Video “Created” the Radio Star!

Duran Duran

Earlier this week I was driving north on I-95 in Hollywood, Fl. and noticed a billboard advertising an upcoming concert by Duran Duran at the Hard Rock in mid October. Immediately my mind started to drift back to the early 1980’s.  Duran Duran’s climb to the top of the pop charts conspicuously coincides with the birth of MTV. This was the first act to truly take advantage of music videos to promote music. Thereafter the music industry would forever change how artists’ would be presented to their audiences. Especially for popular music. I remember a conversation I had with a country-western record executive in the late 1980’s, after MTV was firmly established. I had an artist whom we both thought was better suited for country music. He gave me rough estimates of how much the promotional costs were for breaking country acts as opposed to pop acts. Because music videos had become a necessary promotional tool, it would cost five times the amount to promote pop acts. The music video’s impact has increased, and now that divide between country and pop promotional expenditures has disappeared. As for Duran Duran, they had a string of mega-hits throughout the 1980’s and although they have experienced several changes in members, the group still performs thirty years later. Unlike the song by The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” Duran Duran experienced just the opposite. In fact, they freely admit that the music video was an important contribution toward their success. It was the start of something big!

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