Are music videos still relevant in 2021?

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I cannot remember the last time I sat and watched a full music video. Gone are the days of coming home from school and switching on the music channels or scrolling through all the latest music videos on YouTube. As technology has advanced, people have turned to listening to music on streaming platforms such as Spotify. In most cases, going to YouTube to watch the music video of the song you are listening to is not something that even crosses people’s minds. Why is this the case? Are we nearing the end of the music video era? 

I think that modern technology has largely impacted the decline in music video interest. In the past, listening to music was something you had to put more effort into, whether that was buying CDs, putting on your favourite radio stations or downloading songs onto your iPod. These days, millions of people just put in their wireless earphones and press play. With millions of songs at our fingertips at all times, listening to music is something that we can do with ease. On top of this, smart speakers in people’s homes further eliminate the necessity to watch music videos. 

Thanks to their busy lifestyles, some people may feel as though they aren’t gaining enough from a music video to sit and watch it in its entirety. Many people, particularly the younger generations, have become used to short, entertaining and fast paced clips on the likes of TikTok and Instagram. With this comes a decrease in attention span. To add to this, the ease of music streaming on platforms such as Spotify has meant that people can now listen to music anytime and anywhere. In some ways, music has become more of a background noise which can be used to accompany one’s activities such as a walk or a study session. The act of sitting down to watch a music video is becoming a less frequent occurrence in most people’s lives.  

Some would suggest that the quality and production of music videos has decreased in recent years. Although we have more advanced technology and more opportunities than ever before, some artists may choose other areas to divert the large chunk of their budget into. This being said, I think music videos are still valuable and will probably never fully go extinct. Although they are less popular, I think they are still a work of art and offer a unique perspective into the artist’s mind. 

I can’t think of a single video as iconic as ‘Wrecking Ball’ that has come out since 2013

There are some iconic music videos which immediately come to mind when hearing a song: just think of ‘Thriller,’ ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, or even ‘Wrecking Ball’. In fact, I can’t think of a single video as iconic as ‘Wrecking Ball’ that has come out since 2013. In my eyes, this is a clear indicator that the quality of well thought out and impactful videos has largely decreased in recent decades. 

The best music streaming platforms for 2021

There are several reasons why music videos are still important, even if they are not as popular. For one, it gives the artists a chance to express their creativity and bring some visual visions of the song to life. The production of music videos also helps producers and directors get noticed in the world of media. Music videos often reach millions if not billions of people, so it is a great way to get exposure for everyone in the entertainment industry, not just the artists. 

It has been suggested that the pandemic is a good time to bring music videos back to life. During the numerous lockdowns, we have all been looking for entertainment from the comfort of our homes. Music videos are a good option as they are so diverse; there truly is something for everyone. On top of this, music videos are very easy to share on social media and they help to bring the community of listeners together. I think that music videos will never die out completely, instead we will learn and adapt to digest and share them in different ways than before. 

The future of music videos remains uncertain. I think that they will never be as popular as they used to be. Instead, we are seeing new visual stimuli, such as cover art on Spotify and social media content from our favourite artists. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your opinion of the relevance of music videos. 

(Photo: Viktor Szabo, Unsplash)

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