September 25, 2017
Article

The History of Music Videos

The year 1981 gave birth to MTV and launched as a 24/7 music television channel. However, in the beginning MTV had about a hundred promotional clips, as music videos and MTV were forced to go to record labels and ask them to make these videos for free, which they would then go on to screen.

In the 1960’s The Beatles were eager to give their fans a complete audiovisual experience, recording promotional clips that could be shown abroad. They also starred in two full-length films, Help!  and A Hard Day’s Night. Other bands would follow their lead and also make promotional clips in the ’60s and ’70s. David Bowie was also an early-adopter, releasing the video for Space Oddity in 1969.

However, the most significant music video of this era was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which debuted in 1975. When Bohemian Rhapsody rocketed to the top of the charts in Britain, the band were on tour and couldn’t perform on the British music show, Top of the Pops, so they recorded this video to play in their absence.

When MTV officially launched on 1 August 1981 with The Buggles’ Video Killed The Radio Star – the advancement of technology led to a cultural shift and visuals in music, which was established by Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1983.

Peter Gabriel’s 1986 video for Sledgehammer won nine awards at the MTV Music Awards in 1987 — a total that remains, to this date, unsurpassed — and it’s also the most played clip in the history of the channel. The video’s use of Claymation, pixilation and stop motion animation was considered radical at the time.

Film Directors and Music Videos

The mid ’80s-’90s was a boom period for this, with directors like Anton Corbijn (who directed Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box, Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence) Spike Jonze (who directed Beastie Boys’ Sabotage, Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” and Björk’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” amongst others) and David Fincher (who directed Madonna’s Vogue, Jermaine Stewart’s We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off and Aerosmith’s Janie’s Got A Gun). Directors usually took the path of first working in music videos to work their way up to movies.

When MTV moved in to reality TV launching The Real World to insane viewing figures, it saw the decline of music videos.

Revival Of Music Videos

It was the year 2005, when YouTube begun, which was intended to be a way people could share their home videos with each other. In October 2006, YouTube was acquired by Google and in 2009 and the rest is history. From big-budget music videos, no-budget music videos, to user-uploaded content, YouTube has now only revived but revolutionised the way we watch music videos. In 2017, it was revealved that the total number of people who use YouTube is 1,300,000,000, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day.

Interactive Music Videos

Between 2010 – 2015, a high number of high-profile music acts made the most of the Internet by making interactive videos.

Virtual-Reality Music Videos

In 2015 The Weeknd, Björk and U2 all gave us music videos that harnessed elements of virtual reality, with Björk holding her video release in an art gallery and handing out headsets to watch the 360-degree YouTube video.

Today technology like the iPhone means that one doesn’t need to have funding and a camera crew to make legitimate videos. This could be why bigger artists are going for more and more out-there ideas when it comes to their videos.

Thanks to YouTube, the power and appeal of music videos are bigger than ever. Long live music videos!

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September 18, 2017
Article

An Overview on The History of Dance Music – Past to Present

Got 3 mins for a quick history lesson? While we're not going to attempt to name every influential artist, DJ, or single, nor all of dance music's genres and subgenres, below, we take a quick "dummies guide" look at dance music and its origins.

Funk

In the mid-60s, a new style of music called funk emerged. Where in soul music, the melody and lyrics are central, in funk the rhythmic groove is central. The main stress in a funk rhythm is on the first beat of the bar, called "the one", and a repeated pattern of drumbeats and bass lines that creates a groove. Riffs played by guitars and horn-sections add to the groove, and rhythmic vocals and raps can be added as well. A funk groove can continue for a long time without chord changes, and funk songs in the 60s often lasted for ten minutes or more.

Disco

By the early 70s, nightclubs then known as discos were employing DJs to play dance tracks because it was cheaper than hiring a band. At first they played funk and up-tempo soul tracks, but by the mid-70s they started playing tracks with a new rhythm that was easier to dance to. These songs were soon being played in discos all over the world, and a new music genre called disco music was born. Artists like Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, and the Bee Gees had huge disco hits, as did a band formed by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bass player Bernard Edwards called Chic. With Bernard's funky bass lines and Nile's smooth rhythm-guitar playing, they created a style of disco that's still popular among dance-music fans today.

House

In the early 80s a new style of disco called house developed in the gay clubs of New York and Chicago. Like disco, house songs had catchy melodies with lyrics about going out, having fun or making love. Drum machines and synthesizers were often used for house music instead of drum kits and other instruments, although piano remained central in most early house music.

In the late 80s UK artists soon began making house tracks as well, and M|A|R|R|S had a huge hit in 1987 with Pump up the Volume. European artists also produced big house-music hits like Pump Up The Jam by Belgium's Techtronic and Ride On Time by Italy's Black Box.

Techno

Another new genre of dance music called techno developed in Detroit in the mid-late 80s when club DJs began making electronic dance tracks. They used drum machines to create electronic rhythms and synthesizers with keyboards to add chords and melodies. They also began sampling short sections of music from old records, especially short drum breaks. Techno classics from Detroit include Clear by Cybotron, a track based on Kraftwerk samples and melodies, Derrick May's Strings of Life and Inner City's Ain't Nobody Better and Big Fun which were top-ten hits that took techno to the mainstream in 1990.

Trance

In Europe in the early 90s, trance emerged. In trance, techno rhythms are mixed with layers of dreamy electronic sound; with most tracks building to a climax followed by a breakdown in which the beats stop but the dreamy electronic sounds continue. Good examples of early trance include Jam and Spoon's single Stella, Hallucinogen's album Twisted, and Robert Miles' chart-topping album Dreamland that took trance to the mainstream in 1996. Most early trance music didn't include vocals, but in the early 2000s vocal trance became popular, with the likes of Oceanlab's 2008 album Sirens of the Sea, Armin van Buuren and others.

Dance Pop

Electronic Dance Music (aka EDM) has had a huge influence on pop music over the last 30 years, and pop stars and EDM producers often work together to create dance-pop tracks. EDM artists sometimes invite pop singers and musicians to perform on tracks they've created using the pop-music formula. French EDM "robots" Daft Punk did this in 2013 when they invited Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers and R&B singer Pharrell Williams to perform on their disco-revival song Get Lucky, one of the biggest hits of the mid-2010s.

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September 13, 2017
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September 13, 2017
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