Cropping up as fan posted videos long before they became a thing emulated by artists, lyric videos harken back to days of Bob Dylan, but the contemporary counterpart of Cee Lo Green and his breakout hit “F*ck You” is attributed for breaking the ice this time. And from there, the videos only get edgier, but no less aggressive, at grabbing viewers and getting them to hit replay in the millions.
1. Big Budget Films
Lyric videos have a natural segue into the industry to keep fans content while big budget, artistic music videos were being made. Lyric videos for artists such as Katy Perry were mostly just created as placeholders until the big bucks could be dropped on making groundbreaking artistic music films.
But in the case of artists such as Adele and her single "Skyfall", the lyric videos brought in the big bucks up front. Why the love for the lyrics? Fans love being able to sing along, and lyric videos take the place all those ugly lyric websites and putt what the artist has to say in the forefront. What’s better than that?
2. Social Media Madness
Ever since Facebook and Instagram updated their platforms, lyric videos have become the new gateway to followers. Since the move to instant video play while scrolling through a feed, Facebook and Instagram have pushed viewers to respond to images and the overlaid words in a new way—even if it’s a music video intended for sound.
While music videos used to be most concerned with the best sound, now they have to be concerned with the triple threat of sound, visual and words because viewers are getting sucked in by sight alone and getting more hits than videos that forego the lyrics overlaying the images. While it may seem backward, words are getting back into the mainstream as indicators of whether you'll like the content (and as a writer I see this as a good thing).
3. YouTube Changed the Game
Before the internet, music came on records often with no lyrics, and the only visuals to accompany the sound were those that came on the jacket cover. YouTube's crop into the music industry radically changed that forever, and lyric videos are taking their share of the fame and fortune.
When access to the world’s population is no longer a problem (thank you to my Virtual Private Network for that), videos can rack in the numbers simply by existing—and that’s exactly what they’ve done. While online radio players have skyrocketed, YouTube has done the same, giving access to millions to free music at their fingertips. And it's not just the "official" version that's playing on Pandora, but the fan-made ones too. Now we're even starting to see the artist-made videos that sometimes leak online long before the songs make it to streaming companies. Thanks to the boom, now “Best Lyric Video” is a category at the VMA’s, making it a cash cow all on its own.
From updates on social media to the contribution of YouTube, it's a worldwide trend that's about to hit the big times, so stay tuned for more—we're sure Justin Bieber has much more left in him!
About the Author: Caroline is an entertainment and technology blogger working for Culture Coverage. She hopes these insights into the world of lyric videos will help you realize they are a great choice to promote your music.