YouTube: Music Edition

10Nov08

If video killed the radio star, then the internet killed the music video. It’s not that good music videos are no longer made, it’s just that it’s not really necessary to produce them anymore. Music videos used to be a big promotional tool for bands, and landing a spot in MTV’s video rotation meant a band had hit the big leagues. But now the game has completely changed. As MTV moved away from videos to focus on reality programming, music went digital, bands developed their own web sites and MySpace pages, listeners were able to sample online music 24/7, and YouTube was created. Whereas MTV was highly selective and offered limited airtime, YouTube allows bands, record labels, and music lovers to upload just about anything—live performances, interviews, homemade videos, etc. With a lull in my concert schedule, I ended up spending some time watching music videos and concerts on YouTube, so this week I’ll be sharing my YouTube video discoveries.

First, I found that there are a few different types of videos that will come up when you search for a band on YouTube. You might find a professionally produced music video released by the band, or you could come across a fan’s artistic interpretation of a song. There is also a great deal of live concert footage captured and uploaded by fans. Though there are no guarantees with this type of footage. Sometimes the audio quality is poor or there is too much background chatter. But, overall, it’s a good way to get a sneak peek of what a band is like in concert.

In terms of their “official” music videos, up-and-coming bands don’t have tons of money for flashy videos filled with computer-generated effects, but they do have some money for editing and a decent camera. Many of the videos I came across had some common features. They seemed to have a D.I.Y. feel to them, and a bunch of the videos included child actors, animal costumes, drawings, hand-written signs or notes, and cardboard…lots of cardboard. Here are a few I found:

Port O’Brien – “I Woke Up Today”

Jukebox the Ghost – “Victoria”

More musical animals…in Basia Bulat’s video for “In the Night” (note: video starts about 20 seconds in).

And, this is a funny video from The New Pornographers. If you’re having trouble viewing it on YouTube. Check it out here.

The New Pornographers – “Mutiny I Promise You”

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