Friday, September 07, 2007


If you work in music videos you have probably had this conversation with someone – perhaps a relative, someone older than 25 or pretty much anyone not in the “tween” or “hipster” demographics. They are the Normal People.

What do you do?

I work in music videos.

Really? I love music videos! Which ones have you worked on?

(Name of most recent job)


{Blank Stare}


(Name of larger, more famous job you worked on months earlier)

{Blinks, then more staring}


Lot’s of videos. You probably haven’t seen them. MTV hardly shows videos anymore.

You know what video I like? That one where Michael Jackson turns into a werewolf. (Or perhaps they will cite the one where the Pearl Jam guy jumps off the balcony or the one where Puffy parties and drinks champagne.)

Let’s face it, normal people don’t watch videos. They did when they were in the right age category – but they’re not anymore. Normal people will complain that MTV has changed (which it has) – but regular people “age out” of the MTV demographic, just like kids age out of watching Nickelodeon. Normal People don’t know much about videos, and they are fine with that.

For those Normal People who think that they love music videos but yet can’t recall a single video since Peter Gabriel Shocked the monkey (and no, not the LCD Soundsystem one) – the AP has given them the 411.

Maura at Idolator linked to the AP article about the falling budget-scape of the MV world (you may have heard about that).

Stavros Merjos, founder of HSI Productions and a longtime producer of videos for acts ranging from Britney Spears to Will Smith, doesn't expect to ever see another $2 million video: "The record industry as a whole has shrunk. There's not as much money to throw around."

Merjos sees the effect particularly in hip-hop, where sales declines have been the steepest and extravagant videos by the likes of Notorious B.I.G., Dr. Dre, Diddy and Jay-Z used to be commonplace. "You were expected to have a big video if you were a top-flight or a serious up-and-coming hip-hop artist," says Merjos. "They're not doing the size that they were doing in the heyday. - AP

This got me wondering. This article is clearly written for Normal People – who barely think about videos and probably believe MTV is still running episodes of Singled Out, Austin Stories and Cribs (oops, they still ARE airing Cribs) instead of their beloved Banarama clips. I don’t begrudge those Normals their lack of interest in MVs, I have trouble sustaining my own interest at times. But if the level of music video knowledge and interest implied by this article probably doesn’t come with much “giving a shit” about budgets on the part of the reader.

Big ups to the AP for dropping the mad knowledge on the Normals, anyway. Next week, an article on how they really made Lionel Richie dance on that ceiling.

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Thanks for this article.

I an not a Normal Person in this case, because I have a huge interest in music videos, and I'm over 25 (with a few weeks). I keep one eye on the industry as well, it's really a shame that the amount of money has been reduced, it's also a shame how MTV treats videos these days, but it's also a shame that there are simply not enough creative directors that can reach up to the level of 80's 90's classics like Anton Corbijn, Matt Mahurin, Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham, know what I'm talking about. It's a question of money of course (working on 32mm, 40+ crew, etc.) but using Flash effects and CGI just cannot replace those ideas, creativity, imagery that these guys/girls had once in the music video heydays. Maybe that's why VH1/VH1 Classic viewers stick to these old clips, as there's nothing to be enthusiastic about today's music videos.

However, on last week's VMAs, Justin Timberlake warned MTV to play more MV's, less reality shows, maybe it's a glimpse of hope for the medium, let's cross fingers that some MTV gurus will start to think now.

Anyone knows anything about the viewing statistics of MTV regarding Reality shows or MV-based programmes?
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