Short films killed the video star

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

*Film contains scenes of a graphic nature and possibly NSFW*

Yesterday M.I.A released the video to her new track “Born Free”. The video, directed by Romain Gavras, adds M.I.A to the list of musicians turning their backs on the traditional 3 minute MTV-style music video. Lady Gaga’s Telephone weighs in at 9min32sec and is a typically Gaga-esque riot of colour, kitch, sex and product placement. To date it has had almost 3 billion hits on YouTube. Stylo from Gorillaz features Bruce Willis, runs to 5min11 and combines animation with live-action. “Born Free”, at 9min06sec carries a strong political message and scenes of a very graphic nature. B(r)ands today are dealing with an over-stimulated audience and creating engaging, surprising and even shocking ways to grab and hold their attention is a key challenge. What links all of the above artists all is a marked understanding of a more demanding audience – an audience used to free music streaming, fatigued by hot things crawling around on an over-lit soundstage, and looking to be entertained above and beyond the current “norm”.