Feature: Do Music Videos make or break a song?

Radio used to be the principle medium where you heard new music, but the Internet changed that. Now, discovery is most likely to happen by way of your favourite social media site, which usually sends you to YouTube and other video sharing sites.

Music videos have become essential in an artist’s success story as we delve deeper into the digital era and our booming visual culture. The music industry acknowledges this fact, all the big names in South Africa and the rest of the world put in a lot into their visuals, pushing boundaries, being more cutting edge and telling stories in an original manner. Artists put in effort into making sure that their music videos go viral, even going as far as faking getting married to get people talking.

A good music video can lift a not so good song and a bad music video can destroy a good song. House Music mogul Zakes Bantwini has said in interviews over the years that he regrets releasing the music video for his 2010 hit ‘Bum bum’.

“I think it killed my song. I think when this video aired the song just died. Before that people were loving the song. Moral of the story – artists who are watching this interview – pay attention to your music videos. If you don’t have an idea or you don’t have budget – just don’t,” said Bantwini in an interview on a TV show.

Music video is a fantastic use of various aspects key to any current artist’s success: social media, fan interaction, the music video, and, last but not least, a good song. There are artists that have nailed this and have made their videos so intertwined with their success. Do you imagine Kanye West, AKA, Tekno and Lady Gaga without visuals, do you think their success would be as monumental.

Second year student at the Durban University of Technology Zamathole Magubane said a music video influenced how she feels about a song. The journalism student loves music and says her favourite song currently is ‘IF’ by Nigerian Star Davido but was disappointed by the music video. She felt the video vixen should have been more active as she and her friends interpreted the song as a sexy dance banger.

“The video annoyed me, maybe because I’m so into the song then I was always imagining it differently,” said Magubane.

Check out the Bum Bum video by Zakes Bantwini.


By: Naledi Sikhakhane



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