Videos Distract from the Music

Thriller stillPersonally I think pictures are a distraction from the music. I don’t watch the pics when listening to music videos, especially with music I’ve never heard before. A poor storyboard, actor you don’t like, or just about anything that for some reason doesn’t fit with the music, adversely affects your impression of the music.

Music and videos are all about personal taste. So why risk affecting each potential fan’s first impressions?   And psychologically, why limit the imagination of the listener by preventing them from generating their own mental images as they listen your music? The imagination is always going to be more powerful.

And while a really great video might boost a mediocre song, it doesn’t make the music any better.  The music video industry started in order to create an extra product to sell along with the record; and was soon just part of the launch of every new record and artist.  And equally obvious to musicians,  it’s got nothing to do with the music. (Although Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, including all his dancing, is thought by some to have created an art form in itself. I don’t, as this looks to me like a dance routine in a musical.)

But assuming we all still subscribe to the need to accompany the release of new tracks with videos…   we need in my opinion, to use one of the songwriter “rules” – that complexity of lyrics should be accompanied by simplicity of music and vice versa.

I’d say a great song needs only to be accompanied by… itself; but if a video is required, something very simple that isn’t going to distract.  This is a challenge for the video-maker – to fit in, contribute without taking over, and above all not distract.