MTV Video Music Awards: Video with a Message – Analysis

  • 13 Aug, 2018

With the MTV Video Music Awards coming up, we've been taking a look at the nominees and their music videos. Award categories such as "Best Cinematography" and "Video of the Year" are getting our music video directors talking, but it's the "Video with a Message" accolade that's really got us interested. As the VMA’s celebrate all things music video production, we take a look at the significance of the “Video with a Message” category, what it means for music videos and why a strong Narrative music video is important for emerging artists and bands.

MTV VMA Categories of Interest

Introduced back in 2011, the “Video with a Message” accolade pays homage to artists who "use their music to explore deeply personal experiences and issues they were passionate about to create powerful videos that resonated with and inspired millions of their fans" - according to MTV. 2017’s VMAs saw ALL SIX nominees win the award at a time where social and political issues were rife around the world. This years’ nominees include Drake’s “God’s Plan”, and of course Childish Gambino’s “This Is America”, both of which caused a huge stir when released.

Music Video Trends

The “Video with a Message” category reflects the emergence of a trend we have predicted for years: using music videos to make a stand and send a strong, relatable message to your fans. With some of this years’ controversial releases, it seems we are experiencing some sort of music video renaissance.

Many music videos have made headlines and broken records online purely for having a strong narrative behind them. Most recently, Childish Gambino - This Is America became Youtube's biggest first-week debut of this year, with a massive 85.3 million views. It’s strange and sometimes hard-hitting visuals immediately got people talking about America’s gun crime and caught the attention of our Creative Director Tai Campbell, who did some director-style music video analysis of it... read it here.  It is the perfect example of a music video drenched with a strong political/cultural narrative resonating with an audience on a ridiculously large scale – a great way to make a lasting impression on the music industry.

What is a Narrative Music Video

We’ve produced countless Narrative music videos over the years - watch them on our portfolio page here. They are essentially 3-4 minute long stories which act to bring the lyrics to life, show the audience the story behind them and connect them with it.

We’ve seen plenty of them go viral this year already. This year’s nominees include Drake’s God’s Plan – a philantropic music video which sees him donate thousands of dollars to those less fortunate; and also Janelle Moray’s female empowerment themed “PYNK” - complete with giant vagina pants to celebrate femininity. Both of them have got people talking and garnered millions of Youtube views within days.

For up and coming musicians and bands, a Narrative music video centred around your lyrics, or simply relatable social or political issues can capture the attention of a wide audience and is great for letting people know who you are as an artist and what you stand for. It can be a poignant way to introduce yourself to the music industry, and the people love it.

If you’re thinking of getting a music video for yourself or your artist and want to make an impact, we’ve written this handy little guide on how to make a Narrative Music Video, read it here.

Alternatively, give us a call on 020 7733 4166 to speak with one of our Directors about your music and ideas. We’d love to hear from you!

Last modified on Monday, 13 August 2018 17:37
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