The History of Music Videos

  • The First Step

    The First Step
    Sheet music publishers Edward B. Marks and Joe Stern hired electrician George Thomas and various performers in order to promote the sales of their song "The Little Lost Child". It was made using a magic lantern, which projected a series of still images on a screen simultaneous to live performances. This soon became known as the "illustrated song" and was a popular form of entertainment.
  • The “first” music video is filmed

    The “first” music video is filmed
    The oldest known film with music was made for the Kinetophone, a device developed by Thomas Edison’s lab that showed moving pictures and was also fitted out with a phonograph. In the film, its inventor, William Dickson, plays music from a popular operetta on a violin as two men dance beside him. The soundtrack was recorded separately on a wax cylinder that went missing for several decades, turned up at the Edison National Historical Site in the early 1960s and was finally reunited with the pictu
  • Follow the Ball

    Follow the Ball
    Animation artists Max and David Fleischer introduced a series of sing-along short cartoons called "Screen Songs". Audiences were to sing along to popular songs by "following the bouncing ball" wich hit each lyric to be sang. This method is still used today!
  • Talkies and Music Videos

    Talkies and Music Videos
    With the arrival of "talkies" many musical short films were produced. Vitaphone shorts (produced by Warner Bros.) featured many bands, vocalists and dancers.
  • Feature the Musicians

    Feature the Musicians
    Blues singer Bessie Smith appeared in a two-reel short film called St. Louis Blues (1929) featuring a dramatized performance of the hit song. Numerous other musicians appeared in short musical subjects during this period.
  • Early 1930's

    Early 1930's
    Cartoons featured popular musicians performing their hit songs on-camera in live-action segments during the cartoons. The early animated films by Walt Disney, such as Fantasia, featured several interpretations of classical pieces, they were built around music.
  • Period: to

    Musical Films

    Musical films were another important precursor to music video, and several well-known music videos have imitated the style of classic Hollywood musicals from the 1930s to the 1950s.
  • The Ancestors of Music Video

    Later, in the mid-1940s, musician Louis Jordan made short films for his songs, some of which were spliced together into a feature film Lookout Sister. These films were, according to music historian Donald Clarke, the "ancestors" of music video.
  • The term "Music Video"

    According to the Internet Accuracy Project, disk jockey-singer J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson was the first to coin the phrase "music video", in 1959.
  • Lip-Synching

    Manny Pittson began pre-recording the music audio, went on-location and taped various visuals with the musicians lip-synching, then edited the audio and video together. Most music numbers were taped in-studio on stage, and the location shoot "videos" were to add variety.
  • The Beatles

    In 1964, The Beatles starred in their first feature film A Hard Day's Night, directed by Richard Lester. Shot in black-and-white and presented as a mock documentary, it interspersed comedic and dialogue sequences with musical ones.
  • Top of the Pops (TOTP)

    The well known British music chart television programme by the BBC began.
  • Help!

    The Beatles' second feature Help! (1965) was filmed in colour in London and on international locations. The title track sequence, filmed in black-and-white, is arguably one of the prime archetypes of the modern performance-style music video, employing rhythmic cross-cutting, contrasting long shots and close-ups, and unusual shots and camera angles.
  • The Beatles Promotional Clips

    n 1965, The Beatles began making promotional clips (then known as "filmed inserts") for distribution and broadcast in other countries
  • TOTP

    Top of the Pops began playing music videos in the late 1970s
  • First music video shown on MTV

    The Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star" (1979) became the first music video played on MTV.
    Video Killed the Radio Star
  • YouTube

    YouTube, video-sharing website, was created by three former PayPal employees. It has become an increasingly popular method for artists to share their music. This can range from professional to amature music videos.
  • Gangnam Style - PSY

    The most watched and liked video on YouTube, Gangnam Style was born. It went viral in August 2012 and has over 1 billion views. It became the first YouTube video to receive over 1 billion views on December 21, 2012