paper girl

Music video

A music video is a short film or video that accompanies a complete piece of music, most commonly a song with lyrics. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. Although the origins of music videos go back much further, they came into their own in the 1980s, when MTV's format was based around them. The term "music video" first came into popular usage in the early 1980s. Prior to then, such clips were described by various terms including "promotional films" or "promotional clips".

Music videos use a range of styles of filmmaking, including animation, live action filming, documentaries, and non-narrative approaches such as abstract film. Some music videos blend different styles, such as animation and live action.


Antecedents: 1910s-1950s

Musical short films were made by Lee De Forest in 1923-24, followed by thousands of Vitaphone shorts (1926-30), many featuring bands, vocalists and dancers. In the 1920s, the animated films of Oskar Fischinger (aptly labelled "visual music") were supplied with orchestral scores. Fischinger also made short animated films to advertise Electrola Records' new releases. In 1929 the Russian director Dziga Vertov made the 40-minute Man with the Movie Camera, an experiment on filming real, actual events, contrary to Georges Méliès theatrical approthe scene once again shifting to another expressionist scene, this time of workers toiling.

Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 film Alexander Nevsky, used extended scenes of battles choreographed to a score by Sergei Prokofiev, a score that had already been composed before shooting began, so that the scene could be edited in accordance with the music.

Animation artist Max Fleischer introduced a series of sing-along short cartoons called Screen Songs, which invited audiences to sing along to popular songs by "following the bouncing ball". Early 1930s cartoons featured popular musicians performing their hit songs on-camera in live-action segments during the cartoons.

The early animated films by Walt Disney, his Silly Symphonies, were built around music. The Warner Brothers cartoons, even today billed as Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, were initially fashioned around specific songs from upcoming Warner Brothers musical films. Live action musical shorts, featuring such popular performers as Cab Calloway, were also distributed to theatres.

Blues singer Bessie Smith appeared in a two-reel short film called St. Louis Blues (1929) featuring a dramatized performance of the hit song. It was shown in theatres until 1932. Numerous other musicians appeared in short musical subjects during this period. Later, in the mid-1940s, musician Louis Jordan made short films for his songs, some of which were spliced together into a feature film Lookout Sister; these films were, according to music historian Donald Clarke, the ancestors of music videos.

Another early form of music video were one-song films called "Promotional Clips" made in the 1940s for the Panoram visual jukebox. These were short films of musical selections, usually just a band on a movie-set bandstand, made for playing. Thousands of soundies were made, mostly of jazz musicians, but also of "torch singers," comedians, and dancers. Before the Soundie, even dramatic movies typically had a musical interval, but the Soundie made the music the star and virtually all the name jazz performers appeared in Soundie shorts. The Panoram jukebox with eight three-minute Soundies were popular in taverns and night spots, but the fad faded during World War II.


In 1956, Petrushka, directed by John David Wilson for Fine Arts Films aired as a segment of the Sol Hurok Music Hour on NBC. Igor Stravinsky conducted a live orchestra for the recording of the event. In 1957 Tony Bennett was filmed walking along The Serpentine in Hyde Park, London as his recording of "Stranger in Paradise" played; this film was distributed to and played by UK and US television stations. According to the Internet Accuracy Project, disk jockey-singer J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson was the first to coin the phrase "music video", in 1959.


In the late 1950s the Scopitone, a visual jukebox, was invented in France and short films were produced by many French artists, such as Serge Gainsbourg, Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc to accompany their songs. Its use spread to other countries and similar machines such as the Cinebox in Italy and Color-Sonic in the USA were patented. In 1961 Ozzie Nelson directed and edited the video of "Travelin' Man" by his son Ricky Nelson. It featured images of various parts of the world mentioned in the Jerry Fuller song along with Nelson's vocals. In 1964, Kenneth Anger's underground experimental short film Scorpio Rising used popular songs.

In Canada, for Singalong Jubilee, Manny Pittson began pre-recording the music audio, went on location and taped various visuals with the musicians lip-syncing, then edited the audio and video together later. Most music numbers were taped in studio on stage, and the location shoot "videos" were to add variety.

In 1964 The Beatles' first major motion picture, A Hard Day's Night, used filmed live action sequences accompanied by music. The US TV series The Monkees from 1966 to 1968 also consisted of film segments that were created to accompany various Monkees songs. In 1964, The Beatles began filming short promotional films for their songs which were distributed for broadcast on television variety shows in other countries, especially the US as a way to promote their record releases without having to make television appearances. (At the same time, The Byrds began using the same strategy to promote their singles in the United Kingdom, starting with the 1965 single "Set You Free This Time".)

By the time The Beatles stopped touring in late 1966 their promotional films, like their recordings, were becoming increasingly sophisticated. Their films for "Rain" and Paperback Writer" used rhythmic editing, slow motion, and reversed film effects. In 1966 the clip of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" filmed by D A Pennebaker shows Dylan standing still, holding up a series of cue cards featuring the song's lyrics in time to the music.

The Kinks made one of the first real "plot" promo clips for a song. For their single "Dead End Street" (1966) a miniature comic movie was made, where members of Kinks acted like undertakers in old London streets. The clip also shows photo stills from Great Depression, uprising dead man and Ray Davies playing an old woman. No lip-sync but clip was edited according to phases of song. The promo clip was banned in BBC because of "poor taste".

Another plot clip was made for The Who's "Happy Jack" in the same year. In the little movie the band is acting like a gang of idiotic thieves robbing an apartment. They can't resist eating a cake and this leads to a cream-pie battle with a cop. There is no lip-sync in this clip either.

Many of these 'song films' were produced by UK artists to be shown on TV when they were not available to appear live. Pink Floyd were also pioneers in producing promotional films, like their Scarecrow. The Beatles' films for "Strawberry Fields Forever" (directed by Peter Goldmann) and "Penny Lane", in 1967 used techniques borrowed from underground and avant garde film, such as reversed film effects, dramatic lighting, unusual camera angles, and color filtering added in post-production. These psychedelic music-themed films attempt to "illustrate" the song in an artful manner.

Procol Harum made two promos for their 1967 hit "A Whiter Shade of Pale". First, the better known shows band members (the line-up which recorded the song) walking in the ruins, then band performing song onstage and documentary footages of Vietnam war. Second, more obscure and psychedelic, shows whole band (the classic Procol Harum line-up) running towards camera, then grotesque close-up of Gary Brooker badly lip-syncing the song and several surrealistic footages of band acting and standing by a church. Other frames show band in London crowded streets, Brooker standing somewhere in Picadilly Circus etc.

The Troggs made a monochrome clip for their 1967/68 hit "Love Is All Around", showing singer Reg Presley`s love affair with a girl in the train where the band is traveling. Clip includes some concert scenes, also several close-ups, a mess silver paper, girl's nude back covered with ornaments, flowers in compartment and other psychedelic elements.

The Doors had a strong interest in film, since both lead singer Jim Morrison and keyboard player Ray Manzarek had studied film at UCLA. The clip for their debut single "Break On Through" is a filmed performance that uses atmospheric lighting, camera work and editing. The 1968 anti-war single "The Unknown Soldier", depicts a mock execution by firing squad with extensive intercutting of archival footage and TV footage of the carnage of the Vietnam War.

The Rolling Stones appeared in promotional clips for songs such as "We Love You" (which made reference to the persecution of Oscar Wilde), "2000 Light Years From Home", "Child of the Moon" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and collaborated with Jean-Luc Godard on the film Sympathy for the Devil. The popularity of the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine prompted The Byrds and The Beach Boys to also make promotional films.

Leonard Nimoy's notorious The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins (1968) is also an example of an early music video. So are two videos of Lou Christie for "I'm Gonna Make You Mine" in 1969.

The Carpenters made a promo clip of their cover of the Beatles hit Ticket to Ride. They would also go on to make other videos in the 70s.

After 1969 the independent music movie clips came out of fashion with psychedelic music and style. In late 60s and early 70s bands preferred performing in TV shows which themselves became visually more attractive. Some of them released straight documentaries like The Beatles "Let It Be" or Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter".


On the The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, director Chris Bearde enlisted animator John David Wilson to direct animated segments of current hits of the day reinterpreted by the duo. Songs included Coven's "One Tin Soldier", Three Dog Night's "Black and White" and Melanie's "Brand New Key". Wilson later went on to self-produce many more animated videos for artists such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Jim Croce.

The promotional clip continued to grow in importance, with television programs such as The Midnight Special and Don Kirshner's Rock Concert mixing concert footage with clips incorporating camera tricks, special effects, and dramatizations of song lyrics. The film of the Woodstock Festival, and the various concert films that were made during the early 1970s, such as Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen and Pink Floyd's Live at Pompeii concert film used rhythmic cross-cutting.

In 1971, avant-garde group The Residents began filming what was supposed to be the first feature length music video "Vileness Fats", however the group abandoned the project in 1976. Instead, in 1976 the group would release a video entitled "The Third Reich N Roll"

Many countries with local pop music industries soon copied the trend towards promo film clips. In Australia promotional films by Australian pop performers were being made on a regular basis by 1966; among the earliest known are clips by Australian groups The Masters Apprentices and The Loved Ones. Surf film makers such as Bruce Brown, George Greenough and Alby Falzon combined images and music. Nicolas Roeg's 1970 cult film Performance contains a sequence in which star of the film Mick Jagger did a rendition of "Memo From Turner" combined with a psychedelic collage.

George Greenough's 1972 film Crystal Voyager included a sequence (filmed by Greenough) that was constructed around the extended Pink Floyd track "Echoes". In the early 1970s, Australian musician and filmmaker Chris Lofven made monochrome promotional films. David Bowie's promotional clip for the song The Jean Genie, which was released as single in 1972 at was directed by photographer Mick Rock. The Swedish music group, ABBA, used promotional films throughout the 1970s to promote themselves.

In 1975 the band Queen ordered Bruce Gowers to make promo video for their new single "Bohemian Rhapsody" to show it in Top Of The Pops.


Two key innovations in the development of the modern music video were the development of relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use video recording and editing equipment, and the development of a number of related effects such as chroma-key. The advent of high-quality color videotape recorders and portable video cameras coincided with the DIY ethos of the New Wave era, enabling many pop acts to produce promotional videos quickly and cheaply, in comparison to the relatively high costs of using film. However, as the genre developed, music video directors increasingly turned to 35 mm film as the preferred medium, while others mixed film and video.

By the mid-1980s releasing a music video to accompany a new single had become customary, and acts such as The Jacksons sought to gain a commercial edge by creating lavish music videos with million dollar budgets; most notable with the video for "Can You Feel It". Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" also started a new era for creating promotional clips on video tape rather than on film. Among the first music videos were clips produced by ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith who started making short musical films for Saturday Night Live. In 1981, he released Elephant Parts, the first video album and first winner of a Grammy for music video, directed by William Dear. A further experiment on NBC television called Television Parts was not successful, due to network meddling (notably an intrusive laugh track and corny gags).

The early self-produced music videos by Devo, including the pioneering compilation "The Truth About Devolution", directed by Chuck Statler, were also important (if somewhat subversive) developments in the evolution of the genre and these Devo video cassette releases were arguably among the first true long-form video productions. Video Concert Hall, created by Jerry Crowe and Charles Henderson, was the first nationwide video music programming on American television, predating MTV by almost three years. The USA Cable Network program Night Flight was one of the first American programs to showcase these videos as an art form. Premiering in June 1981, Night Flight predated MTV's launch by two months.

Two feature-length films released on the cusp of MTV's first appearance on the dial contributed enormously to the development of the form. The first was 1981's Shock Treatment, a pseudo-sequel/spinoff of The Rocky Horror Picture Show principally written and scored by RHPS creator Richard O'Brien. The film broke stylistic ground by being more focused and less visually ambitious – and thus easier to emulate on a tight budget – than either RHPS or Ken Russel's chaotic 1975 adaptation of The Who's music and storyline from the album Tommy, or even a lower-budget affair like The Ramones' Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979).

Pink Floyd The Wall transformed the group's 1979 concept double-LP of the same title into a confrontational and apocalyptic audio-visual labyrinth of stylized, expressionistic images, sounds, melodies and lyrics. In 1980, New Zealand group Split Enz had major success with the single "I Got You" and the album True Colours, and later that year they joined Blondie in becoming one of the first bands in the world to produce a complete set of promo clips for each song on the album (directed by their percussionist, Noel Crombie) and to market these on video cassette. This was followed a year later by the first American video album, The Completion Backwards Principle, directed by Michael Cotten of The Tubes.

During the 1980s promotional videos became pretty much de rigueur for most recording artists, a rise which was famously parodied by UK BBC television comedy program Not The Nine O'Clock News who produced a spoof music video; "Nice Video, Shame About The Song". Frank Zappa also parodied the excesses of the genre in his satirical song "Be In My Video".

In the early to mid 1980s, artists started to use more sophisticated effects in their videos, and added a storyline or plot to the music video. A non-representational music video is one in which the musical artist is never shown. Because music videos are mainly intended to promote the artist, such videos are rare; two early 1980s examples, however, are Bruce Springsteen's Atlantic City directed by Arnold Levine and David Mallet's video for David Bowie/Queen's Under Pressure.

Billboard credits the independently-produced Video Concert Hall as being the first with nationwide video music programming on American television.

1981: MTV

In 1981, the U.S. video channel MTV launched, airing "Video Killed the Radio Star" and beginning an era of 24-hour-a-day music on television. With this new outlet for material, the music video would, by the mid-1980s, grow to play a central role in popular music marketing. Many important acts of this period, most notably Adam & the Ants, Madonna and Mylène Farmer, owed a great deal of their success to the skillful construction and seductive appeal of their videos. Some academics have compared music video to silent film, and it is suggested that stars like Madonna have (often quite deliberately) constructed an image that in many ways echoes the image of the great stars of the silent era such as Greta Garbo. But the music video which would arguably make the biggest impact on the music video industry was the music video for Michael Jackson's song "Thriller. It would become the most influential and successful video ever.

In 1986, Peter Gabriel's song "Sledgehammer" used special effects and animation techniques developed by British studio Aardman Animation. The video for Sledgehammer would go on to be a phenomenal success and win nine MTV Video Music Awards. steff steff steff

Influential TV shows

Top of the Pops

In the UK the importance of Top of the Pops to promote a single created an environment of innovation and competition amongst bands and record labels as the show's producers placed strict limits on the number of videos it would use. Therefore a good video would increase a song's sales as viewers hoped to see it again the following week. David Bowie scored his first UK number one in nearly a decade thanks to director David Mallet's eye catching promo for "Ashes to Ashes". Another act to succeed from this tactic was Madness, who shot on 16 mm and 35 mm short micro-comedic films.

Top of the Pops was censorous in its approach to video content, so another method was for an act to produce a promo that would be banned or edited. It would then use the resulting public controversy to promote the release. Early examples of this tactic were Duran Duran's "Girls on Film" and Frankie Goes to Hollywood with "Relax", directed by Bernard Rose.

The Chart Show

Another important development in music videos was the launch of The Chart Show on the UK's Channel 4 in 1986. This was a program which consisted entirely of music videos (the only outlet many videos had on British TV at the time), without presenters. Instead, the videos were linked by then state of the art computer graphics. The show moved to ITV in 1989, and was axed in 1998. By this time the program's use had largely been supplanted by satellite and cable music channels with increasing numbers of people having access to such channels, and the launch of Digital Television occurring around the same time (Ironically, digital television would lead to the rebirth of The Chart Show in 2002 as a digital music channel, Chart Show TV).


Although little acknowledged outside Australia, it is arguable that the 1970s–1980s Australian TV pop show Countdown — and to a lesser extent its commercial competitors Sounds and Nightmoves — were important precursors to MTV.

Countdown, which was based on Top of the Pops, was successful in Australia and other countries quickly followed the format. At its highpoint during most of the 1980s it was to be aired in 22 countries including TV Europe. In 1978 the Dutch TV-broadcasting company Veronica started its own version of Countdown, which during the 1980s featured Adam Curry as its best known presenter. The program gained international significance in the recording industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Produced on a shoestring by the government-owned ABC national TV network, its low budget, and Australia's distance proved to be influential factors in the show's early preference for music video. The relative rarity of visits by international artists to Australia and the availability of high-quality, free promotional films meant that Countdown soon came to rely heavily on music videos in order to feature such performers.

The show's talent coordinator, Ian "Molly" Meldrum, and his producers realized that these music videos were becoming an important new commodity in music marketing. For the first time, pre-produced music videos gave TV the opportunity to present pop music in a format that rivaled or even exceeded the impact of radio airplay, and it was soon apparent that Countdown could single-handedly break new pop acts and new songs by established artists — a role that up until then been the exclusive preserve of radio.

Although Countdown continued to rely heavily on studio appearances by local and visiting acts, competing shows like Sounds lacked the resources to present regular studio performances, so they were soon using music videos almost exclusively. As the 1980s progressed, the ability to use music videos to give bands the best possible presentation saw record companies making more, and more lavish, promotional videos.

Realising the potential of music video, Countdown negotiated a controversial deal with local record labels, giving them first refusal and a period of exclusive use for any new video that came into the country, and with its nationwide reach and huge audience, the show was able to use music videos to break a number of important new local and overseas acts, notably ABBA, Queen, Meat Loaf, Blondie, Devo, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. This early success in Australia in turn enabled these acts to gain airplay and TV exposure and score breakthrough hits in their home countries.

Directors and creative rights

Since December 1992, when MTV began listing directors with the artist and song credits, music videos have increasingly become an auteur's medium. Few if any filmmakers train specifically to make music videos, and very few can afford to make them exclusively. Most split their time between videos and other film projects. Music video directors - who generally conceive, write, and direct their videos - currently receive no authorship, creative rights, profit participation or residual income from DVDs, iTunes, and other new media on which their work may appear.

However, those features of the industry that tend to make music video direction a less-than-lucrative profession, have also made the medium an exciting art-form, one defined by the cross-pollination of ideas and approaches from various disciplines. Music video directors, like most filmmakers in general, emerge from disparate backgrounds, and don't share much in the way of common thinking or set-in-stone pedagogy, bringing to the field a diversity of experience.


As the concept and medium of a music video is a form of artistic expression, artists have been on many occasions censored if their content is deemed offensive. What may be considered offensive will differ in countries due to censorship laws and local customs and ethics. In most cases, the record label will provide and distribute videos edited or provide both censored and uncensored videos for an artist. In some cases, it has been known for music videos to be banned in their entirety as they have been deemed far too offensive to be broadcast.

The first video to be rejected by Music Television was "Girls on Film" by Duran Duran in 1981 because it contained full frontal nudity. It was also rejected by the BBC. In 1989, Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" video (where the singer performs the song in an extremely revealing body suit surrounded by a ship full of cheering sailors) was restricted to late-night broadcasts on MTV. Another notable incident was in 1982, when Captain Beefheart's sole music video, "Ice Cream For Crow" was rejected by MTV for being "too weird".

In 1983, Entertainment Tonight ran a segment on censorship and "Rock Video Violence. The episode explored the impact of MTV rock video violence on the youth of the early 1980s. Excerpts from the music videos of Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Kiss, Kansas, Billy Idol, Def Leppard, Pat Benatar and the Rolling Stones were shown. Dr. Thomas Radecki of the National Coalition on TV Violence was interviewed accusing the fledgling rock video business of excessive violence. Night Tracks producer Tom Lynch weighed in on the effects of the video violence controversy. Recording artists John Cougar Mellencamp, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss, along with directors Dominic Orlando and Julien Temple, provided a defense of their work. The episode's conclusion was that the controversy will continue to grow.

In 1991 the dance segment of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" was cut because it showed Michael Jackson "inappropriately" touching himself in it. Michael Jackson's most controversial video, "They Don't Care About Us" was banned from MTV, VH1, and BBC because of the alleged anti-Semitic message in the song and the visuals in the background of the "Prison Version" of the video.

Madonna is the artist most associated with music video censorship. The controversy surrounding her marketing of sexuality began with the video for "Lucky Star", and amplified over time due to clips such as "Like a Virgin". Outcry occurred over the subject matter discussed in "Papa Don't Preach", although the video is tastefully done. "Like a Prayer" courted heavy criticism due to its religious, sexual, and racially-oriented imagery.

In 1990, Madonna's music video for the song "Justify My Love" was banned by MTV due to its depiction of sadomasochism, homosexuality, cross-dressing, and group sex which generated a media firestorm. The debate over the banning of "Justify My Love" by the Canadian music video network MuchMusic led to the launching in 1991 of Too Much 4 Much, a series of occasional, late-night specials (still being aired in the early 2000s) in which videos officially banned by MuchMusic were broadcast, followed by panel discussion regarding why they were removed.

Madonna's video for "Erotica" was aired only three times (each time after midnight) due to its sexual depictions of sadomasochism. More recently, Madonna's "What It Feels Like for a Girl" was banned in 2001 due to its graphic depiction of violence. She also pulled her "American Life" video because of its controversial military imagery that seemed inappropriate once the War in Iraq began; subsequently, a new video was made for the song.

Prodigy's video for "Smack My Bitch Up" was banned in some countries due to depictions of drug use and nudity. The Prodigy's video for "Firestarter" was banned by the BBC because of its references to arson. Thursday's video for "War All the Time" was banned by MTV because of its supposedly controversial nature.

As of 2005, the Egyptian state censorship committee has banned at least 20 music videos which featured sexual connotations due to Muslim moral viewpoints. The Sex Pistols' video for "God Save the Queen" was banned by the BBC for calling the United Kingdom a fascist regime. In 2004, many family groups and politicians lobbied for the banning of the Eric Prydz video "Call on Me" for containing women dancing in an sexually suggestive way, however, the video was not banned. At some point in the past, the video for "(s)AINT" by Marilyn Manson was banned by that artist's label due to its violence and sexual content. In 2008, Justice's video for their song Stress was boycotted by several major music television channels due to allegations of racism and violence; the video depicts several youths committing various crimes throughout the streets of Paris, with the youths mainly being of North African and Algerian descent.


The earliest purveyors of music videos on the internet were members of IRC-based groups, who recorded them as they appeared on television, then digitised them, exchanging the .mpg files via IRC channels. As broadband Internet access has become available more widely, various initiatives have been made to capitalise on the continued interest in music videos. MTV itself now provides streams of artists' music videos, while AOL's recently launched AOL Music features a vast collection of advertising supported streaming videos. The internet has become the primary growth income market for Record Company produced music videos. At its launch, Apple's iTunes Store provided a section of free music videos in high quality compression to be watched via the iTunes application. More recently the iTunes Store has begun selling music videos for use on Apple's iPod with video playback capability.

Another new phenomenon, deriving from the popularity of blogging, is the use of so-called music video "codes", lines of HTML code including links to music videos that the individual can simply copy and paste into their blog in order to feature a given video streaming on it. YouTube, Google Video, IFilm and MySpace have become primary venues for viewing videos.

In 2007 the RIAA issued cease-and-desist letters to YouTube users to prevent single users from sharing videos, which are the property of the music labels. After its merger with Google, YouTube assured the RIAA that they would find a way to pay royalties through a bulk agreement with the major record labels. This was complicated by the fact that not all labels share the same policy toward music videos. Some welcome the development and upload music videos to various online outlets themselves, viewing the music videos as free advertising for their catalog artists. Other labels view music videos not as an advertisement, but as the product itself.

Unofficial music videos

Unofficial, fan-made music videos ("bootleg" tapes) are typically made by synchronizing existing footage from other sources, such as television series or movies, with the song. The first known fan video, or songvid, was created by Kandy Fong in 1975 using still images from Star Trek loaded into a slide carousel and played in conjunction with a song. Fan videos made using videocassette recorders soon followed. With the advent of easy distribution over the internet and cheap video-editing software, fan-created videos began to gain wider notice in the late 1990s.

Such videos are sometimes known as OPV, Original Promotional Videos (or sometimes Other People's Videos). In the case of anime music videos, the source material is drawn from Japanese anime or from American animation series. Since neither the music nor the film footage is typically licensed, distributing these videos is usually copyright infringement on both counts. Singular examples of unofficial videos include one made for Danger Mouse's illegal mash-up of the Jay-Z track "Encore" with music sampled from The Beatles' White Album, in which concert footage of The Beatles is remixed with footage of Jay-Z and rap dancers, as well as a recent politically charged video by Franklin Lopez of subMedia, cut from television footage of the Katrina aftermath, set to an unofficial remix of Kanye West's "Gold Digger", inspired by the rap-artist's comment "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Fans gave P!nk an unofficial music video for the song "Dear Mr. President" (in which she criticizes George W. Bush's administration), since she stated that will not be released as an official single from her I'm Not Dead album.

In 2007 a new form of lip sync-based music video called lip dub became popular in which a group of people are filmed lip singing in a seemingly random spot then dubbing over it in post editing with the original audio of the song. These videos have the feeling of being spontaneous and authentic and are spread virally through mass participatory video sites like YouTube.


  • 1941: A new invention hits clubs and bars in the USA: The Panoram Soundie is a jukebox that plays short videoclips along with the music.
  • 1956: Hollywood discovers the genre of music-centered films. A wave of rock'n'roll films begins (Rock Around the Clock, Don't Knock the Rock, Shake, Rattle and Rock, Rock Pretty Baby, The Girl Can't Help It, and the famous Elvis Presley movies). Some of these films integrate musical performances into a story, others are simply revues.
  • 1960: In France a re-invention of the Soundie, the Scopitone, gains limited success.
  • 1961: Ricky Nelson's Travelin' Man video is shown on television.
  • 1962: British Television invents a new form of music television. Shows like Top Of The Pops, Ready! Steady! Go! and Oh, Boy start as band vehicles and become huge hits.
  • 1964: The US-Television market adapts the format. Hullabaloo is one of the first US shows of this kind, followed by Shindig! (NBC) and American Bandstand; The Beatles star in A Hard Day's Night
  • 1965: Bob Dylan films Subterranean Homesick Blues as a segment for D. A. Pennebaker's film, Dont Look Back, with two alternate takes.
  • 1966: The first conceptual promos are aired, for the Beatles' "Paperback Writer" and "Rain". Early in 1967, even more ambitious videos are released for "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever".
  • 1968: The Rolling Stones collaborate with Jean-Luc Godard on Sympathy for the Devil
  • 1970: The record industry discovers these TV-Shows as a great opportunity to promote their artists. They focus on producing short "Promos", early music videos which started to replace the live performance of the artist on the TV-stage. Also, the Atlanta-produced Now Explosion starts a 26-week run in syndication.
  • 1973: The first of forty-six different Schoolhouse Rock music videos begin airing during Saturday morning cartoons on ABC.
  • 1974: ABBA pioneer the use of "Promos" with their clips, directed by Lasse Hallström. These contain innovative effects, camera angles, and a less static look than is the norm at the time. The band continue using such videos throughout the 1970s.
  • 1975: "Bohemian Rhapsody", a groundbreaking video released by Queen, marks the beginning of the video era and sets the language for the modern music video. The video is considered one of the first to use advanced visual effects.
  • 1979: Devo releases "The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprise", which is the first music video to include computer animation, as well as traditional animation.
    • Another 1979 video with computer animation is "Computer Games", by New Zealand band MiSex.
  • 1980: "Ashes to Ashes", considered a groundbreaking video, is released by David Bowie.
  • 1981: MTV, the first 24-hour satellite music channel, launches in August. Initially few cable TV operators carry it, but it rapidly becomes a major hit and cultural icon.
    • "Shock Treatment" is released in theatres.
  • 1981: Michael Nesmith wins the first ever music video Grammy, for Elephant Parts.
  • 1982: Pink Floyd The Wall is released in theatres.
  • 1983: Night Tracks debuts on Superstation WTBS (later known as TBS) with up to 14 hours of music videos each weekend by 1985. This allows nearly all U.S. households with Cable TV to view music videos regularly, as MTV still isn't widely available at this point in time compared to WTBS.
  • 1983: Friday Night Videos debuts on the NBC television network, allowing nearly all U.S. households to view music videos regularly. Michael Jackson's Billie Jean video is released on TV, and for the first time a black artist's video is featured in heavy rotation on MTV with the video for his Beat It hit single.
  • 1984: Laura Branigan's video for her hit song "Self Control" is refused airplay by MTV, who demand certain cuts be made to remove content they find objectionable.
  • 1984: Prince releases the movie Purple Rain, and its soundtrack is nominated for an Oscar. The soundtrack album sells 15 million copies.
  • 1984: Michael Jackson's short film Thriller is released, changing the concept of music videos forever. The Making of Thriller home video is also released in 1984. It is the first ever video about the making of a music video and it becomes the best selling VHS to date.
  • 1984:Van Halen's 1984 album comes out with famous video hit like "Hot For Teacher" , "Jump" , and "Panama"
  • 1985: a-ha find instant stardom with their hit song "Take On Me", significantly due to heavy rotation play of the song's video, which features a combination of live action and rotoscoping animation. The groundbreaking video wins several awards and is consistently rated as one of the best for decades to come.
  • 1985: Madonna's video for her hit single "Material Girl" is released. It is largely based on Marilyn Monroe's performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes A huge storm of interest explodes for the video. The video is considered one of the most memorable and always comes up in "The Best Videos" lists.
  • 1986: "Sledgehammer", the groundbreaking video from Peter Gabriel, furthers the revival of animation in music video, utilizing stop-motion photography and winning several awards.
  • 1989: MTV renames its "Video Vanguard Award" the "Michael Jackson Vanguard Award" in honor of the pop star's contributions to the art of music video.
  • 1989: Madonna's controversial video for "Like a Prayer" is released.
  • 1990: MTV bans Madonna's Justify My Love video. It is released as a video single, the first of its kind.
  • 1991: Nirvana release the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, catapulting Kurt Cobain - and the grunge genre - into the American and Worldwide mainstream.
    • First use of the now-familiar morphing special effect in a music video, with Michael Jackson's "Black or White" (directed by John Landis), from his album Dangerous.
  • 1992: MTV begins to credit music video directors.
  • 1995: Release of the most expensive music video ever "Scream", from Michael Jackson's HIStory album, a duet with his sister Janet.
  • 1995: TLC's video for their hit song Waterfalls becomes a groundbreaking video for Girl groups and received massive airplay on MTV.
  • 1996: Pop-up Video is first aired on VH1.
  • 1996: Smashing Pumpkins releases the video for their song Tonight, Tonight, based upon Georges Méliès's A Trip to the Moon. This video was one of the first to be based upon an early film.
  • 1996: M2 is launched as a 24-hour music video channel, as MTV has largely replaced videos with other content.
  • 1999: M2 is renamed to MTV2.
    • Making the Video, a series chronicling the production of a music video, premieres on MTV.
  • 2001: Bjork releases the video for Pagan Poetry which was controversial for its depictions of sexual acts and body piercings.
  • 2002: MTV Hits is launched, as MTV2 is gradually showing fewer music videos (now virtually non-existent on MTV).
  • 2005: Grandaddy fan Stewart Smith releases unofficial "Jed's Other Poem" music video online along with the source code that created it. It is the first open source music video and is later sanctioned by Grandaddy's label, V2 Records.
  • 2007: Musicbox (URL: is launched by Sony BMG. This online portal signifies the first free streaming effort owned and operated by a major label.
  • 2008: The first 3D video ever is made by Dave Meyers and Missy Elliott for her single Ching-a-Ling / Bjork also makes one for Wanderlust.

Music video stations

Here are some of the most popular music video stations from around the world:

Music video shows

See also



  • Banks, Jack (1996) Monopoly Television: Mtv's Quest to Control the Music Westview Press ISBN 0-8133-1820-3
  • Clarke, Donald (1995) The Rise and Fall of Popular Music St. Martin's Pressy ISBN 0-312-11573-3
  • Denisoff, R. Serge (1991) Inside MTV New Brunswick: Transaction publishers ISBN 0-88738-864-7
  • Durant, Alan (1984). Cited in Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-15275-9.
  • Frith, Simon, Andrew Goodwin & Lawrence Grossberg (1993) Sound & Vision. The music video reader London: Routledge ISBN 0-415-09431-3
  • Goodwin, Andrew (1992) Dancing in the Distraction Factory : Music Television and Popular Culture University of Minnesota Press ISBN 0-8166-2063-6
  • Kaplan, E. Ann (1987) Rocking Around the Clock. Music Television, Postmodernism, and Consumer Culture London & New York: Routledge ISBN 0-415-03005-6
  • Kleiler, David (1997) You Stand There: Making Music Video Three Rivers Press ISBN 0-609-80036-1
  • Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-15275-9.
  • Shore, Michael (1984) The Rolling Stone book of rock video New York: Quill ISBN 0-688-03916-2
  • G.Turner, Video Clips and Popular Music, in Australian Journal of Cultural Studies 1/1,1983, 107-110
  • Vernallis, Carol (2004) Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics and Cultural Context Columbia University Press ISBN 0-231-11798-1
  • Altrogge, Michael: Tönende Bilder: interdisziplinäre Studie zu Musik und Bildern in Videoclips und ihrer Bedeutung für Jugendliche. Band 1: Das Feld und die Theorie. Berlin: Vistas 2001
  • Altrogge, Michael: Tönende Bilder. Das Material: Die Musikvideos. Bd 2. Berlin: Vistas 2001
  • Altrogge, Michael: Tönende Bilder: interdisziplinäre Studie zu Musik und Bildern in Videoclips und ihrer Bedeutung für Jugendliche. Band 3: Die Rezeption: Strukturen der Wahrnehmung. Berlin: Vistas 2001
  • Bühler, Gerhard (2002): Postmoderne auf dem Bildschirm – auf der Leinwand. Musikvideos, Werbespots und David Lynchs WILD AT HEART
  • C.Hausheer/A.Schönholzer (Hrsg.), Visueller Sound. Musikvideos zwischen Avantgarde und Populärkultur, Luzern 1994
  • Helms, Dietrich; Thomas Phleps (Hrsg.): Clipped Differences. Geschlechterrepräsentation im Musikvideo. Bielefeld: Transcript 2003
  • Keazor, Henry / Wübbena, Thorsten: Video Thrills The Radio Star. Musikvideos: Geschichte, Themen, Analysen. Bielefeld: 2007 (Revised Edition), ISBN 3-899-42728-9
  • Kirsch, Arlett: Musik im Fernsehen. Eine auditive Darstellungsform in einem audiovisuellen Medium. Berlin: Wiku 2002
  • Kurp, Matthias / Huschild, Claudia & Wiese, Klemens (2002): Musikfernsehen in Deutschland. Politische, soziologische und medienökonomische Aspekte
  • Neumann-Braun, Klaus / Schmidt, Axel / Mai, Manfred (2003): Popvisionen. Links in die Zukunft
  • Neumann-Braun, Klaus / Mikos, Lothar: Videoclips und Musikfernsehen. Eine problemorientierte Kommentierung der aktuellen Forschungsliteratur; Berlin: Vistas 2006
  • Quandt, Thorsten (1997). Musikvideos im Alltag Jugendlicher. Umfeldanalyse und qualitative Rezeptionsstudie. Deutscher Universitätsverlag

External links

  • mvdbase Music video database
  • ClobberX The Thump is Here
  • Famous Music Videos Database - YouTube, Google Video, MySpace TV, MetaCafe, DailyMotion, Veoh,,,, and EyeSpot.
  • Music on Television A brief history of Music Videos
  • Movideo View high quality Music Videos
  • A wiki Dedicated to Music Videos
  • muvikon08 website of the international conference "Rewind, Play, Fast Forward?": The Past, Present and Future of the Music Video, Germany: Frankfurt/M., 24.–26.10.2008
  • wildscreen - music, theatre, dance, art and creative shortfilm

Search another word or see paper girlon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature