Monday, 1 April 2013

Music Videos, New Media and Dancehall Artistes

A music video, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary is “a videotaped performance of a recorded popular song, usually accompanied by dancing and visual images interpreting the lyrics. Usually three to five minutes long, music videos typically feature quick cuts, computer graphics, and fanciful or erotic imagery.”

Music videos have come to play a huge part in the lives of most, if not all dancehall artistes. So much so that on many occasions they shoot videos right after recording songs so as to enable them to release both at the same time as opposed to just releasing the song, getting feedback from fans then deciding whether or not to shoot a video, which is the norm. Fans or critics give feedback by commenting on the videos. This allows the artistes an opportunity to see what their fans and critics think about what they have uploaded and either stay the same or improve for the next to come.

Popcaan - So We Do It Official Video

Comments from Popcaan - So We Do It Official Video

Prior to the advent of new media and the rapid advancements in technology as it relates to music videos,  YouTube and the internet at large, artistes focused most of their time and energy on production and the selling of records as it was a much more tedious process than that of today. Most of their energy was exerted in the studio mastering their craft with their producers and working on strategies to promote their music in an attempt to boost their sales. 

Bob Marley in Studio

With the introduction of new media, artistes have been forced to keep up with the advancement in technology. This has seen them creating YouTube channels so as to, not only gain income but also to gain popularity and so, go viral. Also, they are forced to purchase the latest in technology (iPhones etc.) so that they can stay connected with fans via various social media such as Instagram, Twitter and FaceBook etc. On many occasions, they use these various social media to promote not only their music but also their music videos. They do this by posting a link to their YouTube channel and inviting fans to subscribe and watch and like their videos.

New media has made promotion cheaper for many dancehall artistes as it costs nothing for them to post their work on the Internet. Though it is cheaper, it is very time consuming so many of them hire people to control their social media pages on their behalf connecting with fans and gaining popularity. This reduces the work for advertisers and traditional media outlets because the inclination of technology has eliminated the need for them as artistes can now do that work themselves at a cheaper cost, if any at all.

The idea of artistes “going viral” involves the rapid spread of information about a product or service by viral marketing techniques which involves methods of product promotion that relies on getting customers to market an idea, product, or service on their own by telling their friends about it, usually by email, or social media.

In an article posted on March 11, 2013 in The Star Cashflow Xtreme, one of the main directors behind the new promotional strategy, stated that "the videos, which use raunchy scenes to promote songs on YouTube, can be more effective than commercial television." He also agrees with the fact that local video directors use female-led music videos to promote songs on
 Some of the dancehall artiste that conform to this new promotional strategy are Popcaan, BeenieMan, Vybz Kartel, and Sean Paul just to name a few.

New media has also forced artistes to be more creative so as to play in the hands of critics, satisfy fans and gain more popularity. It also opens a medium for new competition in a market which may or may not be new to them. By forcing them to be creative it allows them to set themselves apart from others in the industry and even other industries and gain fans from other markets and genres since the world wide web is accessible to almost everyone. Music videos allow fans to not only hear but see. It appeals to their different senses and plays on their imagination whether the video effectively capture what the song is saying or not. By effectively relating the video to their lyrics, artistes stand a better chance of arousing their fans and gaining popularity from media critics and entertainment talk show hosts. Artistes have started to use skits throughout their videos as a form of entertainment to give their video an edge over the many others that they have to compete with.

New Media is very difficult to regulate and monitor, especially when compared to traditional media so it has been advised that artistes be mindful of what they post on the Internet so as to protect the interest of not only children but people of different race, class and so on. Many times they fail to do this and are criticized by the public and media houses simply because they believe "bad publicity is better than no publicty". Though tis might be true, good publicity is always better than bad. One example of this is Konshens and Leftside's "Clap That Booty" which had scenes shot in a popular exotic dance club in Jamaica showcasing dancers' in the nude.

 Artistes that are used to working with traditional media have found themselves getting accustomed to new media in an effort to stay current in the Jamaican Music Industry and the world at large. Being that music videos play a very important part of their lives with the transformation from traditional media to new media, ancient artistes who insist on remaining current need to be up-to-date with the media and technology of today.

Grammy winning, international dancehall artiste, Beenie Man has had no issues with keep up with what is required of new media as it relates to music videos. Ninja Man on the other hand was never one to shoot music videos and keep up with any advancements in technology but today, under the management of Joseph Bogdanovich of DownSound Records, we see the combination of Ninja Man and up-coming artiste Specialist shooting a video for their new song which speaks to the difference between old and new artistes.

Music videos have become such an important part of the music industry so that even though Vybz Kartel has been incarcerated for some time, producers of his songs still upload videos of his songs to youtube so that though he can't be physically present, his presence can still be seen, heard and felt.

That being said, it would be difficult for artistes to stay current without the use of music videos with the transformation from traditional media to new media.

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