In 2012 we a constantly being fed media through our TVs, radio's, mobile phones and internet. From the big screen to hand held devices, we are the information generation. With this reality comes opportunity for music to be expressed though more than just audio formats, and with cheaply available software and means to record visuals we see a greater influx of independent music video.
Recently receiving the video below for Organic homeboy FD's track "Stripped" which is out now on Warm Communications I delved into the roots and modern context of the music video.
Although coming to prominence in the 1980's largely through MTV, the origins of the music video go further back with 6 minute musical films dating back to as early as the 1900's. A period that became known as the phonescene era. Moving into the second half of the 20th century, the concept of a promotional video comes more directly to the fore in may ways due to the widespread ownership of television.
The real tipping point in a modern context comes from the internet and cheaply available user friendly video software... There is enough free software on a Macbook to create homemade video productions. So it is a small jump to realize the the possibilities and potential for completely independent wide spread promotional video content.
I remember seeing music videos for commercially successful drum & bass tracks during the 90's from the likes of Goldie, Roni Size and Grooverider. But in every instance they were tracks signed to major or mini major labels with the front and depth of pocket to warrant the expense. Today however, spending an hour on facebook I am likely to come across 4-5 independently produced music videos from within the genre. As I write this article I can immediately think of several I have seen this week from Metalheadz, Critical, Subtitles and Autonomic. In many ways, a high quality independent music video has become the forerunner to a relatively commercially successful 170 bpm track.
In the back of my mind, I also know that this additional level of promotion is entirely necessary due to the devaluation of music through its changing format. However at the same time it has created the avenue for a multi sensory experience of underground music.