Indie Music Videos
The Gifts of the Internet
Independent music videos were popular in the 1980s, but the 1990s were full of mostly main stream videos. These days, the ability to produce independent videos has advanced to the point that new artists are constantly emerging onto the music video scene.
Not only is it easier for independent artists to make music videos, but now there is a better platform to launch them: the internet. Websites like YouTube and MySpace make it easier for indie filmmakers and musicians to promote their work without a mainstream deal or label.
Back in the Day
Before everyday people had the technology available to make their own videos, working on or starring in a music video basically meant you were working with a “star.” Only the chosen few were able to make them, and hardly any got to make more than one video. Major record labels have viewed the videos as a marketing tool to present their artists.
But today, with the availability of filming equipment and the broadcasting launch pad of the internet, it is easier for artists to create more independents videos. At the same time, these indie music videos are becoming more and more popular.
The Seattle Scene
Zia Mohaherhasbi, a Seattle music video director, made a video for a local hip hop duo’s anti-war song. Blue Scholar’s “Back Home” has almost 90,000 views on YouTube as of March of 2008, less than a year after it was posted. The song is about bringing U.S. soldiers in Iraq back home. The video shows images of women and children in a minority community to highlight the message of the song. Not only does the video show the success an indie music video can have, but it also highlights how controversial images and ideas have more freedom than n the main stream, major labels will allow.
Indie directors and producers like Mohajerjasbi don’t have the kind of funding that major labels do to produce their videos, so they have to rely on volunteers. Film students are often eager to work on these projects for the experience. Cities, like Seattle where there is a big independent culture, also helps the production of these videos with volunteered time and donations.
Although most independent music videos operate on low budgets, which can affect quality, the freedom of performance makes up for it. Indie videos might not be as well known as what is shown on TRL, but they tend to be more artistically and message driven. Can you imagine what an indie video would be like with a major budget behind it?