Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

British Landmark Music Videos and the BFI National Archive

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2017), 11, (1), 79–98.

Abstract

Pop promos combine the commercial and artistic extremes of moving image production, capturing and expressing cutting edge contemporary attitudes in succinct and stylish ways. They have been an integral part of the British moving image industry since music video became a viable industry in the early 1980s, yet their place in British film and moving image history remains largely unsung. The British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive holds a varied collection of music videos acquired from the promo industry, TV broadcasters, and individual filmmakers that spans from the mid-1970s to the 2000s. A largely unexplored part of the national collection, it is a body of work ripe for research. This paper outlines various curatorial approaches taken to develop and enrich the archive’s music video collection, including details about the ‘British Landmark Music Video’ collection, curated as part of the ‘Fifty Years of British Music Video’ project.

This article was published open access under a CC BY license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

British Landmark Music Videos and the BFI National Archive

Abstract

Pop promos combine the commercial and artistic extremes of moving image production, capturing and expressing cutting edge contemporary attitudes in succinct and stylish ways. They have been an integral part of the British moving image industry since music video became a viable industry in the early 1980s, yet their place in British film and moving image history remains largely unsung. The British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive holds a varied collection of music videos acquired from the promo industry, TV broadcasters, and individual filmmakers that spans from the mid-1970s to the 2000s. A largely unexplored part of the national collection, it is a body of work ripe for research. This paper outlines various curatorial approaches taken to develop and enrich the archive’s music video collection, including details about the ‘British Landmark Music Video’ collection, curated as part of the ‘Fifty Years of British Music Video’ project.

This article was published open access under a CC BY license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Wollen, Peter (2002) Paris Hollywood: Writing on Film. London: Verso. Paris Hollywood: Writing on Film Google Scholar

Austerlitz, Saul (2008) Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes. New York: Continuum. Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes Google Scholar

Beebe, Roger & Middleton, Jason (eds) (2007) Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones. Durham & London: Duke University Press. Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones Google Scholar

BFI (2014) BFI Collection Policy, London: BFI. Google Scholar

Caston, Emily (2012) ‘“Kick, bollocks and scramble”: An examination of power and creative decision-making in the production process during the golden era of British music videos 1995–2001’, Journal of British Cinema and Television, 9 (1), pp.96–110. “Kick, bollocks and scramble”: An examination of power and creative decision-making in the production process during the golden era of British music videos 1995–2001 Journal of British Cinema and Television 9 96 110 Google Scholar

Caston, Emily (2014) ‘The Fine Art of Commercial Freedom: British Music Videos and Film Culture’, Scope: An Online Journal of Film and Television Studies (26), pp.1–18. The Fine Art of Commercial Freedom: British Music Videos and Film Culture Scope: An Online Journal of Film and Television Studies 1 18 Google Scholar

Denisoff, R. Serge (1987) Inside MTV, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. Inside MTV Google Scholar

Donnelly, Kevin (2007) ‘Experimental music video and television’. In: Mulvey, Laura & Sexton, Jamie (eds). Experimental British Television. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp.166–179. Experimental music video and television Experimental British Television 166 179 Google Scholar

Elsaesser, Thomas (2009) ‘Archives and Archaeologies’. In: Hediger, Vinzenz & Vonderau, Patrick (eds). Films that Work. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp.19–34. Archives and Archaeologies Films that Work 19 34 Google Scholar

Fiddy, Dick (1992) Irn-Bru Pop Video Exhibition: The Definitive Collection of Pop Videos Since 1899. Museum of the Moving Image, London: BFI. Irn-Bru Pop Video Exhibition: The Definitive Collection of Pop Videos Since 1899 Google Scholar

Frith, Simon, Goodwin, Andrew, & Grossberg, Lawrence (1993) (eds). Sound & Vision: The Music Video Reader. London: Routledge. Sound & Vision: The Music Video Reader Google Scholar

Goodwin, Andrew (1992) Dancing in the Distribution Factory: Music Television and Popular Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Dancing in the Distribution Factory: Music Television and Popular Culture Google Scholar

Goodwin, Andrew & Grossberg, Lawrence (1993) ‘Introduction’. In: Frith, Simon, Goodwin, Andrew, & Grossberg, Lawrence (eds). Sound & Vision: The Music Video Reader. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp.ix–xi. Introduction Sound & Vision: The Music Video Reader ix xi Google Scholar

Hanson, Matt (2006) Reinventing Music Video: Next-generation Directors, their Inspiration and Work. Hove: RotoVision SA. Reinventing Music Video: Next-generation Directors, their Inspiration and Work Google Scholar

Herzog, Amy (2007) ‘Illustrating Music: The Impossible Embodiments of the Jukebox Film’. In: Beebe, Roger & Middleton, Jason (eds). Medium Cool: Music Video from Soundies to Cellphones. Durham and London: Duke University Press, pp.30–58. Illustrating Music: The Impossible Embodiments of the Jukebox Film Medium Cool: Music Video from Soundies to Cellphones 30 58 Google Scholar

Kaplan, E. Ann (1987) Rocking Around the Clock: Music Television, Postmodernism and Consumer Culture. London: Routledge. Rocking Around the Clock: Music Television, Postmodernism and Consumer Culture Google Scholar

Kärjä, Antti-Ville (2006) ‘A Prescribed Alternative Mainstream: Popular Music and Canon Formation’, Popular Music, 25 (1), pp.3–19. A Prescribed Alternative Mainstream: Popular Music and Canon Formation Popular Music 25 3 19 Google Scholar

Keazor, Henry & Wübbena, Thorsten (eds) (2010) Rewind Play Fast Forward: The Past, Present and Future of the Music Video. London: Transaction Publishers. Rewind Play Fast Forward: The Past, Present and Future of the Music Video Google Scholar

Laing, Dave (1985) ‘Music Video: Industrial Product, Cultural Form’, Screen, 26 (2), pp.78–83. Music Video: Industrial Product, Cultural Form Screen 26 78 83 Google Scholar

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey and Dupin, Christophe (eds) (2012) The British Film Institute, The Government and Film Culture, 1933–2000. Manchester: Manchester University Press. The British Film Institute, The Government and Film Culture, 1933–2000 Google Scholar

Railton, Diane, & Watson, Paul (2011) Music Video and the Politics of Representation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Music Video and the Politics of Representation Google Scholar

Reiss, Steve & Feineman, Neil (2000) Thirty Frames Per Second: The Visionary Art of the Music Video. New York: Harry N. Abrams. Thirty Frames Per Second: The Visionary Art of the Music Video Google Scholar

Staiger, Janet (1985) ‘The Politics of Film Canons’, Cinema Journal, 24 (3), pp.4–23. The Politics of Film Canons Cinema Journal 24 4 23 Google Scholar

Vernallis, Carol (2004) Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics and Cultural Context. New York: Columbia University Press. Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics and Cultural Context Google Scholar

Vernallis, Carol (2013) Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema. New York: Oxford University Press. Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema Google Scholar

Wollen, Peter (2002) Paris Hollywood: Writing on Film. London: Verso. Paris Hollywood: Writing on Film Google Scholar


Details

Author details

Cave, Dylan