Music videos represent a crucial part of the music industry. Artists owe their careers to music videos as they are being given the chance of impressing the public not just with their vocal talent, but also with their looks or moves.
Thirty years ago, music video used to be less important then it is nowadays. MTV (Music Television) was the phenomenon that gave so much power and importance to the music video. MTV started broadcasting in 1981 in the USA and it marked the beginning of the music video’s ruling over the music industry. The first video ever played on MTV was ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ by The Buggles. As MTV was broadcasting 24-hour-a-day music, music videos were needed to be produced. Consequently, music video began to play an important role in artists’ careers. It is considered that even Madonna’s career has been greatly influenced by her videos that presented a sexy, appealing look of the artist. Some experts say that Madonna has been inspired by the image that the actress Greta Garbo has used in her silent movies. MTV has been highly controversial: some saw as the beginning of an amazing, new, fresh era in music, others considered it to mark the end of true musical talent, as artists have been become more appreciated for their looks instead of their vocal abilities.
Nowadays, the music video is as important as the song itself, sometimes even deciding the success of a song or artist. Collections of music videos are being sold on tapes or DVDs. Music video’s greatest fans are apparently watching them muted just to enjoy their artistic value, as they consider it to be a new form of art. They consider that a music video should be assessed based on its visual qualities and not on the song quality. It seems that the music ‘gurus’, corporate managers, have realised the potential of using female sex-appeal in music videos, therefore this feature is being used excessively as it is more popular for the public.
The birth of the music video has created a new type of directors: video directors. MTV started even listing directors with video credits and this profession has become more and more popular. But it seems that most video directors don’t specialise in this particular art form, they see it as being just a step on the way to directing a movie. Many start directing videos or commercials, hoping to get the recognition to build a name and to direct a movie. It seems that even video directors admit the fact that a music video is secondary to the song itself.
In conclusion, although music video’s fans have tried to elevate this form of entertainment to the title of an art form, the music video is eventually just a work of commerce, destined to sell a product: the song.