The Good, the Bad, the Music Videos

Via American Scene, an animated music video by Los Campesinos.

There’s another animated video by them too, which can be found on Drawn.

So here’s the thing: The Internet is clearly good for music videos. I can get virtually anything at my whim. And yet something’s still unsatisfying about all that access. When you can watch any video, I’m afraid you end up grabbing hold of none. This Los Campesinos video is good, certainly relative to the average music video, and I enjoyed watching it. But will I ever watch again? When a distribution agent like early 90s MTV compelled us to drink repeatedly from the same pond of videos, that situation imposed arbitrary (but, looking back, far from completely restrictive) limits on what aired, when and how often. A video once seen was likely to reappear for viewers — particularly if it caught on, but also for stuff that stopped far short of catching on.

The round-the-clock viability of ye olde MTV demanded constant recycling of the product. Online, however, there’s nothing like that churn and repetition — and in many ways that’s liberating. You’re free to watch any video as many times as you want. But it also means that even music videos you enjoyed are likely to just float on past, seldom revisited and leaving no real imprint on the viewer. Which is a bit of a problem for the music video’s cultural power, right? You see them but you don’t really live with them.

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