Fans gathered around their TV sets to watch networks like
These days, music fans go to sources like YouTube to watch videos from acts they already know and like, says Chandra Lalume-Pereira, partner and vice president at Taillight, a
"Now we've moved to a completely on-demand format and seeing everything on a 12-inch screen," she says. "Back then it was a fool's paradise because we had money to throw at problems."
Today, labels and the folks who actually make the videos work with a severe eye on the budget, she says. While videos are still an important part of the industry, the budgets are substantially smaller because the avenues for making money from them are fewer.
When coming up with the concept for a video, he must consider the number of days it will take, the number of locations, the size of the crew and the cost of special effects and post-production. Because he does similar work in his "day job," producing commercials instead of videos, he understands the process.
"I kind of know inherently what will work and what won't," he says.
Lalume-Pereira says the budget numbers for videos have dropped substantially.
"Back when I started [19 years ago], it was very idealistic," she says. "For a brand-new artist, the budget would start on average at
She won't even take a job with a budget of
Vaughn says it would be hard to make a video like 1986's "Sledgehammer" from
These days, when making a video, the real trick is to be creative on a budget and avoid going the easy route with literal or clichÉd videos that too closely follow a song's lyrics, he says.
"We call it 'Say a truck, show a truck,'" Vaughn says.
He adds that
"He likes to do things differently. He said 'Let's do something big.' He is definitely not a 'say-a-truck, show-a-truck' guy," says Vaughn, who also is working on Church's web series of videos called "San Destino Rising."
Vaughn says he has written and submitted about 30 treatments for music videos and actually worked on eight. He doesn't know if the other 22 were passed on because the idea was too expensive.
"You don't know you've been rejected until you see somebody else's video for the song on TV or whatever, and you never find out why you weren't selected," he shrugs.
Labels also are pickier about which songs get a video. In some cases, they will send a single to radio and see how it charts. A few years ago, fans started uploading songs onto YouTube with homemade "videos," usually over a single image or several. These became so popular, labels started making their own "lyric videos" for just-released songs, although these are often replaced later with official videos.
But videos -- however they're made -- are still integral parts of selling an artist, Lalume-Pereira says, and it's getting better.
"Having seen video in the fat days and in the leanest days, it is sitting very healthy right now. It's not doom and gloom. There are labels coming around as the economy is coming around.
"Music videos are not going to go anywhere," she says. "[Video producers] get beat up on and will always be on the third floor instead of upstairs with the big wigs, but videos can make a fan like the song even more."
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