To what extend does digital media influence music video landscape?

Written by Jiawei Chen

Video is going to become the future of online media. For musicians, nevertheless, it’s been a part of the professional engagement at all times. Music videos once turned out to be events. Like The Buggles said, video did, indeed, kill the radio star. It also proceeded to alter the television landscape, with MTV introducing the best time of music television that would endure for nearly 30 years. Michael Jackson, the Beastie Boys, and Madonna, to name just a few, created cinematic visuals with in-demand directors. The first-ever MTV VMA ceremony in the year 1984 enabled the art form to transform into something worthy of an award. At present, it is not necessary for you to wait for Saturday morning to discover if your favorite music video made the Top 10 countdowns cut. The only thing you are supposed to do is get WiFi and other resources ready to track them down. Such an experience occurs immediately and, as such, in a fleeting manner. As Vernallis (2013) suggested that,

“Music video has undergone shifts in technologies and platform, periods of intense cross-pollination with other media, financial booms and busts, and changing levels of audience engagement.” (p.208)


Nevertheless, this sort of instantaneous gratification proves suitable for our era — and our attention spans, which, as is admitted, are shorter than that of a goldfish. As we have the ability to know that, ever since the arrival of smartphones, the length of our attention spans has become shorter than in previous days. Chris (2009) and Ezra (2016) argues that less than half of viewers are likely to watch a video completely if it lasts two minutes or longer; less than 45% will watch a four- to five-minute clip, which is the average music video length, till the tail end. However, according to Nielsen music U.S report (2015), almost half of streaming revenue is derived from video. That enables music videos to appear more like revenue generators than pieces of content that are in existence for their own sake, but arguing what matters more is wasted energy. Up till now, we are supposed to become aware that art and commerce are intertwined. Nevertheless, that study does nothing but lay emphasis on our enormous switch in music consumption. It seems more about noise than narrative, singles over albums.


Prior to the arrival of social media, music videos functioned as our tools of investigation into a musician’s life. Similar to live shows, they turned out to be extensions of their vision and message. Armed with Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, we are able to get familiar with the everyday lives of many artists, however manipulated it may be. Nevertheless, music videos still perform their previous functions. It’s the hype around them that has been altered. (ibid) At present, there’s a vicious cycle of musicians dabbling with their videos, media outlets publicizing on the preview, and audiences coming to the realization that the social callout they clicked on makes them discover a tease.


What we run short of at the moment is that experience. We’ve learned to perform multiple tasks with music more satisfactorily and overlooked the value of seeing music.

Like Vernallis (2013) states that “…the new media landscape, with so much material in reserve, allows a person to think more creatively. New relations are constructed.” (p.28)

It is possible for music videos to raise a song to an amazingly high level. It can take a superb song and convert it into something unique in a true sense. Music videos function as much of an art form as music itself. It is possible for them to permit artists to cause their audiences to get further into their worlds in person. With the rise of the visual album, artists are able to discover brand-new and forward-looking means to bring the music to their audiences. Beyoncé’s visual album with his own title in 2013 served as a Game-changer, with Kanye West’s short film for 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, entitled “Runaway,” smoothed the way prior to it. It’s an art evolved rather than lost. The music video has given rise to the music movie, an opportunity for, all people to make sense of the whole picture, assuming that audiences are likely to watch it till the very end.


Crawford, E (2015), 2015 Nielsen Music U.S. Report, New York: The nielsen company. Available from [Accessed 4 March 2017]

Fishman, E (2016), How Long Should Your Next Vedio Be?, Blog, WISTIA. Available from [Accessed 5 March 2017]

Vernallis.C (2013), “YouTube Aesthetics”, in: Unruly Media, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 137.

Vernallis.C (2013), “Music Video’s Second Aesthetic” in: Unruly Media, New York: Oxford University Press, pp.211.

Savage, C (2009), Dose Length Matter? It does for vedio, Blog, WISTIA. Available from  [Accessed 5 March 2017]


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