Are Music Videos Promotional Devices or Products in Themselves  Term Paper

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Music Videos Promotional Devices or Products in Themselves

Music Videos: Promotional Device or Separate Product?

Music videos are constructed in many different ways, but many of them involve the artist and others singing and dancing to specific songs. Some also tell stories or provide other background dealings that make the music video much like a television program. An example of this would be Michael Jackson's 'Thriller,' which was a very long video that involved much storytelling and other information as opposed to just the song. Some of these story type videos are still done today but this seems to be more popular in country music that it does in rock-and-roll.

No matter what genre is dealt with, however, the debate as to whether music videos are promotional devices or a separate product in and of themselves has been continuing for many years. In 1981 music television first began broadcasting music videos 24 hours a day across the nation. It has grown to such an extent that it is almost constantly associated with pop culture in today's young people and over 28 million individuals watch music television in the United States in any given week. In Europe that number increases to 39 million. Music videos also cost record companies a great deal as these companies spend over $50 million every year to create and produce music videos. However, while many would believe that music videos are a separate product, evidence would indicate that this is not the case.

Music videos are designed primarily as promotional devices and they influence the culture of individuals and their social interests. Pop culture expects music videos and these videos reshape how individuals think about music and how they think about television. Videos have such a strong influence on everything from movies to commercials that the young people in America and across the world today would not know what to do without music television and videos. Much of the reason that this is the case is that music videos tend to involve the audience in a way that regular television shows and music CDs cannot do. Because music videos are very artistic and impressionistic they are open to interpretation by the audience in a way that other genres are not. Because there is so much meaning they can be taken from many of these videos individuals who watch them are not only interested in seeing the video that comes along with the music but learning all of the little innuendos and other issues that come along with specific music videos.

Many see music videos as a promotional tool but also as an argument to the fact that communication is a social action and mass communication is a way to get individuals and audiences to participate actively in the communication that these individuals see and hear in the media that they are involved with. They view the contents of music videos and they construct various meanings based on what they have seen. Because of this the process is interactive and as this process has gone on there is meaning that is delivered to various things that are seen and heard throughout the video. There are meanings that were created by those who designed and produced the music video, but there are also meanings beyond these created by the observer of the video.

How the particular person who views the music video interprets it and what it means to them is an important part of research into this issue. Perception is the most important thing because those who are viewing the music video will be the ones who will be possibly purchasing the CD or buying the clothes that looks similar to what the individual is wearing for the video. Because of this, it is extremely important that how music videos make others react be understood and how these videos promote various artists, their lifestyles, and other items also...
...One of the most important roles is seeing music video as promotion and argument. How something is interpreted by a receiver compared against the intent of the creator and the content of the message is very important in social action theory. The interaction of communication between these various things is what makes this theory valid. This looks at a thorough argument that is centered around the audience and looks at it in three separate ways: The arguments that are perceived and judged by individuals who receive them; the arguments are created by the actors or producers of a particular thing; and the arguments that occur in communication based on the process of interacting with one another and the message that was given regardless of what the sender and receiver may feel.

Music Videos as Promotional Devices

Music video has only strongly existed since MTV was created. There were music videos available before then, but MTV actually brought these videos to the forefront of many individuals' homes and experiences and showcased them in the way that no other show had done before. There has been a great deal written on music videos and the music video industry since it has become so popular and analyzing or critiquing MTV, the music industry, and music videos in general has also become highly popular for many. Unfortunately, most of the studies that have been done do not deal with the audience. In other words, the way about the audience who views the music video perceives the video and the content that is being portrayed have not been studied.

This makes it difficult to determine whether music videos are actually designed for promotion or whether they are utilized as separate products. This is largely due to the fact that music videos that are designed for separate products in themselves and not for promotion may not be seen that way by other individuals. Because of this they may be assumed to be the promotional material when they are not originally designed that way. In order to understand popular culture and to get a better understanding of contemporary society today and an understanding of music videos and other cultural issues it is very important that this understanding must not come from the side of those who create the videos and what they are trying to say but from the side of those who watch the videos and what they believe the individuals were trying to say.

There has been some research on music videos which focuses on how the audience feels about the videos that it sees and most of this has been in political work. There have also been many that have dealt with the social influence of many music videos and the potential that these videos have to influence different parts of society. Descriptive studies have also been done that analyze the content of various music videos and these music videos have been investigated in various ways. Much of what is analyzed in music videos when they are examined has to do with gender, sex, and violence. It has been determined by some that have studied the issue that nearly 60% of music videos today portray sexual activity in some way and slightly over 50% show violence or criminal activity of some type. Other studies have looked at music videos and used a coding procedure to look at violence and sexual elements as well as the outlets for the music and the general trends in videos.

These studies have indicated that violent behavior and sexual activity have occurred in over 55% of the videos that they viewed. It appears that music videos have a relatively high degree of sexism and most women in music videos are used only for decoration. Many of these videos also look toward material wealth and luxury as being the only things that are important and tend to glorify these habits and ideas. While females in music videos do not appear as victims of violent acts nearly as often as males, over 60% of the videos that were studied did have violence or aggression in them in some way. Many videos also contain information that relates to issues that most would consider controversial. However, these studies only examined what they felt was in the video based on these issues and not whether those who viewed the video also shared this opinion of the messages that they saw.

It appears, however, that the content of music videos is quite often considered to be more than simply entertainment. It appears that videos are promotional material only, at least in the opinions of many of those that study it. However, the concern becomes not only whether the music video is only promotional but what types of behavior the video appears to be promoting. Naturally, the video is designed to promote the artist and his or her music, but it would appear that violence and other issues are also being promoted in the videos of many individuals today. There…

Sources Used in Documents:

Kaplan, 1987

Fiske, 1986

Kaplan, 1987

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