Artists, and in particular musicians, tend to be quite eccentric. From huge mansions to multiple luxury cars in the driveway, there’s no limit to what they want and eventually get. And of course, their music videos, sometimes expressions of what they actually desire or, in some cases, part of their lives, can’t be anything other than a truck-full of money thrown just to create an image of exuberant wealth in their videos.
It all started in the 80’s and early 90’s when mainly a lot of rappers started creating videos with some Rolls-Royce cars in the background, huge mansions, and a great number of girls dancing almost naked in endless parties. This effect went on into the new millennium and extended to most of the musical genres, giving birth to some of the most expensive music videos of all time.
Actually, it’s quite organic that music videos take that route, since society has mutated into a place where showing wealth and possessions seems to be a way to gain respect. Of course, there are a lot of creators that tend to go another route and produce musical videos filled with art, content, and a great deal of thought behind them, but it’s not really common.
A new mind
Since these changes are now quite established in the music industry, there is a misconception that every new video needs to be exuberant and part of a great production. This new mentality is quite installed, but its part of this older movement that established the basis for this type of expensive video, which in some cases has the same budget as a cheap movie, for only 3 to 4 minutes in length.
In some cases, if not all of them, there is a reward for that impressive amount of money for those short videos. Some of the examples we’re about to discuss resurfaced significantly in terms of TV viewers in the 1990s and now in a plethora of visualizations on YouTube (one of the most popular channels for publishing such videos).
These indicators are taken into consideration by many bands when they are planning their new videos. But in some other cases, like the German band Rammstein, their music must have some videos that represent it. They spend sometimes millions of dollars just to have a mega production in their music videos, like, for example, in “Deutschland,” they recreated the history of the German people with a stunning video with great production and also impressive acting.
They also have a long history of producing and almost always acting in their own micro-films, from the old “Du Riechst So Gut” to the most recent “Ausländerm.” It´s quite a signature for them, and has brought a lot of fans to go to their concerts, as they spend quite a lot of time there as well.
The importance of video in music
What is clear is that the genre of music videos just won’t go away, but it will only grow bigger, since the creation of platforms like TikTok rewards this kind of production with thousands of followers. It’s also creating a new kind of producer, those that use great ideas to film some spectacular shorts, using music for videos in very clever ways.
Of course, those mega productions continue to have a significant impact on the social media music industry, leading the charts while leaving room for those newcomers who see creativity as a great way to showcase their work’s check out some of the most expensive videos ever made and learn a bit about their history:
Rollin’ Air Raid Vehicle (2000, Limp Bizkit): This video was filmed partly on the top of the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York. It cost more than 3 million dollars and had some Hollywood stars like Ben Stiller and Stephen Dorff, as well as the appearance of a Bentley car, one of the most expensive in the world. A day before the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, the band received an award for showing the towers in their video.
2 Legit 2 Quit (1991, McHammer): With a cost of 3,5 million dollars back then (about 6 million today), it’s considered one of the best super-productions in the music video industry, with a length of more than 14 minutes. The usage in royalty-free music there was great and it features a lot of renowned stars for that time period, as well as multiple locations, impressive VFX, and much more.
Bad (1987, Michael Jackson): Considered by many as a “short film”, this music video has a duration of 18 minutes and features some great actors like Wesley Snipes and many more. It’s directed by Martin Scorsese, and was written like a novel by the inspired Richard Price, and has a lot of content aside from the musical part, which is the least of the full length.
Cartoon Heroes (2000, Aqua): Filmed as a movie, it contains a lot of VFX, but also a lot of makeup and some Hollywood style effects, to create a relatively short but quite expensive video, with a cost of around 3 million dollars.