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Country Music in Video

todayMay 14, 2022 8

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Dirt Road FM is ever evolving in its effort to be “your home for everything country music.” Not only does it offer a streaming radio station online and through TuneIn, it also has a weekly podcast, news articles, and most recently, a place on its website for music videos! Why would a country radio station have music videos? After all, we all remember when the Buggles told us “video killed the radio star” back in 1980.

What do Videos Have to Do with Music?

Music videos have been an important role in how an artist connects with their audience. Of course, music videos are a great marketing tool for increasing the artist’s exposure. How many songs are known worldwide simply because their video went viral? OK GO’s “Here It Goes Again” probably would not have gained its popularity had it not been for an intricate treadmill video on YouTube introducing the song to millions. Taylor Swift’s music videos make headlines as much as the singles themselves.

It is much more than marketing though. A music video becomes a visual expression of the song. It allows the artist’s vision for the song to be displayed in a multi-dimensional form. A music video helps the fan have a more personal connection with the artist. Even when someone can’t see an artist perform live, the video format opens up a visual opportunity to experience all the artist offers.

Evolution of the Modern Day Music Video

When it first aired in March of 1983, Country Music Television (more popularly known as CMT) was a station that played 24 hours of videos showcasing country music. The first videos to air were two performance clips: Faron Young’s “It’s Four in the Morning” and Mickey Gilley’s “Stand by Me.” The first conceptual video was “The Matador” by Sylvia. Music videos evolved over the next decade from scenes of the artist playing at a show to a thematic four-minute movie. There was a time in the 80s and 90s when every song release had to include a music video. Award shows were created just to celebrate the art form. Studios poured millions of dollars into a single video for an artist’s latest single.

As with any industry though, things changed. If you were to turn on CMT or MTV now, you’d be hard-pressed to find a music video unless it was a specifically designated time. Popularity waned after the heyday in the 80s and 90s. Only artists with a large budget from a studio could make videos worth finding airtime, leaving out the majority of artists.

That is until a website called YouTube became popular. When the platform was introduced in 2005, every artist had access to an outlet to distribute and showcase their music in a visual way. The independent band could create a video with their personal camcorder on the same platform as the videos created by labels who could hire film directors and employ special effects. Once social media became accessible to the public, and phones held cameras and video editing software, anybody could make a video and distribute it to at least as many people as were on their friend list. Now, thanks to TikTok and shortening attention spans, short clips of songs are what is popular.

Technology will continue to influence how artists share their music with an audience. Music videos may have changed over time, but fans can be confident they will always have some version of this format as a way to experience an artist’s music.

Written by: Jordan DeWald

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