5 Music Videos That Changed The Industry

Music videos have always been a crucial part of the music industry. They have helped popularize songs, advertising the artists, and their music. Over time, music videos have evolved from simple performance footage to intricate productions that tell stories or showcase artistic vision. Many music videos have impacted the music industry. Here are five of the most influential music videos that changed the industry and continue to influence music videos to this day:

1. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

“Thriller,” directed by John Landis and released in 1983, is the most iconic music video of its time. The 14-minute horror video began a new era by being a short film as well as a music video. It set new boundaries in terms of creativity and professionalism in videos. With a budget of $1 million, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video was very expensive for its time, and it raised the bar for future music videos.

The “Thriller” music video defined the expectations for music videos from that point forward. It established a new generation of music lovers worldwide and redefined the term “music video” from a framework of indulgent visuals instead of basic performance video footage. There was dancing, makeup, costumes, and special effects that set new standards of production for music videos. It is still a favorite and nearly impossible to forget, even after all these years.

2. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Released in 1991, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” directed by Samuel Bayer was significant to the Grunge rock music era. The music video was shot in a high school gym for just $50,000, a minimal amount compared to “Thriller.” The video featured a performance that was pure and raw and not the flamboyant acts of the ’80s that people have become accustomed to.

The video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is widely regarded as one of the most iconic and influential music videos in history. The dirty and gritty imagery of the video matched perfectly with the sludgy, loud, and rebellious sounds of Nirvana’s music, paving the way for alternative rock in the mainstream.

3. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” directed by Francis Lawrence and released in 2009, is a futuristic tech playground. The production was worth $480,000 and encompassed dancers dressed in bizarrely elaborate garments to a whole new level.  Lady Gaga refused to be restricted by perfectionistic thoughts, and this may be the reason for her having the most visually innovative videos.

“Bad Romance” is an excellent example of how creativity can dominate music videos. It pushed the limits of production by using intense choreography and highlighting Lady Gaga’s artistic vision. “Bad Romance” is a testament to Lady Gaga’s iconic status in the music industry and to the concept of music videos as a powerful marketing tool.

4. “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel

One of the most technologically advanced and groundbreaking music videos of all time is Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer.” Directed by Stephen R. Johnson and released in 1986, the music video was shot using stop-motion animation, mixing live footage with other techniques. The video production cost $250,000, making it very expensive, yet it won a record-breaking nine MTV Video Music Awards that year.

The use of stop-motion animation was new at that time. The animation technique made the music video unique and breathtaking with its creativity, visuals, and production, and it gave a whole new meaning to the concept of music videos.

5. “This Is America” by Childish Gambino

Donald Glover, also known by his stage name Childish Gambino, directed Hiro Murai’s “This Is America,” which surprised the music world. Released in 2018, the music video went viral instantly, and it tackled social and political issues. The video effectively showed the brutal reality of black people in America using shocking and thought-provoking imagery.

The music video was considered a defining moment in the music industry for being creatively radical and politically vocal. It helped redefine music videos as a tool for activism, amplified by its discussion of racial inequality and police brutality. The impact of “This Is America” can still be seen in music videos today.

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