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  • Writer's pictureLeo Barton

Music Videos: Everything You Need To Know

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Somewhere between narrative film, visual art, promotional media, and visual music sits the music video. It is almost impossible to classify them beyond the fact that they are an audio-visual piece produced off the back of a pre-made music track.

"Music videos come in countless flavors, from the narrative and live performance to the abstract."

Music videos are an essential outlet for artists and musicians alike, acting as a platform for cross-promotion and rampant creativity. They are also a fresh breeding ground for innovation, given their liberation from the constraints of realist narrative cinema—often ditching elements like continuity, rationalist lighting, and even, often, photographic representation. Allowing for special effects, cinematographic oddities and whacky ideas to run amok, inspiring millions in their wake. Furthermore, as music-fans come from all walks of life, music video often functions as a fascinating bridge between visual art and popular culture, exposing viewers to new, cutting edge ideas in cinematic representation. Easy access to music videos is at an all-time high, as seen through YouTube's remarkable statistic that 93% of the platform's most-watched videos in January 2020 were music videos.

Music videos bridge a gap between marketing/promotion and visual arts content—with it being elementary to argue that the primary purpose of most music videos is the promotion of music. But, as we have already discussed, there are deeper elements at play.

In this post, we will explore "music videos" in depth. Recalling it's long and varied history, differentiating the critical types of music videos, exploring why the form is vital for filmmakers/artists, and understanding how we can create a music video with a video production team. It's a vast topic, so strap yourselves in.

How Can We Define 'Music Video'?

This question seems pretty futile at first, as the definition of 'music video' is, of course, a 'video' which is accompanied by or reacts to a piece of 'music.' But a classification such as this becomes complex when considering musical film sequences—be it moments of diegetic singing, non-diegetic soundtrack, or a relatively abstract interaction between film and music found in much advertising.

As we have already touched upon, 'music video' is a term that encompasses many different products. It stretches from experimental video-art, with a soundtrack, to narrative style short films, again accompanied by a soundtrack. But if we were to pin down the fundamentals, it would be the integration of visual imagery with a song/piece of music. But, of course, music comes in an unbelievable amount of flavors, and in this vein, it would be easy to argue that the music-video form is as, if not more, variable than the medium of music itself. It is stretching from visual music to more traditional modes of narrative filmmaking.

The utility of the music video is also as difficult to pin down, often functioning primarily as a form of marketing/promotion for the musician but just as often being a form of expression unto its own. Of course, the vast majority of examples sit somewhere between these extremes. Still, there are also some outliers, such as tie-in music videos whereby a song and film are created for another purpose—again usually in marketing, but this time in marketing products, goods, or services. Interestingly, as almost all music videos are a form of marketing, in some shape or form, the model is one of the only types of advertisements that consumers actively search out to consume. As perfectly illustrated by the earlier mentioned YouTube statistic.

Music videos exist in many different forms, both commercial and non-commercial.

The majority of videos, which are the type we have discussed almost exclusively up to this point, come as commercial releases—be it video singles, video albums, or officially distributed live recordings. These music videos are controlled and distributed by the artists, or their representing record label. As such, these constitute all the forms of official advertising and marketing. In this way, one must also acknowledge that within these videos, often both the music and the video components run secondary to the objective of selling a particular persona of the musician/group themselves a persona which, when established, results in the sales of their music, merchandise, and peripheral products.

Consider any pop-icon, and this ideology widely applies. In essence, all the way from The Beatles to Cardi B, It's easy to argue that the commercial music video is, more often than not, not really about the music or the video. In this way, music video often tries to create a feel or vague ideology in line with their musician's persona, to stimulate fandom and celebrity status.

Non-commercial music videos, on the other hand, expunge almost all desire to sell, but they do not stray from the idea of devising celebrity status.

These non-commercial music videos are various music clips, supercuts (synchronizing existing footage from other sources to lip-sync/perform a song), unofficial live recordings, unofficial music videos, fan videos, lyric videos, and many more types all exist. Most of these are created by fans far removed from the musicians, and often utilize the song without rights. However, there are rare examples of exceptional unofficial music videos being seen by musicians, which then adopt them (legally) as the canon, creating a new collaboration along the way. But that is not to say non-commercial music videos need to be produced by fans, as these can also quickly be provided by independent artists as a form of documenting or establishing another creative outlet. However, these inevitably end up being used as promotion, thus pulling them back into the category of commercial music videos.

Through this brief rundown, we have barely scratched the surface of what a music video actually is, but we have come to some sort of definition.

A music video is a short film that integrates a song with imagery and is produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. There are also cases where songs are used in tie-in marketing campaigns that allow them to become more than just a song. Tie-ins and merchandising can be used for toys or food or other products.

Perhaps by exploring the history of the form, we'll get a bit more clarification on the range and scope of music videos.

A (brief) History of Music Videos

Although in the 1980s MTV (or Music Television) birthed the modern form we know as 'music video,' the history extends back to cinema's genesis.


We find its precursors way back at the end of the 19th century one early example is Edward Marks and Joe Stern's form of marketing their sheet music business. They hired an electrician, George Thomas, to promote their song "The Little Lost Child." Thomas used the already famous magic lantern, a method of projecting images, to create a show of sill images accompanied by live performances of the song. Of course, this multimedia show was a hit, combining the already popular forms of vaudeville theatre and the technical marvel of photographic magic lantern shows. As such, the formation quickly took off and was commonly known as the illustrated song. Although we can likely extend the lineage of music video far beyond cinematic precursors, the use of the photographic apparatus synchronized with sound, during a performance, is undoubtedly one of the earliest moments of the music video, as we know it.

Music played a crucial role in early cinema, but often one entirely dissimilar to the music video. Live music was often performed during the screening of films, usually with an official score. However, this form of cinematic experience coupled with live-music is almost the inverse of the music video, which is, in effect, a score which is then accompanied by visuals.

This distinction is vital in separating lots of "talkies," "soundies," and musical films from the medium of the music video. Although they are still important, our above example of The Little Lost Child comes closer to the modern music video than most live-action early cinema.

Nevertheless, a good history should include external influencers as much as the key players. The "talkie" arrived in the mid-1920s, with the most prominent example being The Jazz Singer. Following the success of talkies, many musical short films began being produced—Warner Brothers was a key player here, creating many Vitaphone Shorts, which became one of the tent poles of early sound films. Another reason for the form's popularisation was early animation, Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies and ground-breaking Fantasia provided instrumental audio-visual works.

While Max Fleischer's Screen Songs—short sing-along cartoons of popular songs—solidified a link with popular music. Both Fantasia and Fleischer's cartoons utilized readymade popular music, making them remarkably similar to the modern music video—with the significant difference being these were commercial products in themselves, not used for the promotion of a specific musician. Warner Bros. cartoons, however, bridged this gap with Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, often including songs from upcoming Warner Bros. musicals, arguably introducing the idea of promotion and the tie-in (music and video being created for a different product) music videos. Furthermore, within the 1920s avant-garde explorations of visual-music, animation videos were used rampantly to translate the majestic qualities of music into audio-visual experiences.

Experiments like Hans Richter's Rhythmus 21 (1921) or Walther Ruttmann's Lichtspiel Opus I (1921) explore a direct representation of music into an abstract visual language. Thus, it becomes clear that animation had an instrumental role in the early explorations of the music video.

Between 1920 and 1950, live-action cinema also had its forays into the music video. "Soundies" were musical films often including dance/performative sequences. However, these, and other musical films, continued to fall away from traditional music video elements as they were created in conjunction with one another instead of the music directly instigating the creation of the video. That said, films like Louis Jordan's Lookout Sister (1947), a Western musical, pulled together a bank of the singer's most famous songs and tacked them to a vague narrative, leaving it somewhere between a feature-long music video and a musical feature.


In his autobiography, Tony Bennet claims to have created "the first music video"—a short film of him walking along the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London. The video was edited and set to his song Stranger in Paradise. The clip was later aired in both the UK and the US. Although his self-proclamation of being the first is mainly questionable, there was a move towards this style of promotional music videos, much closer to the form we know today.

It's also important to recall that this history is not an Anglophone one alone, as the avant-garde shorts above have already demonstrated. By the late 1950s, the Scopitone, a sort of visual jukebox, was invented in France and quickly spread throughout Europe. As such rival devices came to market, from the Cinebox in Italy to the Color-sonic in the USA, providing a steadfast way to view music videos outside of a cinema or specialist setting.

As with any innovation, an increase in the capability to distribute brought a swath of new content, both independently created and commissioned. Promotional music videos (videos that follow/illustrate a readymade song) became a prevalent occurrence across Europe and the US. This increase in production birthed many of the music videos styles we know today, from narrative and performance through the experimental concepts. It popularised the form as a legitimate form of entertainment while slowly disconnecting from the cinema space.

By the mid-60s, the music video was well on its way to the total domination of music promotion. The Beatles starred in their first feature, A Hard Day's Night in 1964 and Help! In 1985. Sparking The Monkees to begin the two-year TV series The Monkees (1966-68) on the other side of the Atlantic. Both of these minced together performance set pieces with historical moments, which ultimately promoted the bands as pop icons, not merely providers of catchy tunes. Furthermore, "filmed inserts" became common marketing materials, providing small promotional clips of the groups playing, to be distributed worldwide.

1964 also saw the beginning of Top of the Pops in the UK, followed quickly by Hullabaloo in the US, in 1965. Both of these were musical variety TV shows which saw transmitted live performances to millions at home. Due to a rapid increase in demand, these shows quickly picked up "filmed inserts" and other short-form music content to pad out their runtime. However, most of these still consisted primarily of recorded performance or dance. By now, music videos were a staple in music marketing, being a tried and tested method of raising groups such as The Beatles and The Monkees into superstardom. Better yet, music videos allowed the quick distribution of entertainingly consumable publicity content worldwide.

"Music videos became a pop culture phenomenon; consumers couldn't get enough of them."

Ten years later, music videos were so deeply rooted in pop culture that all top-performing artists were nearly required to defend their music with an accompanying music video. After the initial period of gestation, music videos began to flourish from more than pure performance videos, creating an identity for musicians and bands off the stage. Musicians like David Bowie and Queen perfected this, creating huge personas beyond their music and performances. Resulting in videos such as the landmark Bohemian Rhapsody (1975), which many, including Historian Paul Fowles, class as "the first global hit single for which an accompanying video was central to the marketing strategy." That is to say that by this point, music videos had eclipsed many traditional forms of marketing, becoming the primary method to market both music and musician.

The MTV Era

The music video had already penetrated television since Top of the Pops, but in 1979 the US saw its first channel utterly devoted to the form: Video Concert Hall. However, two years later, MTV (then, Music Television) launched. Commencing their early broadcast by airing The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," in a prophetic move marking the need for a visual representation of musical artists that would become, and remains, the norm today.

"MTV was the first 24-hour television station devoted to music. As such, stardom and fandom continued to rise sharply in this era of mass-media, promoting celebrity musicians as superhuman and godly."

The introduction of these two new platforms, again, lead to a sharp increase in demand for content, production of content, and effectiveness of music video as a form of self-promotion. The need for content coupled with recent innovations in video recording and editing, resulting in affordable devices that freelancers could purchase, led to an explosion in music video prevalence—resulting in wrath of cheaply made music videos. The new style of music video production contrasted immensely with the big-budget celluloid music films which preceded them. This wealth of production inevitably leads to a tremendous amount of innovation for the medium.

With affordable video equipment becoming more commonplace, it's also important to acknowledge the cross-over between many sub-cultures and the music video form. A vast underground output was coming from counter-cultural groups like skaters, anarchists, or the LGBTQ community, which, again, find their way to influence and shape the mainstream.

Individuals like David Bowie began to use the form as a model for social commentary, as found in his videos for China Girl and Let's Dance (both 1983). In an interview on the topic, he famously said: "Let's try to use the video format as a platform for some kind of social observation, and not just waste it on trotting out and trying to enhance the public image of the singer involved." Of course, it can be hard to take such a message entirely seriously from an individual who already holds a vast celebrity status. Still, it is a crucial moment in introducing real-world importance for the ideologies presented within music video—and one far beyond consumerist tendencies. This sentiment arguably leads to popular social videos from Michael Jackson's Black or White and Pink's Family Portrait to Kendrick Lamar's Alright or Childish Gambino's This is America.

Similarly, Michael Jackson's Thriller, one of the most expensive videos of the period with a budget of $800,000, became instrumental in making space for African American music videos on MTV. Before the video, African American artists seemed almost boycotted by the platform, with many musicians such as Rick James being flat-out rejected. The videos that were accepted often aired late into the night between two and six AM when almost nobody was watching.

Censorship is a crucial debate that still surrounds music videos. As the medium often finds wide public distribution on television or, more recently, online, much content that is deemed offensive or inappropriate was censored, leading to a large amount of counter-culture or experimental content being pushed to the side.

Throughout the 1980s many channels popped up in the US and worldwide, with Country Music Television launching in 1983, VH1 (owned by MTV) in 1985, MTV Europe in 1987, MTV Asia in 1991, MTV Latin America in 1993, MTV India in 1996, MTV Mandarin in 1997 and MTV2 in 1996. As we can see from this list alone, MTV dominated both the US and worldwide markets, and although other programs did exist across the globe, MTV indeed leads the way.

During this rapid expansion of MTV, music video directors began to gain attention—especially as the channel started to credit the creative alongside the musicians in 1992. As such, a wave of music video auteurs arose who are, primarily, considered those who defined the medium—many of whom still produce videos today. Giants like Hype Williams, Mark Romanek, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, and Chris Cunningham all picked up the medium around this time. It was undoubtedly an exciting period for these creative, as the new(ish) medium needed shaping and defining.

The Internet Age

The website iFilm, established in 1997, was one of the first places on the internet to host music videos, along with other short-form content. The rise of Napster, LimeWire, Kazaa, and other peer-to-peer sharing services saw a spike in the ability to share music video content free of charge and on-demand. However, due to their illicit nature, most of these sites were closed over time. Nevertheless, they created a thirst for (free) accessible content, and YouTube, launched in 2005. YouTube quickly dominated becoming the prime outlet for free streamed music video content. While many other platforms have tried to take a piece of the pie YouTube, as we all know, holds the prime spot.

Due to the rise in free online content, MTV inevitably collapsed. Although the channel continues to function, by 2005, it had abandoned most music videos in favor of reality television shows, which drew much larger audiences and thus turned better profits.

As we all live in the modern world, the contemporary state of the music video is apparent to a lot of us; moreover, due to the endless expansion of distribution channels, the variability and range of music videos are now phenomenal. Let's break this down in our next section.

Styles of Music Video

To define the general stylistic trends in music videos would take thousands of words. But here we can split them into several categories of style and distribution.

Distribution is a simple divide between two fundamental modes: the video single, and the video album. The video single is, of course, the form the vast majority of music videos take—whereby one track (single) is taken, and a video is produced for that track. Conversely, video albums are quite rare, especially in western music. Video albums, usually distributed on DVD, saw relative success in Western music in the early 2000s, with full-length visualizations such as Björk's All Is Full of Love (1999) or Madonna's Music (2000). However, Japan, in particular, still sees much success in the video album, which is often distributed in the CD+DVD format—also helped by Japan's tendency to buy physical copies of CDs.

Both the video single and the video album can, of course, be for commercial or non-commercial purposes and can be produced either independently or by the record label/musician. However, commercial videos produced by the record label/musician is by far the norm. A third, rarer form of music video distribution exists, which is that for installation/live performance. But because of their comparatively minuscule slice of the market, we will not discuss them today.

The style has fewer simple distinctions. However, we can look at four of the critical modes: performance, narrative, experimental, and tie-in.

The performance music video consists of, you guessed it, a performance of the song by the musician—similar to many of the early Beatles' filmed inserts.

Narrative music videos aim to tell a vague story and are, as such, a bit closer to traditional forms of narrative cinema. These stories can follow the performer or other actors but often aim to reveal some deeper theme or meaning behind the music. Most secular music videos, and the like, can be found in this category.

Experimental videos are something entirely different; they don't show the performer traditionally performing the song, and they don't focus on narrative storytelling. This can range from experimental graphic videos (Arca's Thievery), visual music (Hans Richter's Rhythmus 21), and the downright bizarre (Aphex Twin's Rubber Johnny). These can, to be honest, be almost anything and are thus much harder to pin down.

Tie-in music videos are most common in advertising, as they see a song and video being created for a purpose outside directly promoting the song. For example, a video for Toss a Coin to Your Witcher, utilizing images from The Witcher TV show, or Dumb Ways to Die, an infographic animation explaining how to stay safe in the modern world, are good examples of tie-in music videos.

To complicate all these categories further, the majority of videos will mince a few of these modest into a composite video—often creating a narrative interspersed with performances of the band (Blur's Coffee and TV), or creating an experimental performance. Thus the wealth of styles and modes is immense. Still, with these few categories, we can begin to categorize music videos much more efficiently and, more importantly, understand how to communicate our ideas to others.

How to Produce an Amazing Music Video

Producing a music video isn't so dissimilar to creating other video content; however, the process of shooting and editing can arguably be much more reliant on pre-planning, depending on the type of music video you are trying to create. As such, here is a brief breakdown of a failsafe way to approach music video production.

(1) Find a song/musician/filmmaker that you connect with

The filmmaker and musician need to appreciate each other's work to produce a product that is transcendent and coherent. As such aspiring music video directors should search out/approach musicians from genres or styles which they vibe with, and similarly, musicians should try to work with filmmakers who understand and appreciate their music. As once you've found a partner whose work you are excited about, you already have a starting point of inspiration.

(2) Refine the concept

Firstly, who is coming up with the concept? Some musicians will have a clear creative visual image of what they want, while others may leave the entire process to the production house. The majority of cases fall between these extremes, but whoever is coming up with the concept, you must refine it. What is the style you are going for? What is the mode of distribution? What is the intention? For more on this, see creating a brief in the next section!

(3) Communicate your ideas to the whole team

Communication is vital for any creative process, and music videos are no different. However, explaining a concept can be much harder when working across two mediums, especially as filmmakers may be less versed in a musician's terminology, and musicians less habitual to video production aspects. As such, tools such as mood-boards, inspirational videos, storyboards, and detailed plans are invaluable. Once you have these, bring the team together to discuss the concept making sure the filmmaker and musician are happy to go ahead with the idea. It's easiest to make any changes now, so be thorough.

(4) What do you need?

Now's time to put your production hat on, if you are producing it yourself—and if you have hired a producer, time for them to get going. Accumulate your cast, crew, locations, equipment, and any peripheral members of the team from VFX to animation. As music-videos often run on extraordinarily tight or huge budgets, this part of the process can be big or small but, again, make sure to devote a reasonable amount of time to pre-production.

(5) Plan the Shoot

While your producer is getting all the practicals together, it's time to draw the original concept, feedback, plus new ideas that have been introduced. Pull together as many aspects of previsualization as you can—from storyboards to scene blockings and shot lists. Of course, again, this process will vary between each production, but ensure you and your team are ready to execute the concept.

(6) Shoot it

It's hard to envision what will happen on each music video shoot, as they each tend to be a unique experience. But given your pre-production process was successful, you should have a clear vision and plan to execute. There are, however, two key points you should focus on while shooting a music video or any film/video. Firstly, are you gathering enough footage? Make sure you are getting plenty of B-roll, various performance clips, angles, and ultimately enough coverage of your content as, often, the musicians will not be able to come in for another day of shooting. Heck, sometimes they don't even show up! Secondly, in cases such as those, be open to new ideas and developments on the day. Again, this depends mainly on your project brief. Still, flexibility to react to new ideas from the many creatives your working with (especially the musicians themselves) is paramount when shooting music videos, as these new ideas can be the best. That said, make sure you still complete your initial plan too!

(7) The Edit

This process, again, varies hugely between productions. Many contemporary music videos, especially for Hip-hop, require a phenomenal amount of technical trickery to produce bizarre special-effect cuts, transitions, and moments. Thus, make sure your editor is experienced with the style of video you are trying to create—you don't necessarily want a documentary editor to be editing an A$AP Mob video. That said, the editing process is often where many music videos falter. Remember, use the edit to complement the music but, also, use the music video medium as a way to liberate yourself from a lot of cinematic norms. Of course, only if your concept permits!

(8) Refine the Final Product with the Musician

If they haven't been involved in the process of editing already, be sure to present the musician(s) with a near-finished draft of the work (don't send one too early!) for feedback and refinement. Remember, as a filmmaker, you are, in most cases, making the music video for the group. Thus, it must be something that they are happy with. Bringing the musicians back into the process of editing can help ensure that this is the case.

How to Choose the Right Production Company for Your Music Video

Before looking for a video production company, it is imperative to pin down the vision for your music video. You could start with two simple questions (1) what the format of my music video is? And (2) what is the style of the video? The format, as we explored above, would likely be a video single or a video album—of course, creating two hugely different production scales. The style is more complicated. First comes the differentiation of overall type—performance, narrative, experimental, or tie-in. Second, you can pinpoint the specificities of which kind of performance, what style of story (from live-action to animation), or what mode of an experiment.

Here it's essential to establish these fundamentals as if you're looking for animation, VFX, stunts, or a specific style; certain companies will be more suited to these needs.

A great way to understand all this, and get it down on paper in the process, is to create a brief for your video, which you can later adapt into a deliverable brief, which you can present to the company which you choose. Within the brief, you should layout:

  • An overview of your music/musician (products (song or artist), goals of video, definitions of success).

  • The video's target audience (fans, newcomers, artists).

  • The tangible objective of the video.

  • A rough timeline of production.

  • Your budget.

  • The concept of the video (including the video's message, style, mood, theme, and further specifics).

With this in mind, there are eight key ways we would suggest ensuring you find a company that works for you.

8 key takeaways to finding a production company that suits your music video

(1) Review Their Body of Work

Does their style suit your vision for this video? If you love their ability to tell a narrative but are trying to create an abstract experimental piece of visual music, it's probably not the best idea to hire them for this project. But amongst those that somewhat fit your brief, it's essential to consider whether you have creative similarities, if their output is varied, flexible, and filled with exciting new ideas. For example, Cole Bennett, who runs Lyrical Lemonade, has an incredibly stylish, modern, and experimental approach to hybridizing performance videos with concept videos. However, when collaborating with Eminem, who has a predefined and almost contrasting style, the product is not either of their best work.

"Directors and musicians must strive for aesthetics and modes of audio-visuals that compliment."

Make sure you don't just judge music video directors on their Demo reel. This reel will, of course, be a selection of their self-proclaimed best work. It's crucial to search out full videos, with many different artists, to get a complete idea of the company's quality and breadth. So, although a demo reel is a good indicator, it should not be your only point of reference.

(2) Do They Like Your Music?

It is beneficial when a director enjoys the song. The company/creatives you work with on the video must understand and vibe with your style of music. As the visuals are there to interact with and complement the music, the creative team should feel inspired by the music, so that the final piece will be a labor of love, not of money.

(3) Does their Price Match your Budget?

The budget is, of course, a no brainer. But it's easy to get carried away while looking at an extremely desirable company. So make sure that you are looking for a team within your price range and experience in maximizing every dollar's production value.

That said, remember, music videos will often bring in revenue down the line, due to your increased exposure, so it is worth getting it right. It may even be worth splashing out for an auteur-led music video, to get on their channels, and receive a considerable amount of promotion through the video itself. But that said more money doesn't always equate to a better product.

(4) Understand their company workflow

Will they need to outsource a lot of work, or do they complete the video entirely in-house? Is everything included, or will there be hidden costs for editing, casting, or VFX?

Here, you just need to make sure that they offer what you need, and that all those services won't put you over budget. Your brief will help you out here, as additional costs for VFX, animation, or extensive stunts will all add up.

(5) Can they work on your time scale?

Video production companies are often hectic, and production is a long process. As such, it's essential to consult the company whether they'll be able to execute your product by the time you need it. But, as customers, we have to stay reasonable, as no-body can produce a video overnight.

(6) Shop Around

Don't get hung up with your local, most famous, or the first company you get in touch with. There are so many out there, so ensure you shop around to find both the best value and best match of your video brief.

While searching, be sure to look at reviews and, if possible, talk to previous clients about their experience.

Similarly, word of mouth and reputation is an excellent method of discovering good, reliable production companies. If you know others who have commissioned videos similar to yours, get in touch with them and see who they used, why they were good, and pick up any tips on working with production companies along the way.

(7) Are they easy to communicate with?

When you first get in touch with a company, how did they respond? If they responded quickly, with enthusiasm for your project and guidance on how to move forward, it is generally a good sign. If your idea was far out of the box, did they take it on with vigor or reject it, saying it's not possible? As we've discussed, music videos are a great way to innovate through collaboration. Still, to do so, strong foundations of communication must already be in place, so it's a great sign if you're both hugely excited by the idea of the project.

(8) Do you feel confident that these people will be able to produce your vision?

Once you're narrowed down your search, it is imperative to feel confident in the people you are hiring. This, although often reduced to a gut feeling, is an amalgam of your experience with their company—from liking their work, hearing good things about them, having enjoyable encounters communicating with them, and believing that they can execute your project.

Make sure you feel comfortable before committing to anything and, if you have any doubts, approach the company directly with them, as I'm sure they want you to feel comfortable as well.

There you have it, a music video rundown

As we have explored, the music video is a universal, inventive, and highly influential medium for many people. It's not only a form of promotion for music/musicians, but it can serve as a way of introducing social messages and avant-garde aesthetics to a vast audience—one which may not attend feature films on similar topics. The history of the form is long and ever connected to the history of popular music and cinema. Still, through all of it, the music video has emerged as a medium almost unto its own and shows no signs of going away any time soon.

Examples of highly successful music videos


Pink Floyd: Live From Pompeii

A fundamental performance video-album.

Seventeen: Fear

A frenetic example of fandom-style experimental performance.

Psy: Gangnam Style

A "pop-video" displaying the prevailing trend of unique dance-moves through performance video.

Tyler the Creator: Yonkers

A mood-focused performance video, verging into experimental modes of presentation, and vague narrative.


Caravan Palace: Lone Digger

A beautiful take on animated narrative music videos, almost a tie-in with the landmark game Hotline Miami.

The Blaze: Territory/Virile

A genuinely artistic vision, representing the emotion of a song in video form.


Jay Z: The Story of OJ

Social commentary delivered through a masterfully crafted animated performance.

Aphex Twin: Rubber Johnny

An absolutely insane example of experimental live-action/CG music video.

Kendrick Lamar: Humble

Lying somewhere between performance, narrative and purely experimental, Lamar's Humble brings together a bunch of vignettes, helping to continue to build his persona as a socially conscious musician experimenting with music video form.

A$AP ROCKY/MOB: Yamborghini High (but, honestly, any of their videos).

An original music video in popularising Datamoshing as a method of producing a favorable aesthetic, again also employing performance.


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