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factfile1.13 About Music Videos


Conventional music videos are three to five minutes long and combine the videotaped performance of a pop song with dancing, a sketchy storyline or both, sometimes intercut with live concert footage. They were originally conceived as promotional vehicles for new pop singles and were frequently available on small screens on juke-boxes in the 1950s and early 1960s.

They have become standard tools for a cross section of popular musical genres - from ballads to rock, from heavy metal to hip hop. The conventional formula uses quick cuts between clips, often on or just before the beat, fantasy, stylized imagery and computer graphics. Music videos do not necessarily feature imagery that literally interprets the lyrics.


Music videos were first popularized by the MTV cable network in the early 1980s their style and content have been an enduring influence on popular media like advertising, television, and film ever since.

Although they were traditionally directed at a teenage audience through shows in the UK like TOTP (Top of The Pops), many videos now target an older group of viewers.

Did you Know? The first music video to be played on MTV was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by Buggles on 1st Aug 1981. The first video played on MTV Europe's launch in 1987 was "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits.

Codes and conventions

dancersMusic videos featuring macho rock stars or rap artists with glamorous female backing groups or dancers have become cultural clichés. On the other hand, some music videos are renowned for their cutting edge techniques and innovative storylines.

Early examples of the genre like Michael Jackson's Thriller (1983), Madonna's Material Girl (1985) or The Boomtown Rats I Don't Like Mondays (1979) have become iconic classics that are rediscovered by each new generation of music lovers.

Bay Watch actor and singer David Hasselhoff's music video for his 2006 release "Jump in my car" is a spoof of this genre in which he sends both himself and many of the film clichés up.


You can view recent music videos at specialized sites like Yahoo Music, YouTube Music or MTV UK:

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