The Democratization of Music Videos

We can all stop making jokes about MTV not playing music videos anymore.

As my colleagues John Nolte and Christian Toto have been pointing out for a long time now, Internet streaming is eroding the corrupt business model of cable subscriptions, slowly but surely, when it comes to teleplay and film distribution. The same has been happening with music videos.

The Internet filled the music video niche rather quickly, as cable had neglected it for so long. YouTube in particular became a hot spot for sharing old recorded videos, and current artists began uploading their own videos to share directly with fans. Now, with companies such as VEVO allowing consumers to stream music videos on demand through devices like Roku, the art form is not only thriving but artists are pushing beyond its conventions.

Take, for instance, this short film released Monday by the band Beach House. It’s a near-half-hour “concert film” of sorts, with the band playing four songs live at different locations over the course of a night in various Texas locations.

While Beach House has a large enough profile to land an SNL gig, I’m sure their name elicits a “who?” among many of our readers. But just think: what platinum-selling artist from the ’80s or ’90s could pull off a project this ambitious and indulgent, let alone one who had never gone gold? 

The freedom of Internet streaming, coupled with the plummeting cost of video equipment needed to produce such high-quality footage, means artists don’t need to go through gatekeepers such as cable executives, who would never find time to broadcast such a niche video. We can expect very exciting times in the near future as artists continue to explore these new avenues of content distribution.