When Jamiroquai released a music video for “Virtual Insanity” in 1996, it was one of the most innovative music videos anyone had ever seen. Budgets for music videos may not be what they once were, but artists continue to push the creative envelope with new shapes and forms.
In 2009, John Mayer decided to take music videos to a new level by releasing the first ever augmented reality music video for the song “Heartbreak Warfare.” The only requirements to see the music video were an augmented reality marker (downloadable from his site) and a webcam. Fans could hold the marker in front of his or her computer’s webcam, which triggered the start of his 3D music video. The webcam would transmit your face on the screen such that users appeared to be “transported” to the music video as an extra. While some users complained that it was a bit tricky to get it to work correctly, it was still a great example of an innovative idea for a music video.
With 2010 came the release of Arcade Fire’s music video for “We Used to Wait.” The music video was a part of the Google Chrome Experiment dubbed The Wilderness Downtown, showcasing some of the web browser’s amazing capabilities. Using Google Chrome, fans could enter an address (preferably the one where you grew up), and a music video would be generated displaying images and videos of your neighborhood from Google Earth. It’s a remarkable and cutting edge music video, and I’m sure it converted a number of Firefox users to Chrome.
This year, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have created the first ever interactive music video, allowing users to “move around” in the music video using the arrow keys. Additionally, viewers can click on certain items within the video to bring up images of set pieces and behind-the-scenes videos. As the tagline suggests, “You’re the director. You control the camera.” Although the Red Hot Chili Peppers will never be the same without John Frusciante, this video will certainly rock your socks off. Following the Red Chili Peppers, FOX also released an interactive music video for the theme song for the hit show “New Girl.” Judging by the first two months of 2012, it looks like we’re going to be seeing plenty of these vignettes throughout the year.
Much like the moving floor in the “Virtual Insanity” video, the landscape of music videos is constantly changing and evolving. So what’s next? I think there’s a ton of potential with Viddy, and maybe even Turtable.FM. Perhaps we’ll see one of these ideas come to fruition this year. We’ll have to wait and see, but I’d like to think that the best have yet to come.