2013: The Year Music Videos Made a Comeback

That’s what Salon says–and they have a point.

For years in the early- to mid-2000s, music videos were declining in importance — with MTV moving more and more away from a video format and streaming video not yet a part of the Internet, they looked like an endangered species. These were the years when a declining-in-influence “T.R.L.” would play 30-second snippets of music videos so unimaginative as to be not even worth that much time, post-Madonna’s peak but before the rise of Beyoncé. MTV gave Video Music Award nominations to artists who’d never consistently make it onto their air (Johnny Cash, the White Stripes, Fatboy Slim) in the early 2000s, simply because there weren’t enough people doing interesting things with the medium to fill out a category.Who would have guessed that the music video would become the most vital sort of art in 2013?
The year’s two most resonant single cultural moments both revolved around music videos. At the Video Music Awards this summer, Miley Cyrus’s twerking on Robin Thicke was in fact an homage to his “Blurred Lines” video, which had been a smash online; her dancing at the beginning of the performance and the general aesthetic was directly taken from her “We Can’t Stop” video. And Beyoncé’s recent album drop was so striking in part because it included a music video for every song; part of the reason one had to buy it as soon as possible was to experience the visuals for each track.Read on

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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