The Origins of Terrible Music Videos

To fully understand why terrible music videos exist, we must first understand where music videos came from. The first music video ever aired on the late great Music Television    (aka MTV) was ironically, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. The song title basically speaks for itself, but in summary it talks about how they fear the radio will fall off because everyone would rather watch it on TV. Then in turn small groups with not enough funding to make music videos won’t have a chance to make it “big”.

No need to worry Buggles, because MTV doesn’t even show music videos anymore. Today, YouTube is now the central hub for all music videos (Radio prevails!). Now, The Buggles’ video was primitive to say the least, but bear in mind it was 1979. As the years have passed, music videos have evolved into a way of telling a story or adding theatrical/visual value to a song:


The classic: Beat It- Michael Jackson

More recently: Paradise- Coldplay

Or Even: Gangnam Style- PSY

Sometimes that’s not the case though. Sometimes music videos don’t add any value to a song. Sometimes they even devalue a song. That’s what I’m here to talk about. So let’s dive into it. There are two different types of devaluing music videos: ones that are painful unintentionally, and ones that are painful intentionally. Sometimes it’s obvious which ones were made to be intentionally or unintentionally bad, but sometimes it can be tough. One thing is for certain though, both types generally make me so uncomfortable and embarrassed that I have to turn it off.

Really bad music videos have been around since the invention of the music video. There is no official record of when the first one was made nor which video ranks as the worst, but the one thing I can be certain about, is that both painfully bad and unbelievably good generally get about the same amount of publicity, therefore money, as each other. It is always the goal to succeed and have people admire and respect you, but if you can’t do that, can you really blame someone for making themselves famous by making a perfect storm of asinine lyrics and visuals? Food for thought.