Fifty Years of British Music Video, 1964-2014: Assessing innovation, industry, influence and impact.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Portsmouth
Department Name: Sch of Film, Media and Communication

Abstract

Over a period of more than fifty years, promotional films for British popular music have received critical acclaim and numerous awards. Since the launch of MTV in 1981, these films have become known as 'music videos', despite the fact that until the 2000s the overwhelming majority were shot on 35mm and 16mm film, and despite the fact that the form predated MTV. In 1964 a series of short promotional films for British bands were commissioned culminating in seminal short 'promos' for The Kinks, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones through the mid- to late Sixties. Music videos have not only impacted subsequent generations of television viewers but have also inspired creative producers in fashion, design, photography and feature film. Directors Derek Jarman, Julian Temple, Jonathan Glazer, John Maybury and Jamie Thraves are among a number of filmmakers behind some of the most innovative and celebrated music videos. Yet despite its recognition, its innovation and its longevity, the cultural significance of music video within British academic research has been largely unacknowledged. This project seeks to change that.

The two-year study is a collaboration between the University of Portsmouth and University of the Arts London in partnership with the British Film Institute and the British Library. It draws together both industry and academic expertise. Permission has been given for the research team to use a new and very rich selection of data, archives, and films from private industry collections. The team will bring together leading academics in popular music, film and television studies and cultural studies to analyse the significance of these collections both for an international audience of academics (thorough our academic outputs) and for the general public (through the nationwide public cinema screenings).

In Year 1, using new data donated by British licensing agency, Video Performance Licensing (VPL), and the trade journal Promo News, the CI will create a master database of British music videos 1964-2014, and a separate database of detailed production credits for 1992-2014. These will generate core data necessary to investigate the research questions. In consultation with industry experts and a steering committee of academics, we will select titles of 60 British music videos as case studies for further analysis during a series of six academic focus groups at the BFI. The research questions will be investigated further in a series of industry panels at the BL and supplementary interviews with leading industry figures and archival research. We will also conduct case study analyses of Warp Records and a case study analysis of The Chart Show (using restricted data on single sales held at the British Phonograph Industry Library).

The results will be disseminated in a book and a journal special issue. The book will be a monograph which presents a history of the structure, creative practices, models of authorship, stylistic innovations and influences of the industry. The journal special issue will present the results of the focus groups in a series of specially commissioned articles about the cultural significance of British videos written by academics from popular music, film and television studies and cultural studies.

The project will also generate two permanent digital collections of music videos at the BFI and BL for the general public and academics. In order to make them more accessible nationwide they will also be exhibited to the public in a series of cinema screenings in London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Manchester, and distributed on a BluRay/DVD by Soda Pictures. There will also be public talk by the CI, Dr Emily Caston, at the British Library to launch these new collections.

Planned Impact

Beyond the direct academic benefits of this project, there are a number of potential additional benefits to a wider constituency which will increase the impact of the research.

1. Impact on our partners. This project will considerably enhance existing (uncatalogued) resources at the BL and the BFI. The BL's Sound Archive will be augmented with the accession of a major music video donation from Warp Records, which the British Library have undertaken to catalogue and make publicly accessible. The BFI's Chart Show holdings (currently only partially catalogued), will be fully catalogued. Sections of the BFI's existing music video holdings which are neither catalogued nor digitised will be fully catalogued and digitised in creating a permanent collection of 60 landmark videos for the National Archive. The two new digital databases will make a significant contribution to their collections, enabling an informed appraisal of the significance of their existing collections. Currently the BL has a collection of approximately 16,000 VHS tapes from the Musicians' Union and is unable to establish whether this collection includes any items which are 'at risk' because no masters exist. The BFI is currently undertaking a digitisation program of materials originated on celluloid and is unable to identify which of its current music video holdings were originated on celluloid. This project will enable the BL and BFI to answer those questions and prioritise their existing holdings for digitisation and access. A public lecture on British music video at the BL will increase awareness of its extensive sound archive.

2. Impact on the Industry. This research is likely to impact the music video industry in four ways. Firstly, the digitised collection of 60 landmark videos will be made available for commercial exploitation by Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), rights holders and broadcasters. The accompanying metadata established in the databases at the BL and BFI will provide rights holders information for use by for rights clearances where the holders are not represented by the PPL. Secondly, by producing new archival resources for two national organisations charged with preserving the nation's cultural memory, and via industry consultancy and interviews, the project will demonstrate to the industry the cultural value of its own heritage and the importance of securing its legacy. Thirdly, by generating a significant audience for DVD sales and cinema exhibition of music videos from previous decades, the project hopes to stimulate further commercial exploitation of back catalogues for artists and musicians whose work has been neglected and is no longer generating income. Fourthly, the metadata contribution to the BFI's Collections Information Database will involve piloting the use of the EIDR DOI standard audiovisual work identifier for music videos in collaboration with industry partners. This has a potential impact in the formation of an industry-standard metadata template for music video.

3. Impact in Schools, FE Colleges and Universities. As well as a DVD/BluRay which can be used with an educational licence from Soda Pictures for classroom teaching and lectures in Media and Film Studies, the project will create a text history for BFI Player. Feedback on these pilot resources will enable the PI and CI to make a separate application for a grant to develop an educational resource / study pack.

4. Impact on the Public. The popularity of the BUG music video screenings and the success of recent gallery exhibitions have demonstrated a public interest in British music video. The BUG retrospectives in 4 UK cities for the will present a major public showcase for the project's work. The BluRay/DVD will be on sale in galleries and on Amazon. Both will communicate, with celebrity introductions, the wealth and variety of this rich heritage. The public lecture at the BL will make this case also, as will the book.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Power to the People: Fifty Years of British Music Video, 1966-2016 (DVD box-set) Thunderbird Releasing 900 minutes, 6 discs, Certificate 18, Region 2, PAL, ASIN: B077YDJVN6 
Description This collection of 200 of the most influential music videos in Britain 1966 to 2016 is the result of a three-year University research project run in partnership with the British Film Institute and the British Library. The collection has been put together by a team of researchers in collaboration with a panel of over one hundred directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, choreographers, colourists and video commissioners from the business. Each video has been selected because it represents a landmark in music video history - a new genre, film technique, post-production method, distribution channel, or other landmark. Along with the 6 discs comes a booklet explaining the history of British music videos since 1966 and rare production credits: using archives, callsheets, interviews and trade press listings the researchers have identified credits for directors, producers, executive producers, directors of photography, editors, colourists, production companies and choreographers as well as information about the source material on which the video was shot where available. In order to protect the artistic integrity of each, the videos are presented in their original native aspect aspect ratio. The videos for Manfred Mann's 'Mighty Quinn' and Flowered Up's 'Weekender' have been digitally re-mastered for this collection from the original film prints dating back to 1967 and 1992. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Reviews to date: Cinemazine 4* review: https://cinemazine.co.uk/2017/12/27/power-to-the-people-review/ Cubed3 8/10 review: http://www.cubed3.com/news/28560/1/dvd-movie-review-power-to-the-people-british-music-videos-1966--2016.html FilmJuice positive review: http://www.filmjuice.com/power-to-the-people-music-on-film-news/ Sight and Sound Best DVD's and Blu-rays of 2017: http://www.bfi.org.uk/sight-sound-magazine/best-dvds-blu-rays-2017  The Observer review: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/dec/03/girls-trip-atomic-blonde-terminator-2-judgment-day-dvds-reviews 
URL http://amzn.eu/a9JkEeu
 
Description This project has conducted historical research which will contribute to the as yet untold story of British music video since the 1960s - its distinctive innovations, industry structure, cultural influence and international impact. We have studied archival sources at the British Library, British Film Institute and video production companies. We have run and recorded a series of focus groups with music video creatives and have conducted and recorded individual interviews which have provided testimony which will be invaluable in answering our research questions. We are also creating a range of resource outputs addressing a number of different audiences. We are producing a database of British music videos at the British Library's Sound Archive and at the British Film Institute's National Film and Television Archive where we are curating a donation of landmark British music videos with meta-data compiled from our research. We have produced a 6-disc DVD boxset of 200 landmark British music videos with Thunderbird Releasing which has already generated significant positive reviews and have organised a number of music video screenings in the UK and abroad. Our research findings were the subject of a public talk given by Professor Emily Caston at the University of West London in February 2018, and were published in a special issue of the journal Music, Sound and the Moving Image in 2017. Two book-length studies by Caston are forthcoming (the first in 2020). Further findings were published in a music video dossier for issue 16.4 of the Journal of British Cinema and Television (2020). Further academic dissemination took place via presentation at the Institute of Historical Research and, in summer 2018, internationally at a conference 'Song, Stage and Screen' at UCLA, and at Soundtrack_Cologne15: https://www.soundtrackcologne.de/en.

Public events have included a screening and discussion panel between Justin Smith and music video director Richard Heslop (The Cure, Happy Mondays, Sinead O' Connor and New Order) by Vivid Projects at Parkside Gallery, Birmingham City University on 19 May 2016 (http://www.vividprojects.org.uk/programme/video-killed-the-radio-star/), and 'Music Video Production Panel' at The Rose Theatre Studio, Kingston Upon Thames with music video directors Dawn Shadforth (Kylie Minogue, Hurts, Oasis, Goldfrapp, Peaches), Dom & Nic (The Chemical Brothers, Oasis, Supergrass, Faithless), director of photography Robbie Ryan (American Honey, Ginger and Rosa, Red Road, Fish Tank, Brick Lane, Wuthering Heights),and editor Dominic Leung (Son of Rambow, Catch Me Daddy) as part of FRAME: The London Dance Film Festival 9 - 12 June 2016 (https://www.rosetheatrekingston.org/whats-on/frame-the-london-dance-film-festival).
Exploitation Route Our publications and research resources at the BL and the BFI will be of use to students and academics studying the relationship between popular music and visual culture in the UK, or interested in the contribution made by music video to Britain's hidden screen history. Our DVD box-set will provide a useful classroom resource for teachers in secondary, further and higher education and will demonstrate to a much wider public the history and cultural value of British music video - a history and value which will be underlined by the public screenings and public talk at UWL. Additionally, our project has generated a partnership with the British Council to supply music video packages and a programme of public events for their office in Cuba in April 2018. This collaboration, which is an addition to our original plans, has been funded by a successful AHRC follow-on funding for impact and engagement award.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://euppublishing.com/toc/jbctv/16/4
 
Description Our DVD box-set will provide a useful classroom resource for teachers in secondary, further and higher education and will demonstrate to a much wider public the history and cultural value of British music video - a history and value which has been underlined by a number of public screenings and public talk at UWL in 2018. The impact of this resource (see the resource entry) has been reflected in a range of positive critical reviews in influential publications. Additionally, our project has generated a successful Follow-on Funded project for Impact and Engagement in partnership with the British Council to develop music video packages and a programme of public events in Cuba in April 2018 and a short documentary to follow. This project and its outputs (significantly the curated 6-DVD box-set of 200 landmark British music videos produced by Thunderbird Releasing in 2018) has altered perceptions about the cultural status and historic value of British contributions to the development of music video as a commercial art form. Its impact has been in four areas: changes in UK public perceptions (evidenced by DVD sales and critical reviews), music video industry perceptions (evidenced by focus-group collaborations and personal interviews), third-sector institutional changes (in enhancing the status of British music video within the collections of national bodies such as the British Film Institute and the British Library), overseas impact (evidenced by invitations from UCLA Film Archive and the Getty Museum (USA), the Ibiza Music Video Festival (Spain), SoundTrack Cologne 15 (Germany), Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV) Havana, School of Contemporary Dance at the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, and the British Embassy (Cuba).
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement
Amount £75,954 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/P01321X/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Title Promo OCR 
Description Collection of production data originally published in trade journal Promo and extracted for entry into the British Library's database. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None as yet. 
 
Title VPL data 
Description This was an acquisition of catalogue data from the Video Public Licensing authority which will contribute to the British Library's music video database. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None as yet. 
 
Description BFI partnership 
Organisation British Film Institute (BFI)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The research project is sourcing music video masters for accession to the BFI's National Film and Television archive with relevant meta-data which will constitute catalogue entries on its online system.
Collaborator Contribution The BFI is contributing access to its own collections of uncatalogued British music videos, free access to relevant television collections (e.g. The Chart Show) and accompanying meta-data. It is providing facilities to host six focus group meetings and meetings of the project's academic steering committee. The BFI's Head of Research is a member of the steering committee and two of its archivists are contributors to our research outputs. The BFI's data manager will oversee incorporation of research data to the BFI's on line catalogue.
Impact This collaboration will result in the establishment of a landmark British music video collection at the BFI's National Film and Television Archive and the accompanying meta-data will be logged as catalogue entries on the BFI's on line database.
Start Year 2015
 
Description British Council partnership 
Organisation British Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution To provide music video touring packages to support the British Council's overseas work
Collaborator Contribution To provide direct finance and in-kind support to enable the creation of the touring packages, their publicity, delivery and impact records.
Impact None as yet. Work is ongoing and is the subject of an AHRC Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement application.
Start Year 2017
 
Description British Library Collaboration 
Organisation The British Library
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Our research is establishing a unique database of British music video which will be incorporated by the British Library and accessible via its on line catalogue. The project has also made a donation of music video masters from Warp Records, one of the leading independent UK record labels of the past twenty-five year.
Collaborator Contribution The British Library's curator of popular music has been an advisor on the project. The BL has provided facilities at its conservation centre for industry focus group events and will host the final public talk at the project's climax. The BL's data manager will preside over the accession and compatibility of data supplied by the research.
Impact Forthcoming database and Warp study collection. Forthcoming public talk.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Conference paper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Prof Emily Caston gave a paper on British music video at the 'Song, Stage and Screen' conference at UCLA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://cmh.schoolofmusic.ucla.edu/sss-conference-2018
 
Description End of first year report 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This was a seasonal gathering at which the project team reported on the progress made during the first year of the project to our major project partners, stake holders and industry representatives who had contributed to focus groups and interviews. It was an excellent networking opportunity from which further contacts were established and interview subjects identified. It made a significant additional contribution to our research knowledge.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Focus groups 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact We held six industry focus groups in order to debate a range of issues about the selection of landmark British music videos for our major collections at the BFI and in the DVD box-set.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Organised workshop event for FRAME (London Film Dance Festival) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The research project team convened this presentation of work by music video directors specialising in dance who were entered in the festival competition and introduced a screening, discussion and Q&A in which members of the public audience participated.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://vimeo.com/164880131
 
Description Power to the People: The Birth of the Music Video Industry in Britain, 1966-1999 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The University of West London is delighted to invite you to its next Professorial Lecture.
Lecture: Power to the People: The Birth of the Music Video Industry in Britain 1966 to 1999
Date: Wednesday 21st February 2018
The lecture will be delivered by Professor Emily Caston, a Professor from the London School of Film, Media and Design. Emily will be presenting a historical analysis of music videos from the pioneering works of The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd in 1966 to the 'golden era' of 1999.
The lecture will take place in the Dr William Barry Theatre at the University's Ealing Site, St Mary's Road, London W5 5RF. Registration and refreshments will be served from 6pm and the lecture will begin at 6:30pm. Significant dialogues emerged from the Q & A and conversations afterwards, including the interest of a film producer in making a documentary about the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/power-to-the-people-the-birth-of-the-music-video-industry-in-britain-...
 
Description THIS IS NOW: FILM AND VIDEO AFTER PUNK (Vivid Projects, Birmingham) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participation in a public screening and panel discussion followed by Q&A

THIS IS NOW: FILM AND VIDEO AFTER PUNK

Video Killed the Radio Star (12)

7 May, 2pm | 19 May, 2pm VP

Early independent video releases were the revolutionary, DIY antidote to a television system that was only just gearing up to a fourth channel. They bypassed censorship and provided a platform to the marginalised and unsanctioned. This eclectic selection includes a very rare John Smith title and punchy, stuttering Scratch Video works by The Duvet Brothers, Kim Flitcroft & Sandra Goldbacher, Gorilla Tapes and George Barber.
John Smith, Echo and the Bunnymen: Shine So Hard, 1981, 32 min
The Miners' Campaign Tapes: The Lie Machine, 1984, 16 min
The Greatest Hits of Scratch Video Volume 2, 1984, 28 min
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.vividprojects.org.uk/programme/noise-nostalgia-2/
 
Description Talk and screening 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Emily Caston gave an invited presentation and screening to the annual Soundtrack_Cologne media convention in Cologne in Germany. As a result of the engagement with the audience of media professionals, postgraduate students and general public several enquiries have been made about the project's DVD box-set collection and sales have increased.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.soundtrackcologne.de
 
Description Tonite Let's All Make Love in Leicester (conference launching the Peter Whitehead archive at DMU) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Justin Smith (PI) was the invited keynote speaker at this conference. His presentation on Peter Whitehead's early music promos in the context of the history of British music video had an impact on attendees in demonstrating the usefulness of DMU's Peter Whitehead archive to researchers and publicising to the wider community the value of the archive.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.dmu.ac.uk/research/research-faculties-and-institutes/technology/cath/events/2017/tonite-l...
 
Description article in Viewfinder magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact An article by Justin Smith providing an overview of our completed research project on 50 years of British music video.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/viewfinder/articles/shedding-light-on-the-hidden-screen-industries-50...