Gimme Gimme Gimmicks: the innovations that changed music videos

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Muppets MASH-UP old school Bone Thugs

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

VINYL vote by Earache

Disappointing not to see Carcass on there, but my vote goes to Nocturnus' trailblazer The Key...

The latest twist in the analogue comeback, extreme metal label Earache are running a list of back catalogue albums - any that hit 500 pre-orders will be commissioned, burned and posted.

The audience as commissioner, the former audience...

Sunday, 12 March 2017

INDUSTRY Website only book Testament to diversification

A novel idea, the band book...

Thrash legends Testament (Burnt Offerings, Over the Wall, Souls of Black and many other classics that'll add a sonic boom to any day) are producing a band history which can only be ordered through their website, and comes with a personalised inscription.

Of course, there's a video from the lead singer, the venom vocalled Chuck Billy, to announce/flog the tome...

Thursday, 9 March 2017

TICKETS EXCLUSIVE through Spotify, e-zines and more

Korn blimey...

Fan club and VIP ticket packages for the upcoming tour will go on sale beginning March 7 at 10:00 a.m. local time at Korn.comCiti cardmembers presale begins that same day at noon local time. For complete Citi pre-sale details visit: Live Nation presale starts on March 8 at 10:00 a.m. local, followed by a Spotify presale beginning March 9 at 10:00 a.m. local and a BLABBERMOUTH.NET presale starting March 9 at 10:00 a.m. local. All presales end March 9 at 10:00 p.m. local timing. Remaining tickets for all dates will go on sale to the general public on March 10 at 10:00 a.m. local time at

SPOTIFY getting on a playlist key to profit

Also spotted a useful quote from Lily Allen on how it's difficult to make money from music - it's more about branding deals, endorsements.

Lily Allen: ‘We need to fight back against these forces’

A useful quote from a veteran UK Indie label boss:
If you get on the right Spotify playlist, it could pay for your album. My friend Ian who runs How Does It Feel to Be Loved has a band call Haiku Salut – they were on a Spotify playlist and it made them a load of money. It’s different from just sending a record to NME. There’s no longer one source that has that single power those magazine had. That’s possibly a good thing, but I feel sorry for a lot of music writers who are expected to provide content for free.

Since posting this I keep seeing more and more references to the same point, the power of the Spotify playlist - as I write (5.4.18) Spotify has just launched on the stock market leading to more analysis of its role, power and future. Like Amazon, its in a race against time to establish such a huge market lead that it has huge power over labels when striking deals over payments/royalties.

I spotted on Facebook that a Marillion/Fish fangroup (All the best freaks are here) had a thread about Fish (singer) pulling all his albums bar one (which he's touring next year) off Spotify, and someone mentioned a Fish Facebook blog I'd forgotten about - so here it is!


Sunday, 5 March 2017

PLAY ALONG VID No Obituary for vid variety yet

A useful reminder of the versatility of the music video format:

Death metal godfathers Obituary won a synergistic cross-promotion through Guitar World magazine (also a website of course), creating a split-screen video to enable fans to play along with the guitar on their new release. 

They are also booked on a branded tour which will benefit from a major push through the magazine, and offer the chance to attract new fans as the publication has a multi-genre readership. Moreover, it's a neat way for a 1980s band to attract younger fans, kids and teens starting out on developing guitar skills.

So, add this to the lyric video, unwrapping video, album preview/promo video, tour announcement or localised tour shout out, single shot, live performance, fan footage, interactive, 3D, virtual reality (VR), teaser, tie-ins with console games like Guitar Hero ...

It also gets Obituary further publicity through stories on popular e-zines such as MetalSucks.

Good tune to boot, even if not up to the standard of their early classics, Slowly We Rot and Cause of Death!

MERCHANDISING Soot 4 loot NIN style

Another example of the infinite possibilities that exist for merchandising, and a novel way of making the audience feel a connection to the artist

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

WEB 2.0 YouTube channel as label alternative SBTV

SBTV is a useful example of how new digital platforms are disrupting the established business practices of media industries:

When it came to underground artists, SBTV could play a crucial part in an artist’s trajectory. Instead of waiting to get signed by a label or for radio to create the hype, artists could put their freestyle on SBTV, get a manager and a million views on YouTube, then leverage that to get a record deal. In 2017 – with cases such as Stormzy or Boy Better Know – major label backing is no longer essential.

So, at first it gave a platform to underground artists who got zero airplay on mainstream radio, without which it has long been the case that commercial success is difficult to achieve.

Now, however, the revenue from YouTube views exceeds the likely income from record sales for such Indie artists as those featured on SBTV.

The channel itself, now with over 10,000 uploads (just take a moment to think about that - imagine doing 10,000 videos, vodcasts!!!), was also a pioneer of appointment viewing, a spin on linear TV's scheduling. Each week at 5pm subscribers would know a new episode in a series would be uploaded (regular podcasting applies the same strategy...).

10 years of SBTV: the YouTube channel that undercut the music industry

Thursday, 16 February 2017


Please take heed of the warning below - this post is about videos/music subjected to censorship, so view/read with caution and not with younger children in sight of your screen.
As I recently returned to this topic, I've added a few more examples below, and I'll develop this further when time permits, perhaps into an exam case study on the mediareg blog (where there are further resources on this). Use the censorship tag to find more on this blog.

Here's a fairly recent example that I've blogged on in detail over on the mediareg blog.

There are many interesting, highly readable books on the topic - I'll add details of some I've read as + when time permits, but you can find examples with a simple 'banned music' search (eg AmazonUK). I'll be reading Southall's book shortly - available on Kindle Unlimited if you're a subscriber.
Brian Southall’s history of the songs, performers, record covers BANNED by ‘the authorities’ includes the incredible facts behind stories such as…
Roger Daltrey trying to perfect Sonny Boy Williamson’s stuttering, Cliff Richard banning himself, the airbrushing out of Alice Cooper’s ‘penis’ on a record cover, and attempts by USA citizens to get Justin Bieber deported to his native Canada.

Did you know that Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus’ was the first single banned from UK’s Top of the Pops and that before that No.1 hit with Jane Birkin he’d completed an earlier version with Brigitte Bardot?
What was the real reason the Sex Pistols were prevented from topping the singles chart with ‘God Save The Queen’ in Silver Jubilee week 1977?
Why did a falling out between Terence Stamp and The Smiths create a collectors’ item in 1984?
Boycotted, banned and the subject of death threats – what exactly was The Dixie Chicks’ crime in 2003?

NB: we also discussed the economic context of the music industry: the concentration of ownership (one of Chomsky's five filters in his propaganda model; filters remove radical counter-hegemonic content before it can shape public discourse or opinion), or consolidation as free market apologists would prefer.

With such scale, the pressure from threats of boycott, often exerted through campaigners targeting advertisers who put ads on some other wing of a conglomerate, can be immense - advertiser power being another of Chomsky (and Herrmann's) propaganda model. Madonna lost a multi-million Pepsi sponsorship when she dared to depict a black Jesus in her Like a Prayer; Time-Warner famously pulled Ice-T's Cop Killer after facing high level political and police pressure, and threats from shareholders. Ice-T now claims the decision was his; he left the record label after the row over this - the Wiki is a short, informative read, but you can find further accounts easily.
When I started out, [Warner] never censored us. Everything we did, we had full control over. But what happened was when the cops moved on Body Count they issued pressure on the corporate division of Warner Bros., and that made the music division, they couldn't out-fight 'em in the battle, so even when you're in a business with somebody who might not wanna censor you, economically people can put restraints on 'em and cause 'em to be afraid. I learned that lesson in there, that you're never really safe as long as you're connected to any big corporation's money. [Wiki]

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Big Three Sony Universal Warners

In film its the big six (7 if you count Lionsgate); in the music industry, following a controversial 2012 $2bn takeover of EMI by Universal, its just the big three: Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. Sony and Universal also combine on the VEVO platform.

See: feature on the big 3; (the spin on this one is a bit odd - that the ENTIRE Indie industry beats any one of the big three individually);; this pdf.

Table from digitalmusicnews.
You can see how the industry has gone through dramatic 'disruption' from digitisation - but with little impact on the market share of the dominant conglomerates:
Source: p.11 of this report (pdf).

Saturday, 11 February 2017

UGC Depeche Mode fan takeover Facebook for a year

Another new twist in the web 2.0/UGC/convergence mode, this one reflecting the pattern that's seen lyric videos go from fan-made to official releases. The "former audience" indeed!

Headline story on Pitchfork - many more sites/e-zines followed suit
Depeche Mode, a huge selling act that comes high up concert revenue charts when they tour, have announced that fans can apply to be one of 365 who get to control their Facebook page for a day - a page with 7m followers.

This announcement has helped gain a lot of free, high-profile publicity.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Spotify chief most powerful figure in music industry

The big three are all represented alongside major management agencies and touring agents, but it's Spotify, seen as responsible for an unexpected rise in music industry revenues, with its 51% share of the US streaming market (a challenge here for Apple, who also feature in the top 10), that tops the pile according to industry magazine Billboard.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

MALE GAZE in video

I've blogged on this many times; just added a fresh look, using Guns n' Roses, Miley Cyrus and Avicii videos as examples, here.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

WEB 2.0 LYRIC VIDEO Bring Me The Horizon example

See also:
Are Coldplay and Justin Bieber's fan-made music videos just cheap marketing ploys?

The idea long predates the digital age: (I see 351studio, a specialist producer of lyric videos, also cite this!)

This is a topic I've blogged on previously, looking at Anthrax and Jane's Addiction examples. I quite likely haven't tagged additional posts that reference this phenomenon.

When creating your own simulacra of existing artists (typically but not always the case - Sunburnt in December being a fine example of a student group that professionally recorded their own band) you need to be closely examining how they, and the industry more generally, seeks to engage with audiences.

The lyric video is one such means. This emerged as and remains a popular form of UGC or fan-made video, but more recently many artists (or their record labels!) have been adding and heavily promoting their own lyric videos. The attraction is obvious - production costs are minimal; providing the lyrics can boost concert atmosphere; the official lyric video can help spark further UGC efforts, whilst pushing traffic to the official YT channel.

Here's a BMTH example, reflecting 1 of 2 common approaches: white text on a black background, though they have both animated the text (something you can do in FCPX using keyframing and/or Motion) and the band's logo (using 1 ore more still images as a backdrop - often the album cover - is the other common approach).

This simple video has been a useful revenue driver for the act/their label, with approaching 32m views as of Jan 2017:

Indeed, an interesting reflection on the nature of music video consumption in our converged age, the lyric video has x7 the views of the actual main promo vid!

The Wiki on the term focuses on music videos which put the lyrics on screen, a different concept to the overlaying of typed lyrics on (usually) still images, but notes that the lyric video often precedes the release of the main promo vid:
A lyric video is one in which the words to the song are the main element of the video. The music video for R.E.M.'s "Fall On Me" interspersed the song's lyrics with abstract film footage. In 1987, Prince released a video for his song "Sign o' the Times". The video featured the song's words pulsing to the music presented along with abstract geometric shapes; an effect created by Bill Konersman.[55][56]
In 1990 George Michael released "Praying For Time" as a lyric video. He had refused to make a traditional music video, so his label released a simple clip that displayed the song's lyrics on a black screen.[57]
A lyric video may be released separately by a music label prior to the more usual video featuring the artist. Cee Lo Green, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Muse, Blur, Ellie Goulding and Avenged Sevenfold among many others, have released lyric videos.[58]
There are even companies who specialise in producing lyric videos, such as 351 Studios:
Today’s digital age changes the way we promote new releases. These days, Lyric Video Production is part of the standard package when artists and labels release a new song. Each day we can see hundreds of new lyric videos on YouTube and other streaming services. There is big competition out there! Lyric Video Production actually dates back to 1965, in Bob Dylan’s release “Subterranean Homesick Blues” as an official music video. But now it’s a different story. It’s a new industry standard. There are also categories for best Lyric Videos in awards by multiple music networks.
Are you looking for a lyric video maker? 351 Studio is the best, most professional lyric video company. We are behind many major and independent artists and labels. With the best creative minds in the team, we can offer you unique, trendy, professional and industry-standard lyric videos for your songs, incorporating your style as an artist, your vibe, any graphics you may have, some video footage, and all animated with perfect dynamics to your song.