Music has had a history of transition. At first we had just music. We judged it purely on the basis of what we heard. But then that was not enough. One did not need to just sound good to be a good musician, performance too was critical. Live shows became the test for that, be it on TV shows or a live tour. But one had to wait a long time to be a witness of that and what happens when the number of artists increase and each of them compete for a finite fan base out there?
That’s where MTV came in and the music video was born. It was a brilliant way for artists to market their music and acquire a fan base even if they were performing miles away from them. Basic performances took a much more creative approach and most music was launched with a video. Michael Jackson took music videos to another dimension by including renowned actors and awesome special effects to create a story of sorts for each of his videos. I recollect getting together at a friend's place to watch the launch of his music video ‘Remember The Time’ on MTV (when most of us did not get the channel). It was an event that was talked about for weeks to come.
But nowadays just making a music video is just not enough. Today it's all about collaboration. The internet gives us a platform to enable that. A few visionaries in the business are starting a revolution, and I hope it catches on. Sadly though the mainstream artists are still not on the bandwagon.
I remember that a while back Pentagram did take a step towards this direction and I thought it was bold for the time but very insightful. Pentagram’s Music Video for the Voice was made up of various fans lip-syncing the track. A good track and a great concept. Vishal Dadlani, the lead singer of the band followed up on interactive music 3 years later when he teamed up with Shekhar Ravjiani (Vishal-Shekhar) to perform at a live web concert where they took requests from fans that phoned in.
One Artist that stands out in collaborative music is ‘Sour’, an indie rock group from Japan. These guys have struck the right formula by adding the right mix of interactivity into their music videos. The track ‘Hibi no neiro’ had a brilliant ensemble of fans using their webcams to create one of the most awesome collaborative videos I have seen till date (clearly an inspiration of the McVities ad).
For their next, ‘Mirror’, they took it to another dimension by adding the users Twitter account, GPS location and Webcam activated into their video, giving a new meaning to interactive/personalized music video. You can experience the same here.
Most recently, the indie rock band OK GO and Pilobolus came up with a Google Chrome experiment that showed the brilliant capabilities of HTML5 and the browser. If you do have the browser installed you can experience it here.
Else, you can watch the non-interactive version video below that would make you want to download the browser to experience the interactive version.
When you have finally downloaded the browser you might want to experience Arcade Fire’s track ‘The Wilderness Downtown’, again created for Google Chrome - http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/
Technology will give rise to possibilities of co-creation and collaboration and we will see a rise of a new form of promotion in the music video space. After all, wouldn't you feel more intrigued and attentive when the video was made for you.
Carlton D’Silva is the Creative Director at Hungama Digital Media and has spent over 15 years in the digital space. He takes insult when you call the digital medium new media…15 years should be old enough! Find him on twitter @TheWordOfGawd