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

British Library's Sound Archive - James Knight
British Library's Sound Archive - James Knight

Co-Investigator: Dr Emily Caston
College: London College of Communication, UAL

Project summary

Over a period of more than 50 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 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.

The 2-year study drew together leading academics in popular music, film and television studies and cultural studies to analyse the significance of music video collections both for an international audience of academics and for the general public. It created a master database of British music videos 1964-2014 from the British Library's Sound Archive and at the British Film Institute's National Film and Television Archive. The database and publications from the research 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.


Outputs realised from the research project

Not Another Article on the Author! God and Auteurs in Moving Image Analysis; Last Call for a Long Overdue Paradigm Shift

Caston, Emily (2015) Not Another Article on the Author! God and Auteurs in Moving Image Analysis; Last Call for a Long Overdue Paradigm Shift. Music Sound and the Moving Image, 9 (2). pp. 145-161. ISSN 1753-0768


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