Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones
Roger Beebe & Jason Middleton
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Music videos are available on more channels, in more formats, and in more countries than ever before. While MTV—the network that introduced music video to most viewers—is moving away from music video programming, other media developments signal the longevity and dynamism of the form. Among these are the proliferation of niche-based cable and satellite channels, the globalization of music video production and programming, and the availability of videos not just on television but also via cell phones, DVDs, enhanced CDs, PDAs, and the Internet. In the context of this transformed media landscape, Medium Cool showcases a new generation of scholarship on music video. Scholars of film, media, and music revisit and revise existing research as they provide historically and theoretically expansive new perspectives on music video as a cultural form.
The essays take on a range of topics, including questions of authenticity, the tension between high-art influences and mass-cultural appeal, the prehistory of music video, and the production and dissemination of music videos outside the United States. Among the thirteen essays are a consideration of how the rapper Jay-Z uses music video as the primary site for performing, solidifying, and discarding his various personas; an examination of the recent emergence of indigenous music video production in Papua New Guinea; and an analysis of the cultural issues being negotiated within Finland’s developing music video industry. Contributors explore precursors to contemporary music videos, including 1950s music television programs such as American Bandstand, Elvis’s internationally broadcast 1973 Aloha from Hawaii concert, and different types of short musical films that could be viewed in “musical jukeboxes” of the 1940s and 1960s. Whether theorizing music video in connection to postmodernism or rethinking the relation between sound and the visual image, the essays in Medium Cool reveal music video as rich terrain for further scholarly investigation.
Contributors. Roger Beebe, Norma Coates, Kay Dickinson, Cynthia Fuchs, Philip Hayward, Amy Herzog, Antti-Ville Kärjä, Melissa McCartney, Jason Middleton, Lisa Parks, Kip Pegley, Maureen Turim, Carol Vernallis, Warren Zanes