Thursday, 26 March 2015

In Depth Artist Case Study


Muse are an English rock based band originating from Devon. There styles consist of a mix of genres such as, space rock, alternative rock, progressive rock, alternative rock, hard rock, symphonic rock and electronica.

Muse's music videos are generally a mixture of conceptual  and the three band members singing and playing the song. It shows them in differing locations, not having any link to the song being played. Also the concepts they use do not generally match the music that is being played, but just act to look cool and make the music video more enjoyable and interesting. An example of this is the song 'Supremacy' during this video the group are seen performing a garage setting and amphitheatre. Along side this there are surfers with their faces painted like skulls which gives a surreal theme, which seems to be a recurring theme throughout their music videos.

Despite this, Muse do have a number of music videos where there is more of a concept rather than just them performing, but the video still doesn't really match with the song. For example, 'Knights of Cydonia' is set in the Wild West, but the song itself doesn't actually match a western theme. The video was actually published by Warner Brothers Records, which instantly makes people think of the film studio, therefore it reinforces the contextual theme behind the video.

Muse often do music for film productions, taking advantage of synergy to increase advertisement and therefore revenue. For example, Muse's newer album, 'The 2nd Law' features a song ("Isolated System") which is shown in the film World War Z. The song itself is much different from their previous genres of music. This shows that Muse are flexible with what they produce, and can be used when making a soundtrack for films and have been many times. Another example of a film they have produced a soundtrack for is Twilight, seen in the scene where they play baseball. The song fits the fast paced setting and compliments that particular bit of the film.

The word Muse actually derives from ancient mythology and has different meanings depending on the word class it is used as. As a verb 'to muse' is to consider something thoughtfully and as a noun it means a person who is a source of artistic inspiration. It is clear that Muse the band had looked at the original meaning deeply and felt that they want the image of that word to be conveyed through their music. When looking at their music videos as a whole it seems like the band took into consideration the definition of their name, almost all of their music videos are very artistic and abstract, being very professionally created and often very original. As a result of this, their music videos always almost come across as if they have been 'considered thoughtfully' and they also give of a huge level of 'artistic inspiration' both of these being the definition of their band name. This means that the choice of their band name has actually impacted on the context of their videos and music. A specific example of this is Supremacy, this music video is very artistic in terms of shot types, locations and character design.

Advertising in Music Videos

Music videos constantly advertise different things in their content. Most of this being done on the side of the actual video, instead of making the music video an actual advert for the item, they implement it subtly. This applies for almost anything, it depends on the music genre, but in things like hip hop, cars are advertised. This is called product placement.

A particular artist that has a large amount of product placement in their music videos is Britney Spears, specifically the songs Work Bitch and Hold it against me. In Hold it against me, there is an extensive use of Sony products, in almost every shot, also the video has Make up Forever as a product that it is advertising.

As you can see in the images there are several uses of product placement for advertisement to the audience. Britney Spears got a total of roughly £500,000 for implementing these products into her videos. Which is a rather substantial amount for a music video.

Another way of advertising within a music video is called synergy, this is where two areas of media work together. This can relate to a music star releasing a music video which feature scenes from a Hollywood movie. This helps to promote the film but also the artist as their song will feature in the film and probably the trailer which a wider number of people will see. An example of this is from Paramore, and their song 'Decode'. It was the lead track from the Twilight New Moon soundtrack. This synergy enabled Paramore to reach a very wide audience which is made up of teenage girls around the world. It also cements their image as alternative, moody, and visually interesting. The officially video on YouTube gained 77 million views, the most they have received on any of their videos.

A major label strategy is another way in which artists advertise their music. VEVO have a partnership with Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group. They host music videos of YouTube and use adverts at the start of each video to produce revenue. This is good for music companies as it allows them to regulate the online distribution of their music videos and make money from it.