Music Video

Music videos are short films in which images accompany a piece of music. Initially they were usually commissioned from a director and a production company by the performer’s record label for promotional purposes, and until the end of the 1990s they were primarily produced to be used by cable companies specializing in music (e.g., MTV, VIVA). More recently, however, the Internet has played an increasing role in their reception. Following an artistic and financial apex in the 1990s, when a single video could have a budget of as much as seven million dollars, record companies are investing less and less in music videos, as a consequence of financial setbacks in recent years, with the result that more and more directors are moving into films, art, and advertising. Whereas those branches provided the inspiration for the video for many years, now they are increasingly influenced by the formal idiom of the music video. Despite such often close interrelationships to these and other art forms—such as the opera, the musical, video art, and the feature, dance, avant-garde, and concert film—the music video did not emerge directly from these fields. Rather, it should be seen a genre that developed in parallel through different, constantly recurring stages. Its brevity—videos are usually the same length as the music they promote—also distinguishes the genre from most of the other forms mentioned above.