Beware The Music Video Teaser?


Here's something to add to my Music Video Rules:

If you think a 15 second preview on Instagram — or a seven second Vine, or even a single Instagram photo — ruins the impact of your music video, then most likely your music video sucks. Sorry.

UK newspaper The Guardian has an editorial today about how social media reveals and other teasers have ruined music videos for the author, Issy Sampson.

In 2013, pop stars seem intent on ruining the surprise element of their videos through their various social-media means. Just look at exhibit one: Rihanna. To put it lightly, Rihanna is a fan of the popular photo-sharing site Instagram. She posted 33 (yes, I've counted) "previews" of her recent video for Pour It Up before it was released. So many, in fact, that when I actually watched the clip, it was all too familiar. 

I would counter that most videos like that are style pieces without narrative glue or spoilers, with the teaser images meant to make you want more. It'd be like saying that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover and widely circulated promo pictures renders the rest of the issue extraneous, when it really draws people in who want to see more. (Notice how all these examples involve leering at women? Hmmm...)

But Issy nails it with her last point, which is why I often dance around pivotal moments when writing about videos — even if I think Romain Gavras would bristle at the idea of sharing an artistic philosphy with The One Who Won't Stop:

Miley Cyrus claimed that she wanted people to look back on herWrecking Ball video in 20 years. Pop stars should take her words as a warning: iconic pop-culture images are things that shocked you when you first saw them, like MIA's Born Free video. If she'd spent a week posting teaser pictures of dead ginger kids, nobody would have sat open-mouthed through nine minutes of Romain Gavras insanity.

Go read it. And watch "Born Free," even if you now know that involves dead reheads.

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