When you watch a really well-produced music video, it’s a reminder of how powerful visuals can be.
Check out the video to Love Love – the best UK Gospel video produced this year, we reckon. Or Where You Are by Ekklesia, which won the Best Video prize at the Premier Gospel Awards. One shows super-crazy levels of creativity to give personality and fun to an already great track. The other brings an almost cinematic feel that tugs at the heartstrings. It brings the song to somewhere you wouldn’t immediately visualise when just hearing the audio.
But not every music video is that much of a artistic masterpiece. And not everyone has the means to make videos of that calibre.
It’s a waste of money isn’t it?
Here’s the issue. A well-made music video costs a lot of money to make. There’s no way of getting around it. So if you’re a cash-strapped musician (as many are) it’s yet another expense to add the already huge list of management, studio time, musicians, marketing, production etc. And if so many pre-MTV artists could get away with skipping the video storyboarding stage, it’s understandable why some don’t bother with it now.
Then there’s the argument that if the track is so great, it shouldn’t need a video. It should be able to stand alone. After all, don’t a lot of videos draw the attention away from the God we’re singing about anyway?
But the counterpoint is this. If we were to tell you about a new breakthrough artist you should check out, the place you’d probably go first is YouTube. You’d look for their songs, their performances – even their vlogs. Most mainstream artists are all over YouTube, even if they don’t have an official channel or Vevo account. It’s usually a mixture of badly made picture montages that fans have put together for tracks and dodgy live performance videos shot by cheap camera phones.
In light of this, here’s the important point.
If you are a recording artist, you will eventually end up on YouTube. The question is, will you be the one to control your presence with well-produced content or will you leave it to others? Fans might have the best will in the world but they will never take your ministry or your career as seriously as you do. Getting into the music video game will help elevate your music online – and everywhere else for that matter.
It’s still a pig
You’ve probably heard the analogy: you can put lipstick on a pig but at the end of the day it’s still a pig. We’re being wonderfully tactful right now. The mistake that some make is that they use a video to mask a mediocre track. You can use Spielberg if you want but a top drawer track should always come first. Given the choice, we’d rather stare at a blank screen while listening to a stunning song. The video can always come later.
So do we always need music videos? The short answer is no. But their importance is growing, even if you never get played on TV. Listeners expect it and it’s in an artist’s interest to think about some sort of visuals. But at the centre should be a meaningful song that doesn’t need a video as a crutch.
Our pick of the bunch