What is a music video?

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What is a music video?

A music video is a short film, which is produced to advertise and give the artist more publicity Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings.The purpose of a music video is to sell the song and the band; it helps the song be more memorable, it also gives the audience a better understanding of the song and the message they are trying to portray.


Modern music video are made to be used as a marketing device intended to promote the sales, these are referred to as ‘promos’

MTV: Music Television

MTV's main targets demographic were young adults, but today, MTV's programming is primarily targeted at adolescents and teenagers. With this opportunity to promote their music bands started to use more advanced effects and added a storyline to the videos to keep audiences interested.

Top of the pops- Uk

Each weekly program consisted of performances from some of that week's best-selling popular music artists, with a rundown of that week's singles chart. This helped the artist promote their music and gives a chance for people to see them perform and broadcast their music to a wider audience.

1980’s – Madonna-

In the 1980s music videos became the central role in marketing for a artist. Madonna created a more seductive and sexual appeal in her videos, like in her video ‘human nature’. It is a very seductive video and she uses this to represent her star image and star power.


Music videos also generate extra income for the artist as companies will pay for their products to be placed in it, like in rap videos when they refer to expensive brands of clothes and feature certain types of cars like Bentley’s and Lamborghini’s. Also they can receive extra income to advertise other artists and actors they may use in the video. Another way a video can generate income is the artist will receive money every time it’s played on music channels, radio and digital radio. The videos can also be nominated for awards and make extra money that way, they also gather


Where two areas of media work together to create a more successful production. Like releasing a song that will feature in a film. It helps promote the film but also the artist because of their song being featured. It is also a way for the artist to generate an income and make money from it. Simple Minds- Don’t You- The breakfast club – the music video takes place on a dancing floor in a dark room with a chandelier, a rocking horse and television sets, displaying scenes from The Breakfast Club.

Advantages - having an accompanying video means the song will also be played on sites such as YouTube, as well as music television. Also, companies are aware that many consumers are more likely to share a video than an audio file, to talk about a video, and spread the song’s influence by word of mouth. It helps the audience feel more connected to the artist and they are able to relate to them more.

Disadvantages- if the music video is produced badly they that could have a negative effect on how popular the song will be. Also if the song is linked to a film or other media productions, which are not popular, then the song will be a laughing stock as well, damaging sales and revenue for both record label and film company. An artist can also gain a reputation for the wrong thing if a music video is badly advised or directed, for example, a video heavy with sexual innuendo can be very hit-or-miss for an artist who hasn’t done anything similar before. The artist’s personal life can come under attack, as the fantasy sexual imagery in the music video will get warped into reality by other sectors of the media

Record labels:

Used to be 4 major record labels, Universal Music Group, Sam Smith and Katy Perry, Sony Music Entertainment, Calvin harris and One Direction, Warner Music Group, Ed Sheeran and Green Day and EMI Group (EMI). However now there are only 3 as Universal and Warner have bought EMI.

Then there are Indie labels; these are labels that are independent to the 3 major ones. But this doesn’t mean that the artists are any less popular. XL- Adele

Major label Advantages: major labels have a lot of money so they are able to create more opportunities for the artist, like tours and better video shoots. They have better connections, money helps open doors therefore they can link you to better things within the music industry.

Major label Disadvantages: major labels tend to sign a lot of different artists; if your music isn’t good enough for them then they can drop the artist whenever they want

Indie label Advantages: it is a smaller label and therefore you have more control over what you do and what happens to your music, you have a say in it. While they don’t have the money to back you up like the major players do, they will sign you because they believe in your ability and in your music. It is not uncommon for these record labels to assign one artist representative-person per artist. That gives it a personal approach and makes it easier when you need to reach the record label in case you need to.

Codes and Conventions Essay


In this essay I will begin to explain the different types of video styles and genres within music videos and attempt to explain why the artists have used these techniques to portray their music, using hints from lyrical interpretations and other visual and audio codes.

In Concert

In Concert is a video style which uses concert footage, either from a live concert itself or ‘as live’ footage taken to replicate scenes of a live performance.

Video Style

Mumford and Sons use this style with their video for ‘I Will Wait’. Mumford and Sons are classed as a Rock/Folk-Rock band. The video for ‘I Will Wait’ was filmed in Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado which therefore suggests the video footage is live and from a live performance. Where Mumford and Sons have used this type of video style, fans of their music who may not be able to attend shows or people who are looking forward to perhaps attending a show, can get a feel for what a typical Mumford and Sons show is like and can therefore be enticed into purchasing tickets. Where music lovers are able to have the concert feel/buzz from the comfort of their homes, it can inspire them to go and see Mumford and Sons live for themselves.

Camera Angles / Filming Techniques

The video itself uses many different camera angles and videoing techniques to portray the entire atmosphere of the concert itself. By using long shots, viewers can accurately begin to imagine themselves at the concert and the close up shots show the emotion on the band’s faces as they play, and the passion they put into their music at their concerts.

Some of the clips are taken in an almost amateur way. The zooming is sudden, giving the feel again of being at the concert and filming it for yourself, rather than professionally.

Visual and Audio Codes

As the video is set as if the viewer was at the live concert, there are no audio codes such as dialogue, no engagement with the viewer of the video.

I am however able to link some visual codes to the style of the video. The setting, an amphitheatre links very much to the style of the video as the viewer is able to feel as though they are in the amphitheatre, watching the live concert. The lightning is dim which creates the typical atmosphere for a concert of this rock genre.


The transitions between camera shots are continuous and almost invisible, allowing the viewer to enjoy the video and the overall experience of watching the band live, from home. The camera pans up and down the musicians as they perform, showing the movement, energy and passion each of them is putting into the performance.

 A screenshot from ‘I Will Wait’ showing the In Concert video style.

Animation (One More Time – Daft Punk)

Animation (Stop Motion) (Fell In Love With A Girl – The White Stripes)

Stop Motion animation differs from animation in the way it is produced. Stop motion videos are created from photos of objects physically moved, and the images are strung together.

‘Fell In Love With A Girl’ is an example I found of a stop motion animation. The video is created entirely from Lego pieces and the shots are strung together in time with the music.

The first few second of the video show a medium shot of a young boy arranging the Lego pieces which then develops continuity when the Stop Motion Animation filters in invisibly.


Surrealism is purely a term for things that can’t necessarily be rationalised, surrealist video and music styles are typically videos that cannot be explained in a logical way, unrealistic and tend to be very imaginative and creative.

Radiohead’s ‘Just’ was a difficult video to interpret and therefore reinforced the point that their music and video style is very surreal in itself. ‘Born This Way’ is a video narrated, therefore easier to interpret but created on a somewhat unrealistic ‘dream world’.

‘Just’ is set mainly on a street and in an apartment whilst ‘Born This Way’ is filmed in an undisclosed location. The lighting in ‘Just’ is natural lighting whereas ‘Born This Way’ is mostly computer edited, set on a black background. The dark background in ‘Born This Way’ is most likely used by Lady Gaga to focus the viewer’s attention on her, her dancers and the theatrical performance and colour of the video.

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