Music Video Theory

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Here I have wrote about music video theories in regards to Narrative, Genre, Representation and Audience.

Narrative – the way those events are put together to be presented to an audience. All media texts have a narrative, whether they are a six hour TV miniseries or a one paragraph newspaper story or a glossy magazine photograph.

Representation – Who? What? Why? Where? Representation is about understanding the choices that are made when it comes to portraying something or someone in a mass media text. When representing a person, media texts often focus on their age, gender, ethnicity, job, culture/nationality and financial status.

Genre – a way of categorising a particular media text according to its content and style. Genre does not rely simply on what’s in a media text but also on the way it is put together. A media text is said to belong to a genre, as it adopts the codes and conventions of other texts in that genre, and lives up to the same expectations but texts from different mediums may belong to the same genre.

Audience – Every media text should have an audience, if not then there is no point going any further with it. All media texts are made with an audience in mind, ie a group of people who will receive it and make some sort of sense out of it. And generally, but not always, the producers make some money out of that audience.

I believe my target audience is reasonably broad and consequently believe I’ll be able to attract quite a few people from my music video. Whilst I was coming up with an appropriate target audience I took into consideration the various audience theories and models so that I would be able to attract the largest demographic possible through the making of my video.

One theory in particular that I looked at was the effects model also known as the hypodermic model – this focuses on the consumption of media texts has an effect or influence over the audience, however this is usually a negative one. With regards to my music video I am hoping to oppose this theory and construct my video with no adverse effect of the audience. The effects model presents the audience as vulnerable and having no control over that influence thrust upon them – this of which I disagree. Whilst this theory represents all audiences as powerless, a theory that opposes this is the uses and gratifications model.

This is a theory I have taken consideration into with regards to my music video. The theory states that all audiences are active and instead of being powerless over media, that one consumes it for their own pleasure, these pleasures varying. The uses and gratifications model states that the power lies with the audience and not the producers. Audiences will decide if they enjoy, reject or apply particular media products, the choice is theirs and they are the only ones who can control this. Clearly this directly opposes the effects model and this is an approach I wish to take with my music video – actively engaging the audience to allow them to relate to the music video.

A third theory put forward is the reception theory. The main idea put forward with this theory is that all media texts or products have a hidden or specific message or meaning behind them. Reception theory stated that some audiences could fail to decode the hidden message behind the media product or in some cases reject the idea completely. Stuart Hall who was the theorist behind reception theory identified three types of audience decoding of texts which are; dominant, negotiated or oppositional. According to reception theory every single media text has to fall into one of these categories whether they are supported by the audience effectively decoded of rejected completely. With regards to my music video this is an extremely relevant theory – I wish for my audience to decode a hidden message with regards to freedom and peace. I have not yet decided how I will do this but I believe it is an effective technique used in many successful music videos.


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