The music video / CWC, Zonta events


The following essay written by Joseph R. Atilano, an authority on popular music, has relevance to the just-concluded International Jazz Festival, the first-ever to be held in the country.

Music videos have changed our perception of how we enjoy music in more ways than one, changed the music industry and become a new marketing tool for artists to showcase their musical chops and overall look. The music video can be defined in a number of ways; it is considered to be a short performance or a montage of scenes.

When music videos first got widely introduced and received worldwide recognition during the early ’80s with the launch of MTV, it was nothing short of revolutionary for the music industry. Prior to the appearance of music videos, the record industry was experiencing a slump and decline in record sales. Dozens of artists got their first major breaks through the platform of music videos and it helped build the careers of a lot of struggling artists when they needed exposure. In some cases, it became their platform for success. While music videos became a new marketing tool for the record industries to present their talents, it did not always serve the best interest of the artists though. In some cases if the artist lacked credibility in the talent department, the video director would rather emphasize and focus on the appearance of the artists and for the music video to gather greater audiences not necessarily to listen to the song but to view again and again the visual imagery.

Ever since the inception of MTV in 1981, it provided a new way for us to appreciate music and it has greatly benefitted the artists because it garnered for them huge sales and popularity. In some cases, a number of artists got a major boost in their careers through music videos. MTV was a first for the music industry, being the first channel with its format dedicated to playing music videos 24/7. This was during an era when it wasn’t all about reality shows and specials like those frequently shown nowadays, because the ’80s was a time of rapid changes and developments in the music industry. The music gurus, corporate heads and artists themselves realized how important a role the music channel platform would play in every artist’s career later on and we are currently witness to that. Now the listeners and viewers are not only able to know the song but are also able to recognize the artists as well — primarily because of how they look and present themselves.

Another major benefit of music videos is the use of product placement. A lot of viewers are influenced to buy something an artist wears or uses. Perfect examples of this are cellphones and clothes. Music videos have also become avenues to advertising and promoting products out there in the market. Promoters and corporations know and realize that listeners of music channels mainly range from teenagers to young adults and that the age bracket is where most of the views and sales come from. Thus, they are the demographic age target.

These days, the way we perceive music videos has changed a lot and it is because we sometimes can no longer really appreciate the song, our attention being focused on the music video itself. Music purists have debated and argued that the truest form of music-making was prior to the invention of music videos. I do not agree with them because without music videos we wouldn’t discover a lot of talents and we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefit of not only hearing the artists but also watching them as well.

A perfect case of this is YouTube which got launched in 2005. It became the easiest and most convenient way to watch any music video, YouTube having practically every music video ever made and the biggest archive to date. While YouTube has led to the decline of viewership and ratings of MTV in the States primarily, it has NOT taken away from the viewership the enjoyment of any music video they wish to watch. I myself find YouTube very useful and helpful. When advances in technology are used right, they can be very beneficial to the user. In terms of memory recall, we sometimes remember the video more than the song. That is both a good and a bad thing.

It is not often that the music video is as good as the song or vice versa, because music videos can reflect the meaning of the song and what the artist is trying to convey to us viewers, while not all can achieve that feat, though some can. It was not always about the usage of excessive female sex appeal, suggestive themes and racy scenes that so pushed the limits of censorship that even parents got concerned with what their kids were watching and listening to. I understand the concern; even I would feel the same if I were a parent. It is hard not to criticize artists whose music videos have no redeemable value and objective. In some instances, I find it better to just listen to the song instead of watching a video of mix-match ideas which attempt to be “artistic” or “different”.

Just as we take the good with the bad, we can’t always get what we expect and everybody has his own tastes and preferences. Just to make it clear, I am referring to some foreign artists who are really too bizarre for my taste and I’m not saying all foreign music videos have no redeemable value and objective. In fact, there are dozens of music videos that have become classics and have been etched in our memories forever like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, R.E.M.’s ‘Losing My Religion”, U2’s “With or Without You”, and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, to name a few.

Watching music videos has already become part of everyday life and I can’t imagine how the music landscape would be without it!

CWC ‘Extravaganza’

The 90-year old Catholic Women’s Club will hold “Extravaganza” tonight at 6 at the Rizal Ballroom, Shangri-La Hotel, Makati.

Proceeds will benefit the Vocational and Scholarship and Environmental Stewardship Program and other beneficiaries of the club.

Zonta Bazaar 2011

The Zonta Club of Makati and Environs, Inc. with Woman Today will hold “Christmas in September”, the Zonta Club’s annual bazaar, on Sept. 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Rockwell Tent, Makati City.

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