Dua Lipa, Beyoncé and the art of music videos

New Rules: Dua Lipa’s distinctive music videos have been instrumental to her success.

Should music videos count towards the charts? Teeming with social commentary and dynamic self-expression, music videos are having a heyday. For others, they are a big-budget distraction.

In 2004, the Official Charts Company (OCC) started including song downloads in the charts. Streaming was included a decade later, and now music videos are being counted too.

“The way that music fans are consuming music is changing by the month,” the OCC argues. It say it is anachronistic to only count song plays when so much streaming is through YouTube.

Dua Lipa was already established in the UK when New Rules came out in 2017 but had struggled to make an impact in America. After the release of the song’s unique music video, the hit began to climb the Billboard Charts. Dua Lipa’s status as the creator of one of 2017’s most streamed music videos cemented her as a huge star.

Increasingly, innovative music videos are breaking the internet and traditional song releases cannot compete. Childish Gambino’s This Is America, which includes scenes of real-life violence against black people, sparked debate across the globe.

In their latest video, The Carters danced around the Louvre, while Drake gave out bundles of money in God’s Plan. And some 73% of teenagers now say music videos are the best way for artists to show their creative vision.

But what about artists without the funding for flashy videos? Including videos could reinforce the idea that the charts are the preserve of the musical elite.

Should music videos count towards the charts?

Video killed the radio star

Of course, say some. Videos are increasingly shaping our perception of music, only philistines would dismiss their relevance. The charts will become irrelevant if they don’t move with the times.

No, argue others. This trend for big-budget videos is taking away from the authentic experience of music and uses cheap tricks to boost mediocre songs. From now on, only artists with millions to spend will dominate the charts.

You Decide

  1. Should music videos count towards the charts?

Activities

  1. What do the best music videos have in common? Write down three common features and discuss them in a group.

Some People Say...

“There’s not a lot of pop music in the mainstream that makes you feel scared.”

Prince

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
The Official Chart Company now counts streams and downloads of music videos towards the official UK charts. Unofficial videos and user-created content featuring songs will not count.
What do we not know?
The effect the change will have on the charts. The OCC insists it has measures in place to stop the change disproportionately benefiting artists with big budgets.

Word Watch

Official Charts Company
The body responsible for compiling the charts.
Anachronistic
Belonging to a different period of time.
Most streamed music videos
According to Forbes, the most streamed video was Despacito by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee.
Real-life violence
The video references a number of recent violent events in the US.
The Carters
Jay-Z and Beyoncé recently released an album together.
73% of teenagers
Vevo surveyed its users last August.
Philistines
Someone who is hostile and indifferent to culture and the arts.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.