Sharing music outside the live spectrum started with vinyl record albums. This was upgraded to 8-track tapes and then cassettes. The 80s brought CDs and the 90s MP3s. Still, throughout the earlier years, the only way to see the artist perform was still live in concert, but that changed just as rapidly. 1981 brought the first music video to MTV, the Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star”, and concert ticket sales took a dip as people were now able to see their artists on television.
These days there’s everything from Live Pay-Per-View to free Podcasts, and YouTube has made it easier than ever to see your favorite artist play your favorite song anytime you please. How has this affected the music industry?
For one thing, with the plethora of ways to get exposure, garage bands and coffee shop artists are popping up all over the place looking to be “discovered” by self-promotion. For another, the overabundance of musical artists creates the need for new and unique ways to stand out from the crowd.
One direction artists are taking to gain recognition is exposing themselves to audiences already assembled for a completely different pastime. Sporting events, gaming championships and other unlikely spectacles have become the arena for new musical discoveries as well as well-known artists to attract a larger audience. Sports and gaming celebrities have been pulled in for cameo appearances to tie two radically different spheres together.
Most recently, the Filipino team TNC made history when they won the championship at the World Electronics Sports Games in China, walking away with a cash prize of over $800,000. With the recent popularity of eSports, this team already got tens of thousands of followers and fans. Musician Jonan Aquilar used this to his advantage by inviting the team to star in their very own music video DOTA Gamer AKO, featuring his song.
Rapper Nick Jarvis found an audience with poker fans when he wrote and performed Ride on the River to celebrate the 10-year history of the European Poker Tour. The video features many of the colorful and popular characters of this well-known poker tournament and was the perfect arena for the musician to expand his audience.
Athletes are commonly used as cameos in music videos to bring sports audiences to the feet of a rock star wannabe or a pop icon. One of the best remembered was Michael Jordan’s costumed appearance in Michael Jackson’s Remember the Time. While looking utterly ridiculous in the Egyptian guard costume, the appearance still makes most top 10 lists of sports figures appearing in music videos.
And as live concerts fade into history, it seems the only way for an old band to get a new look is through the magic of virtual reality. Queen and Enosis VR teamed up to create a 360-degree virtual reality music video of Bohemian Rhapsody, which has been said to liken the inside of Freddy Mercury’s subconscious mind – kinda scary, if you ask me.
As technology continues to advance and self-publication and promotion becomes easier and easier, those with real talent are going to have to get more and more creative to find an audience. Who knows? Next year we might be looking at a virtual reality video game featuring stars from America’s Got Talent, complete with celebrity judges and cash prizes. Winners may even receive a virtual reality appearance on the next World of Warcraft World Championship. What is the world coming to?
— Featured photo by Flickr user pestoverde, Creative Commons