Although most songs, popular or not, seem to have music videos to accompany them in present day, originally music videos were not created with live performances often relied on to show an artist performing. This format was heavily relied on for shows such as the BBC’s Top of the pops, which provided a chart ‘run down’ with live performances from those at the top of the charts.
This is arguably the origin of music videos. Although in the 60s-70s video clips were created to accompany music in order to work as promotional material, a method adopted by artists such as the Beatles and Bowie. However the rise in popularity of entire music videos is said to be due to ‘Queen’ and their world famous song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. The, now iconic, music video was shown on top of the pops in 1975 when the band were unable to perform live as they were on tour at the time. This was the a commonly adopted method to show a song when the artist was unavailable to do a live performance.
Another artist who did this was ‘the Buggles’ with ‘Video killed the radio star’. This song was then the first song to be played on MTV (music television), the first TV channel that was entirely music video based that launched on the 1st of August 1981. This method of displaying music, from then on, became increasingly popular with some of the worlds most famous artist such as Micheal Jackson following and advancing this format. This can be seen in the video for the video for his hit ‘Thriller’ in 1983 which created an extended song with a story present in the video. Since then narrative based videos have become increasingly popular and still used by modern day artists such as Lady Gaga with Telephone
However in modern times (roughly 1992 onward) music videos have seen a decline in popularity, with MTV straying from entirely music video based programming and instead focusing on reality TV shows, which gain a large amount of popularity. Examples of this include ‘Gerodie Shore’ and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’.
However with the advancement of technology, music videos could be claimed to have gained a resurgence. Apps and websites such as YouTube and Vimeo allow music videos, new and old, to be viewed at any time for free. This could explain why TV shows such as MTV that previously showed only music videos now stray from that, as there is now less of a need. Popularity of this medium can be highlighted through YouTube videos from a variety of artists including PSY and Taylor Swift surpassing 1 billion views since 2012.
Almost all songs nowadays come with a music video; either as a way of promoting them, but also allowing the audience to see the artist in a way they never have before. Music videos in the present day tell a story that makes the audience more involved and connected with the artist.
In the 20th Century, BBC launched ‘Top of the Pops’ which created a new ‘buzz’ around a new style of music video which shows a performance from the artist.