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How do you approach a music video?

A producer and a director discuss the future of music videos

in collaboration with MIL - Lisbon International Music Network
How do you approach a music video?

Ever since The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star was, ironically, the first videoclip to be played on MTV, the first 24-hour music video channel, the medium hasn’t stopped evolving. Since then, music videos have evolved in format, duration and approaches. We might not hold watching them as an event, as much as it used to be, but in a digital era, a music video can potentiate considerable revenues for the artists, standing as the biggest music-streaming format. So, how are music videos evolving and what does the future hold for them?

Music, and music videos, have always been one of our favourite topics and a constant in our radar. We are always looking for coolest upcoming artists and directors. The Director ID series and the constant feature of music videos on our TV channel are a testimony to that. With extra time in our hands, we often go back to 'Hoje Escolho Eu', for which we invite people from our community to select a playlist of music videos for our TV channel.

We had all of this in mind, when MIL - Lisbon International Music Network asked us to curate and moderate a talk on Rethinking Music Video Formats Today. For the conversation, we had invited Karen Saurí (CANADA music video producer), Theresa Adebiyi (Creative Director of Partisan Records), Ian Pons Jewell (Director featured on Director ID), and Amar Ediriwira (4:3 Boiler Room). MIL 2020 was cancelled, as were all events at this time, but we decided that, even if we couldn’t make it in person, we still wanted to present this conversation to you. So, we jumped on a Zoom call with Karen and Ian. The result is this film, a conversation between a producer and a director, about what’s in the future for music videos.



Karen and Ian talk about the history of music videos, and the relevance of MTV in their evolution. Ian remembers how “MTV was a home of music videos” and Karen mentions that “in a way we love the idea that MTV is still on our heads”. Looking at the present, they discuss how to approach the making of a music video, storytelling and whether there are any undergoing changes in music video formats. They also speak of the business and contractual systemic issues of the industry, and the threat they can pose to those involved in the process of making the music videos we all love to watch.


foto by Alvaro Campos

The issues with the music video process are something directors have been uniting to battle against. An example of that is We Direct Music Videos. Started by the director duo the DANIELS, WDMV is an organisation of volunteers made up of producers and directors, who are working to push for improvements in the music video process to be more respectful, transparent, and minimise free work on behalf of the thousands of music video directors they represent.

To me a music video (...) is a visual reaction to the music. It’s something that creates the imagery in my mind that I wouldn't have gone if I didn’t listen to the music.

- Ian Pons Jewell


Frames from music videos directed by Ian Pons Jewell

Ian Pons Jewell (UK)

Ian Pons Jewell is a film director from London. He has established himself as one of the best directors working today due to the worlds he creates with his quirky, original storytelling. His music videos, for artists such as Paolo Nutini, Naughty Boy, Vince Staples, NAO and Valentino Khan, gather billions of Youtube hits. He has been nominated 3 times for ‘Best Director’ by the UKMVAs and BUG named him as ‘one of the best music video directors working today’.

Karen Saurí (ES)

Karen Saurí is a specialist in audiovisual production based in Barcelona, but with suitcases always ready to go with the team to any part of the planet. She is the music video producer for the CANADA production company, where she produced music videos for Rosalia, Dua Lipa, Shura and Tame Impala, contributing to making CANADA one of the references for music video production. Last year, she produced videos for Foals and Shura, which were nominated for the UKMVAs 2019.

How do you approach a music video?

Frames from music videos produced by Karen Saurí (CANADA)

When you have a good track, you have more than 50% of a music video.

- Karen Saurí

What about you? What are some of your favourite music videos? Let us know on social media, where you can also keep up to date on the other stories.

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