MVPA Showcase Recap, Pt 1: What Is The Value Of Music Videos?
Promonews - 1st Nov 2023
Last month, the MVPA Showcase was held at All Is Joy Studios in Soho, where 13 leading production companies screened the work of their music video directors, and panel discussions took place that explored the rapidly changing landscape of music video production.
Organised by the APA (Advertising Producers Association) with the support of Promonews and BUG, creative workshops with directors Thomas James and Sasha Nathwani were held in smaller screening rooms within the venue - formerly the DeLane Lea building in Dean Street, Soho - while Promonews editor David Knight chaired three panels in the main cinema, addressing some hot topics affecting the music video industry.
The first of these panels, named 'What Is The Value Of Music Videos?', featured two label marketing executives - Luna Cohen-Solal from Atlantic Records and Henry Whittingdale from Columbia Records - and two production company heads of music videos - Ramy Dance from Common People Films and Tara Bartlett from Lowkey Films - on the panel.
The panel discussion began by highlighting the importance of understanding how visual content is consumed and how the consumption of trends is evolving - with Luna Cohen-Solal, audience manager at Atlantic, drawing from her label's research data on viewing habits. She highlighted the rise of vertical content and its impact on video consumption, emphasizing that TikTok, in particular, has become a significant platform for music discovery. This shift has been gradual but transformative.
Cohen-Solal stressed the need for directors and production companies to think holistically and create narratives that flow across various platforms and content types, including vertical videos and social content. She argued that the focus should be on expanding the idea of music videos to exist seamlessly within a broader content strategy.
Cohen-Solal said: “The scope for creativity is massive, with many unexplored ways of marrying music videos and social content.”
Henry Whittingdale discussed the significance of music videos as a destination for turning listeners into fans and conveying an artist’s vision. He said that his label's research showed the music video to be the most powerful asset in delivering what fans want from their favourite artists.
Whittingdale - head of marketing at Room Two Recordings and senior marketing manager at Columbia - also put forward his view about TikTok as a complementary discovery platform, and encouraging directors not to be afraid to incorporate it into their creative process. “There’s a real paradigm shift at the moment," he said. "It’s not just about music videos but a broader content strategy. It’s a change in how we’re thinking about things, creating a world for the artist.”
Above, from left: Ramy Dance of Common People Films, Tara Bartlett of Lowkey Films, Henry Whittingdale of Columbia Records, Luna Cohen-Solal of Atlantic Records
Tara Bartlett, head of special projects at Lowkey, spoke of the shift from traditional music video production to creating a broader range of visual content for artists, including marketing and social media content. This shift has led to changes in budget allocation and the need to find new ways to fund music video production.
“I think there’s really interesting space in creative direction now and a director coming on much earlier in a project with a marketing team and looking at the more visual world-building of an album campaign or a single campaign,” said Bartlett.
Ramy Dance, emphasized the value of music videos for directors, serving as a training ground for their careers. He stressed the importance of nurturing emerging directors through music video projects.
Like Bartlett, he emphasized the need for better collaboration and communication between production companies, labels, and artists. They both discussed how transparency and shared visions could lead to more fruitful and valuable music video projects. “Everyone is fighting the same fight; it’s just about us communicating and aligning a lot better,” he said.
The panel concluded by suggesting that the traditional binary view of music videos and social assets should evolve into a more holistic approach where both seamlessly coexist within the same narrative. The music video landscape is continually changing, and there is great potential for creativity in exploring new ways to deliver content to fans.
• Thanks to Nour Amkieh at the APA for her help with this article.
• More on the MVPA here. Coming up: MVPA Showcase Recap Pt 2 - How To Spot, Nurture & Develop Talent
Promonews - 1st Nov 2023