The Story of the Lyric Video

I can’t remember when I saw my first lyric video–two years ago, maybe?–but I thought the concept was brilliant.  Something like this is a perfect placeholder until a proper video gets produced–if ever.  

Now it seems that almost everyone is taking this route.  And no wonder. They’re insanely popular with music fans.  USA Today looks at the notion of the lyric video.

When Katy Perry’s sugary Roar video pops up on your mobile device, the lyrics are literally eye-popping as text-message emoticons and vibrant neon colors flank the words dancing across the screen.

Roar has amassed more than 31 million views in just three weeks and is an example of the latest trend of lyric videos that incorporate punchy graphics and explosive fonts to present fans with the words to their favorite songs.

Record labels are jumping into the genre: They’re releasing elaborate lyric videos to hit songs from Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and other artists weeks before debuting “official” music videos. Looking at the numbers, it’s easy to see why.

This year alone, people have watched lyric videos more than 665 million times on YouTube and uploaded twice as many hours of content tagged “lyric video” as they did last year, says the site’s head of culture and trends, Kevin Allocca. And whileRoar‘s numbers continue to climb, Perry still has a ways to go before catching up with Maroon 5, whose popular Payphone lyric video holds a genre record with more than 109 million views (trailing the single’s live-action clip, sitting at 116 million).

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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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