I’ve always been the type of person that enjoys the CD booklet. Design and music go hand in hand, but just as the 12″ vinyl sleeves have been replaced by 600 pixel squared album artwork โ€“ I fear that the digital revolution could now be changing the traditional music video too.

I direct music videos, so thought it may be appropriate to share some thoughts I have on the matter.

MTV is dead. The flagship channels of the international MTV brand no longer show any music videos. The UK charts is dominated by phone-vote X-Factor shows.

So where do people find new music these days?

All of my previous videos have been shown on MTV 2 in the UK, and a few on MTV America, although online views have surpassed traditional delivery methods.

The healthiest place for music to thrive is within the democratic Internet cloud. For the first time, everyone has a platform to broadcast their message for free. No other medium can reach as many people as quickly for as little money. With blogging and social news network sites, the audience is no longer passive. So, if the content is good you can be assured that it will be forwarded or featured.

I think that the process of social bookmarking generates a stronger bond between the content and the viewer. An online audience member will have more of a loyal connection with the band, as they actively decided to participate and help to shape the landscape. One internet-viewer is potentially worth more in terms of statistics than a captive TV audience member.

I think that it’s much healthier for a track to survive on its own merits as opposed to the amount of money that the label is prepared to pay for airplay. This means that more focus is geared towards quality content, which can only be a good thing.

So, delivery โ€“ where does a music video fit in?

YouTube is such an empowering service.

The problem is that there’s a lot of low-quality content on YouTube. I don’t mean that in terms of resolution and bitrate, but of creative merit. There’s also the feeling that content online is more disposable than TV content. This is partly because there’s a much higher turnover online โ€“ really good videos will briefly do very well, before being quickly replaced with something else. The cycle repeats. A greater amount of content means less time in the limelight for each video that “makes it”.

Sparks burn brighter, but for a shorter time. People consume more, so they are quick to digest the video then move on to something else.

Music videos need to change. Partly it’s the entire music industry as a whole that’s leading this transition, but mainly it’s how the viewer now consumes his media. We have moved on from the one-way feed of television. Now we are all hunter-gatherers.

Find out more about James here.


Mix-Blog: A bit like a mix-tape but with blogs instead. Read more from the series here.