Music Videos in the East v the West

The music video. It soared into the mainstream during the 1980’s, but in the west it has seen somewhat of a decline in recent years. This could not be further from the truth in the Orient.

Korea is big on the art of the music video. And when I say big, I mean big. With any one single, they will spend millions on the music video alone. A prime example of this big spending is B.A.P’s One Shot which costed $1m, which is a stark contrast to the cheap and cheerful $50k of most UK and American videos.

The British music video scene these days is mostly saturated with a rock band standing, looking like the edgy teenagers in school, in front of a white wall in an abandoned warehouse. A prime example is UK Indie Rock band Never Hill and their single Blue Lights. The lack of effort and energy in British music videos is a far cry from the colourful and vibrant videos Korean popular music has to offer.

In Asia, music videos are very colourful and upbeat and will often be filmed on elaborate sets with Hollywood levels of CGI usage. These are not the main distinguishing factors though as huge dance numbers are the real USP of Asian pop. Often there will be the singer and and around 40 backing dancers all following the same routine, choreographed with military precision.

PSY is a colossus in Korean music and is one of their only acts to break across the globe. This is down to the success his song Gangnam Style enjoyed on the back of his bonkers music video going viral on YouTube in 2012. Gangnam Style is the most viewed video on YouTube to date with over 2 Billion views. The song reached number one in the UK singles charts and was the Korean song to do so. It really thrived because of its unique dance routine featured in the mind-blowing video. The dance is pretty much impossible to describe and takes place through multiple locations and laser light shows in Seoul. Typical to K-pop style the song had a massive budget and all emphasis was placed on the video.

In regards to which style I personally prefer I have to give it to the East as the spectacle of their music videos are just a joy to watch and are part of the reason music videos around the world are not dying. Western videos are just so boring and unadventurous. Yes, you have the likes of Kanye West who creates more artistic videos but they are nowhere near as enjoyable to watch.

By Innes Enslin


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