HOLLYWOOD—There is something that has been bugging me for years that I have wanted to talk about for a long time. What the hell happened to music videos? I mean they started to emerge I want to say in the 60s and 70s, and then boomed to iconic status in the 80s and 90s and a bit more in the 00s. In the last 10 years though, it is like musicians don’t even consider music videos. If they do they seem so low budget nowadays it feels laughable.
How so? Um, videos from the 70s that were super cheesy look better than the videos that came out in the last 5 to 10 years. What does that say people? Where is the creative energy America? MTV, BET, networks dedicated to music TV, but guess what, the channels don’t even display music videos anymore or music at all. I remember when people used to flock home from school to watch TRL (Total Request Live) which was a staple on MTV counting down the biggest music videos each day, in addition to be the place where new videos would premiere.
BET used to have a similar series called 106 and Park highlighting the top videos of the week, in addition to musical guests and performances. Not in 2023, music videos are a thing of the past. However, if you happen to have Cable, you might have some additional channels under the MTV or BET umbrella that actually highlight classic videos. MTV in particular has a music station that highlights iconic videos from the 1980s, and when I say iconic I mean just that.
Music videos of that decade were just unique. You never saw a musician craft the same music video as another musician. The videos were memorable in a way that you just don’t see today. Of course, I have to highlight Michael Jackson because he did music videos unlike any other. I mean “Beat It” amazing choreography, and his hit “Thriller” changed music videos as we know it. It was a mini-movie and still reigns today as one of the greatest music videos of all time. Have others attempted to top it? Of course, but nothing comes close to what Jackson and company crafted with that iconic 1984 video.
Nothing has or will ever top that video people. However, you saw more iconic videos of the 90s with artists like Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Sting, Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, N’Sync and so many more putting unique touches on their music. I hate to utilize the phrase must-see TV, but that is what it felt like, must-see TV when a new music video premiered America.
I could watch iconic music videos for hours because it brought a level of nostalgia with rhythms and beats that get your body moving. It takes you back to a time that was distinct rather you were young or old you remember the first time you heard a particular hit or single or witnessed the video. Better said, you remember iconic videos because they have a buzz about them that everyone talks about. Perhaps one of the most iconic videos I can recall of the past 15 years had to be Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” Why? Simple, yet so iconic and the spoofs with leotards and people attempting that choreography left me in stitches America.
Sometimes you don’t have to do too much to make an iconic music video, think James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” or Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.” Just have an idea and a theme and you utilize that as a focal point for the music video that you want to craft. I truly want to see music videos return to the airwaves in a big way. Yeah, I know they’re costly at times, but the bigger you go the more it costs, but at the same time you reach the echelon of iconic as well. If you ask me today are music videos a thing of the past, the answer is simple: YES!
The artists don’t care about videos anymore, hell, you barely hear about album releases anymore and if anything they might release a single and then the album is soon followed. It is not like the past where there was an extensive period of at least 1 to 2 videos before an album dropped. The business arena for music has completely changed, which might explain the extinction of music videos. However, to those musicians out there, there are still people who like music videos and a good song with a good video can do wonders for a career, just saying.