The Evolution of Music Videos
Music videos are a very popular way of advertising songs that performers have recorded. A singer or musical group will often make a music video when they release a new album or song. There are television stations that feature only music videos. Fans that enjoy music and seeing what their favorite singing stars look like often spend time watching these videos. The video adds a new dimension to simply hearing the audio portion of the song. The music video creates a new experience that is related to musical concerts.
Music videos became very popular in the 1980s. They sometimes combine animation with the recorded performance of the singers to make them more interesting to watch. The very first music video was a song from the late 1800s entitled, “The Little Lost Child.” More than two million copies of its sheet music were sold after it was performed in vaudeville houses and in later years in nickelodeons. It became known as an illustrated song, a type of performance art. A magic lantern was used to project still images on a screen during live performances.
The next step in the development of music videos was the short in the 1930s, which was the first music video. They were films that were usually around six minutes long, and they featured dancers, bands, and singers. Screen songs followed, and viewers were asked to follow the bouncing ball to sing along with the singer. Walt Disney and Warner Brothers also began to connect music and film when they used classical songs as background music for their cartoons. Walt Disney’s Fantasia featured classical music.
Musical short films came into being in the 1940s when the musician Louis Jordan began making these. They were sometimes put together to form a feature film. The visual jukebox became popular at this time as well. They were fairly simple films that usually had a band playing on a bandstand. Soundies were also early versions of music videos. They were only a few minutes long, and often featured dancers. These were fairly common on a Panoram, which was a coin-operated jukebox. They could be found at restaurants, bars, night clubs, and at other locations. Many different music genres were featured in soundies, from big bands to country music. Soundies began to lose much of their popularity during World War II.
Musical films were also important in the evolution of music videos. More recent music videos that were made in the last 30 years mimic earlier versions of earlier Hollywood musicals that were made between 1930 and the 1950s. For example, Michael Jackson’s music video of his song “Bad” was influenced by the performance of West Side Story. Other music videos by stars such as Madonna were also modeled after earlier Hollywood films. The growing accessibility and popularity of television definitely had a major impact on the evolution of music videos. Television brought many stars to the forefront that may not have made it in Hollywood.
The Beatles were also important in the growth and development of the music video. In 1964, their film, A Hard Day’s Night, was shot in black and white. The methods used in this film were later used by other musical groups and for a television series starring The Monkees. Short film segments were shown as their songs played. Many other popular music groups followed with their own music videos that accompanied their songs.
Music videos became available all hours of the day when MTV launched its music video station. In addition to this station, the growing popularity of the Internet and websites such as You Tube has opened new avenues for music videos. One of the most viewed videos on You Tube was Justin Bieber’s song, “Baby.” There were over 500 million views of this song in a very short time.