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Copy of Andrew Goodwin's Music Video Theory

Research on Andrew Goodwin's theories behind Music Videos for A2 Media Studies.

John Duggan

on 9 July 2018

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Transcript of Copy of Andrew Goodwin's Music Video Theory

"Music videos ignore common narrative as they are essentially advertisements. As consumers, we make up our own meaning of a song in our minds: a music video can anchor meaning and gives the record company/artist a method of anchoring meaning"
Goodwin explains his theory
by six different conventions
within a music video.
1) A relationship between the lyrics and the visuals, which illustrate, amplify or contradict the lyrics.
This convention explains how Goodwin noticed a music video's visuals either had a complete similarity or direct contrast to the lyrics of the song.
For example, in Jessie J's 'Price Tag' the lyrics of the song say "... it's not about the money" however in video the artist is stood in front of a tree with money and the jewllrey and clothes she wears suggest money is not a problem for her. This shows how the visuals contradict the lyrics in this particular song.
An example of when the visuals amplify the lyrics is in Adele's 'Someone Like You' where seen in the screen shot below the lyrics say "..for me, it isn't over" and Adele, the artist, is seen to be looking very emotional in connection to this. This makes the audience sympathise with her as a result - the directors intention.
2) Thought beats: seeing the sounds (the relationship between the music and the visuals, which illustrate, amplify or contradict the music.)
Goodwin identified that the visuals within a music video may be edited in time to the lyrics/ change in pace of the song. He also stated that these visuals are commonly repeated within a chorus to emphasise the repetition in lyrics and beats.
Examples of music videos edited in time to the pace/ sound beats of the song:
3) Genre-related style and iconography
Goodwin recognized that most artists have a trend of repeating certain actions within their music videos in order to establish this as their 'trademark' action and therefore making their songs recognizable due to it reoccurring often. This represents the style of the music the artist is representing and is a marketing strategy in order to be remembered in later years. Genre is also shown by location like, for example, songs within the rock genre are often filmed near a stage to convey a gig. Evidence of this is seen in Kiss' song 'I Was Made For Loving You':
Example of iconography is seen below where JLS reveal their chest in many of their videos:
Another example of iconography is with Amy Winehouse's iconic hair that remains remembered even after her death:
4) Multiple close-ups of the main artist or vocalist: the creation of a star image to promote a recognizable brand image.
Goodwin identified that it is a common feature for record labels to use close ups of the artist/vocalist in order to promote the sales in the single. This convention is used in order to show the artist throughout the video but is most common with female artists as provocative angles are often used to sexualize the artist following Laura Mulvey's Male Gaze Theory causing a fetishation from the audience towards the artist.
This is evident in Britney Spears' - 'My Prerogative' as shown below:
5) Voyeurism often plays a major part, especially in relation to females.
Goodwin recognized that many music videos included voyeuristic angles of women in order to entice a male audiences interest in the artist and also the lyrics to which these shots represent. This is used to sexualize the artist and cause a fetishistic connection for the male audience.
In this example we can see the
artist, Rihanna, walking in a supermarket. The shot is taken of her back and therefore not showing her face which makes her a sexual object, in the shot her legs are a focal point and again this conveys her sexualised qualities. Lastly, we can see to the right of the frame a man looking at her to encourage the male audience to do so and this removes the possible guilt they may have when classifying the artist as a sexual tool.
In this example we can see Britney Spears being shown in a sexual way. The close up angle encourages the male audience to see her as a sexual tool. Her clothing also contributes to this attitude. Goodwin explains that buy using the camera in this way we can ensure the male audience engage in the music video as it increases its attractiveness for them.
6) Intertexual references to other media texts may be present, especially in humorous videos.
Goodwin recognized that it was not uncommon to recognize either the visuals or lyrics of a song to be a direct reference to another media text. This is used to engage the audiences and provide them gratification if they recognize the link.
An example of a media text being recognized within a music video is seen in Michael Jackson's Beat It which is clearly influenced by West Side Story.

Goodwin also stated in his theory behind music videos that there are five key aspects that are used to contribute to a successful music video
1) Thought beats - Where you 'see' the sound.
Goodwin categorized this key aspect in three steps:
1st step: This is when you look into the music and interpret it by looking at the verses/chorus.
2nd step: Goodwin says this is "the voice within the song" - this is when the artists voice is extremely unique and can be recognized for this quality. Ellie Goulding is a prime example:
3rd step: Goodwin states that this is the step where the artist is telling a story within their songs as therefore generates their reputation as a 'storyteller'. The music video in this case is created to emphasize the lyrics and the story within the songs. For example, Adele is known to tell a story of heartbreak through many of her songs:
2) Narrative and Performance.
Goodwin stated that music videos should avoid the common narrative as their role is more to advertise than become a story. The artist therefore will become both a participant and narrator within the music video to increase its authenticity for the audience. Lip synching and other actions featured in the video increase its verisimilitude and therefore prevents the audience from disbelieving the narrative/ performance.
3) The Star Image.
Goodwin identified that the star image is another key aspect within music videos. He believes that an iconic star image can increase the audience's awareness of the artist and therefore can show a development of the star over time which will increase the audiences interest in their videos.
4) Relation of visuals to song.
Goodwin categorized three ways in which a music video works to promote a song:

1) ILLUSTRATE: This is when a music video can use a set of images in order to illustrate the meaning of the lyrics and represent the genre of the music video. This is commonly used as it is easy yet effective.

2) AMPLIFY: Goodwin stated that this is when particular meanings or effects of the video are constantly manipulated/ emphasized and are shown throughout the video in order for the audience to generate their own interpretation of the visuals and become engaged in what is on screen.

3) DISJUNCTURE: This contrasts the previous step and Goodwin identified that in some music videos the meaning of the song is completely ignored and there is no reference to the lyrics.
5) Technical aspects of a music video.
This key aspect identifies the different considerations when creating a music video to ensure its visual success, these all relate to any piece of film:

CAMERA: this includes camera movement (e.g. panning, tracking, hand held...), camera angles (e.g low angle, high angle, point of view, over the shoulder shot) and camera composition (e.g rules of thirds, depth of field..)

SOUND: this includes the pace of the song and its pitch. These all change with the different types of genres within the music industry e.g. rock/pop.

MISE-EN-SCENE: this includes, for example, the location of the music video, the costume the artist/characters are wearing, the make-up people are wearing and many more to ensure it is believable.

EDITING: this is the effects added to the clips of film in post production.
This can change the pace of the film clip and ensures the audience remain interested in the visuals.
An example of the effectiveness of establishing a star image for an artist is with Elvis Presley. Despite the fact his death was ages ago, his star image is still recognizable and conveys how successful his career was.
An example of a music video which follows this key aspect:
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