Saturday, 30 June 2012

Audience Research - Initial Survey

Despite recently allowing my entire life to be consumed by ICT coursework, I have managed to collect some information regarding audience's interests in regards to music videos. Productivity, on MY Media blog!?

I put up a survey on Polldaddy and asked people online to fill it out over the last week, so here are some numbers for your enjoyment. I too contributed a response to this, purely because I am a consumer of music as well, making my opinion count as much as others (to an extent...).

With the exception of the final question all of these were multiple choice for the sake of making things easier to process. Hey ho, let's go!

The first question aimed to find what draws people into a video the most. There's a definite favour towards seeing stories being acted out, which suggests that my coursework video should have a strong narrative element. Some people had no preference, which could leave some creative decisions being based solely on what feels right as opposed to having to match a specific kind of direction.

I have to say I am surprised there was so little interest in the performance element of a video, especially as my background knowledge of the industry includes how much time and money is spent on building up the public image of the artist. This result could also dispute Goodwin's theory which suggests that labels want to push the artist's image in music videos (through plenty of screen time/close-ups) - whilst it's hard to deny that this happens, these findings could suggest that it doesn't have much effect in the long run.

Fairly indecisive for the most part, though I'm sure this is down to how vague my question was. Out of those who did make a decision, it seems that light-hearted videos were far more popular - possibly suggesting that people prefer watching videos which are a bit of fun to accompany a song they like, as opposed to actually appreciating more about the video's production or looking for conceptual ideas.

Very one-sided here, though I feel my question may have been a little leading. If we look at the raw figures, however, we could interpret that people care more about the concepts/ideas behind a video than flashy effects - which suggests that the coursework piece should have an interesting idea behind it, and can't rely purely on complex cinematography and editing techniques.

These results are particularly indecisive, yet I did have a suggestion in the process of carrying out this research which said this should have had a "depends on the song" option. Which makes sense. From the way in which most of the results are "I am not too bothered" I think we can interpret it as needing to be in context with the song and the concept of the video.

So... this is the one where I just asked everyone to tell me a video they like. Let's look at them one by one.

Go With The Flow - Queens of the Stone Age

This is completely rendered in a vector-like style, which is interesting to note. There's a lot of performance in this, though it is by the animated versions of the band members. There's also a lot of sexual imagery (Goodwin's voyeurism point) - I actually had to check the Wikipedia page to see whether it was actually there or if it was me being twelve. Judging by the article, it's the former.

Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley


I know this wasn't a serious opinion; this is the problem with collecting information from the internet. But regardless, this is nearly all performance. There's also some voyeurism of the female form, which is very mild by today's standards.

Stay (Faraway, So Close!) - U2

I can't in all honesty say I understand what was going on in this video. A lot of it seemed conceptual - even the performance element seems conceptual in itself, as though it's symbolising a relationship of kinds? I don't really know. The greyscale filming seems to work in the video's favour when it comes to setting the tone.

Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой - Eduard Khil


Porcelain - Moby

Eyes freak me out so this was a chore to watch. Contrary to the preference in earlier findings, the basis of this video is the feathered cut effect and the way it is edited together. There's no narrative here from what I can make out, the focus seems to be the eye (I'm guessing this is meant to symbolise... something?) and the lip-sync/keyboard performance.

Eyes Wide Open - Gotye

There's a definite narrative going on here, which fits earlier findings regarding preference. There's also some noticeable links between the lyrics and what we're seeing on screen, particularly during the "eyes wide open" parts.

Book of Good Life - The Maccabeats

First thing worth mentioning is the novelty value of this video - it's not trying to be taken too seriously, which fits in with earlier findings about light-hearted videos being more popular. This revolves around a combination of both performance, and the narrative fitting in around the lyrical theme of the "good life".

For The First Time - The Script

Again, this is a mixture of narrative and performance - in regards to the performance, this is a case of the narrative acting out the exact story which is being told through the lyrics. Considering that the first question's responses said that having the video act out a story is popular I'm not surprised this made it in.

Creep - Radiohead

Can't say I'm familiar with this acoustic version of the song, but anyways - I think this can only really stand as a narrative-based video, and even that's limited. For the first half of the video nothing happens, then we get a story based on "man runs away, woman chases him". Yeah. It's interesting this has come up as from what I can tell there is no performance, which backs up the earlier finding that people don't see performance works as much of a priority.

Party In Your Bedroom - Cash Cash

I wonder who mentioned this? Again, this has both performance and narrative aspects - the band are performing which appears to be the 'centre' of the video, whilst they are also introduced to us as characters which acts as a kind of sub-narrative. This narrative doesn't appear to have any link to the lyrics regardless of interpretation - we're shown an actual party, whereas none of the interpretations out there mention an actual party. On the note of interpretations, although a lot comments online come across as "it's Cash Cash so it must be about sex" I generally remember that Jean Paul and Alex are nerds and so there's a good chance it is actually about being on the computer all night...


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