Video never actually killed the radio star, but social media certainly seems to be doubling down on the assassination attempt.
Everywhere you look, music video strategies are being revised as social media companies anticipate an explosion in video consumption.
While there's no official word yet, Facebook – which added officially-licensed ways of using music on its platform back in 2017 – will, according to Music Week sources, finally add a full ‘music video experience’, already available in India and Thailand, in the coming weeks.
Insiders say video is now a major focus for the platform, while its sister platform, Instagram, already a giant in short-form video, is launching its TikTok-esque app, Reels.
TikTok is currently responsible for more hits than Al Capone
It’ll be interesting to see which has more impact. TikTok has become an essential biz tool during lockdown, and is currently responsible for more hits than Al Capone. But whether its hugely successful formula is possible to replicate, let alone replace, remains to be seen.
And, counter-intuitively, despite the mini-boom in video that Music Week identified in our special lockdown analysis, video streaming in general is not currently a growth industry. Since being added to the chart in 2018, video consumption has rarely represented more than 2% of the singles market, and video streams are actually down 8.6% year-on-year, according to the Official Charts Company, while audio streams are up 18.4%. That’s over 620m fewer videos being watched than last year.
This could be an issue for YouTube, particularly if Facebook moves aggressively onto its turf. Due to the paucity of premium options, full-length video’s earning potential for rights-holders already lags way behind audio, and that will worsen if the numbers go south, particularly at a time when top-level production is severely challenged.
Can TikTok and its imitators fill that gap? With a 60-second limit and a developing licensing picture, probably not any time soon. With traditional video broadcast outlets on the way out (the much-loved MTV Rocks quietly went off air last week), and the addition of video to audio platforms seemingly not making a major impact, in some ways the two sides of the video industry seem curiously out of step.
Radio, meanwhile, seems to be doing rather nicely. Maybe it’s time for a remix: TikTok killed the music video star, anyone?
* To read our full report on making music videos on lockdown, click here. To make sure you can access Music Week wherever you are, sign up to our digital issue by clicking here.