Sure, YouTube’s stuttery bandwidth issues may cause the above clip, by ex-Catherine Wheel frontman Rob Dickinson, to look a bit lo-fi, but it was in fact shot entirely with a cell phone. Shots Ring Out’s James November uses the clip as a springboard into the current state of the music-video industry, and
his conclusions aren’t pretty:
The use of empty space is all but negated when that empty space is full of a bunch of fluctuating compression pixels. Vision is lost. Subtle expression is lost. Personality is lost.
Pay a lot of attention to that last bit, record labels, as it shows how this is not just a problem for music video nerds. The subtle emotion that an artist exudes, the very thing that defines their personality and thus defines their charm and money-making ability, may be lost. The polish and shine you paid all that money for gets thrown right out the window when I see it in a compressed 320 x 240 box.
This distribution method is making your artists look bad.
Yet because of anemic add rates for video outlets, a release on YouTube–and subsequent embedding on Web sites–effectively serves as the launch platform for those clips that aren’t touched by TRL‘s rarefied air. November cites his site’s video-posting method–which links to both YouTube and high-quality, downloadable versions of clips–as a solution that will allow directors and other people in the video-production world to showcase their art properly; unfortunately, executives’ consistent misunderstanding of technology makes us think that the gatekeepers to major artists’ clips will be very slow to realize the realities of the music video market’s current, narrower state.
Distribution Killed The Video Star [Shots Ring Out]