Trevor Cheitlin is a fifth-semester pro music major at Berklee. When he’s not writing or singing, he’s pretending to be far cooler than he actually is. Check him out on YouTube.
The concept of a “music video” is in desperate need of a revolution. The rise of YouTube and other video streaming sites (though, let’s be honest, YouTube’s where it’s at) has made it easier than ever for artists to connect to their fans through video, but in my opinion that’s only made artists and publishers lazier when it comes to the creativity of their videos. Here’s my interpretation of the evolution of the popular music video in recent years:
RECORD EXECUTIVE ONE: This hook is so catchy, people are gonna love it! Now, how do we make it into a viral video so we can make truckloads of money off advertising?
RECORD EXECUTIVE TWO: I know! We should get attractive women to dance in the background!
RECORD EXECUTIVE ONE: Great idea, Record Executive Two. If we make them half-naked we can triple our views! Everybody loves half-naked women.
RECORD EXECUTIVE ONE: Truckloads of money isn’t enough anymore; we need boatloads!
RECORD EXECUTIVE TWO: Ok, how about we take those half-naked ladies, and instead we make them fully naked?!
RECORD EXECUTIVE ONE: I could kiss you, Record Executive Two!
As you can see from these highly accurate depictions of everyday conversations between record executives, there’s nowhere to go but up, since you can’t make background dancers any nakeder than their birthday suits. Something needs to change, or I’m afraid the popular music industry will lose its ability to be taken seriously. In my mind, it’s not a question of if this shift is going to happen, it’s a question of when.
Enter Pharrell Williams’s “24 Hours of Happy”, a 24-Hour (duh) music video based around everyday people dancing to Pharrell’s hit single “Happy.” It’s that simple: “Happy” plays, people dance. It’s strangely addicting to watch, and acts as a simple reminder that music has the ability to bring people together, no matter their race, creed, or sexuality.
For me, “24 Hours of Happy” seems like a potential turning point. Sure, it’s produced by Pharrell, most likely boosted by the financial backing of his label, but its creative, fan-centric approach acts as a breath of fresh air for the music video industry. I, for one, would love to see more projects like this pop up, with artists asking their fans to take the lead.
I highly recommend checking out “24 Hours of Happy.” A particular favorite of mine is this little girl. She brings the sass.