Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Twitter Infiltrating Music Videos

In the world of social media, Twitter is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools. What started off as a platform for people to communicate what they’re doing to each other has become a massively successful business tool.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter has also infiltrated the music industry, and fatBuzz Account Manager, Graeme, has noticed a song currently riding high in the charts that has a rather interesting video accompanying it.

Being a keen music enthusiast (and DJ in some of Glasgow’s premier nightclubs), Graeme decided to share his thoughts with you...

I’m sure we’ve all seen TV shows embrace Twitter. Quite often, you’ll see a hashtag appear at the bottom of your screen during a show, hoping to encourage viewers to hop onto their computer/smartphone/tablet and get the show ‘trending’.

I suppose it’s a form of advertising, and a way of justifying the price advertisers pay to advertise during these shows - or even the prices brands will pay for product placement.

It now seems this phenomenon has made its way into the music industry.

First we had The Voice judge, Will.I.Am, release a track with Justin Bieber, entitled #thatPOWER, but someone’s decided to take it a little bit further.

Now, I’m not sure if many of you who pay attention to today’s popular music, or the Official Charts for that matter, however anyone who does, will know of the song I’m about to discuss.

Currently, the number one song in the UK charts is Blurred Lines, by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and rapper, T.I. Now, I’ll be honest with you, I love this song.

The video for the song (which you can view below) features the three artists dancing and messing about, accompanied by young, scantily-clad females. Interestingly though, they’re also surrounded by a regular series of hashtags; #THICKE and #BLURREDLINES.

Although there are only two hashtags used in the video, what I found staggering was the amount of times they appear in the video.

I actually sat and counted (outwith work hours, of course...) as many as five hashtags in the first 30 seconds of the video, with the entire video displaying a total of 30.

The Blurred Lines hashtag only appears three times - it’s the RnB singer’s hashtagged surname that appears most often. At the end of the video, it’s even simply displayed on a black screen, making sure viewers are left in no doubt as to who sang the song, and how to talk about him on Twitter.

Now, as Mashable explains, hashtags don't traditionally appear in music videos, especially as big or as frequently as #Thicke appears in Blurred Lines. So, why now?

It could simply be a case of his management deploying a pretty crude way of building his Twitter following. Or it could be a ploy to raise awareness of Thicke being ‘back’ with new material, and more importantly, to get his name trending in the run-up to the release of his new album.

I’m not even sure if these hashtags have helped him gain his number one status in the charts - his first ever UK number one - but put it this way, they certainly didn’t hurt his chances, did they?

We’d love to know what you all think of Thicke’s use of hashtags. Was it a social media success? Have you seen any other good examples of artists using social media in music videos?

Let us know on Twitter, and heck, you might even want to use the hashtag #THICKE!

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  1. It is crude, I suppose, but I think the most responsible tactic for drumming up interest is the version of the music video that features partial nudity - it has been taken down by YouTube twice I think, and numerous sites have blogged about it talking about censorship and what is considered art etc. This, combined with an in-your-face call to action (hashtags) has resulted in thousands of tweets about it, long before it even entered the charts.

    It's a brilliant song, ridiculously catchy, and frankly I think the execution of the video campaign is pretty genius.

  2. I agree with you Ross. The 'alternative' version itself will have contributed to many tweets about the song. The thing is though - rightly or wrongly - in the world of urban music, nudity in the video (sometimes not even partial) is normal. So yes, this will be a factor, but wouldn't perhaps set 'Blurred Lines' out from the rest of the crowd.

    So this is maybe why they decided to introduce the hashtag theme. Knowing there was a high probability that many websites wouldn't show the uncensored version, they had to manufacture another way to get people talking about the song and video - or more to the point, have it trending on Twitter, hence the shower of hashtags. Just my opinion though.