One of the things we really like about Beyonce's new 'Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)' video is that there is nothing about it which could not have been achieved for about £450. You would need three ladies who could move in a HIGHLY SEXUAL manner but beyond that it's all down to incredible choreography and three leotards you could probably find dangling from a tree near your local sports centre.
It's funny (/heartbreaking) sometimes to watch promo videos put together by acts who genuinely do only have £450 but attempt to recreate major label videos and, inevitably, fail. It's one of the biggest problems facing pop artists as the bloody 'long tail' and DIY music industry mentality takes over: while recording costs have all but disappeared, meaning that anybody with a dodgy download of the right software could do a passable job of emulating Timbaland, Xenomania or whoever, videos are one area where you just can't fake it. It's simply not possible to recreate the 'Toxic' video for the price of three packets of Skips.
There are two options for independently signed acts, or acts who aren't signed at all, who have managed to find a video budget of, let's say, £1000.
Try and make an expensive-looking video, call in some favours from friends but ultimate fail miserably and end up with something that looks like it was done for a 6th form media studies project. Here is an example of Option One — Billiam's legendary (in the same way that Tiananmen Square massacre is 'legendary') video for 'My Generation'.
Go to the pub. Spend precisely £200 of your £1000 budget on AN OCEAN OF BOOZE. Each band member should have one glass of wine, one pint of Stella, one gin and tonic, then one shot of tequila. After that each member of the party should be sent to the bar in turn, instructed to bring back 'surprise' drinks — drinks not yet consumed in the session — back for the rest of the team. While all this is happening, think of some ideas for the video. Stupid ideas or simple ideas or funny ideas or sad ideas or whatever. Just ideas. Three days later, make the video for £800. SIMPLE. Simple? Yes, simple. We can't vouch for exactly how this video idea came about and it might not have involved booze but it's one idea and 40,000,000 YouTube viewers can't be wrong…
This one, for Georgia Wonder's 'The Girl You Never Knew', is also brilliantly moving, and if you watch all the way through contains what is probably pop's cheapest 'surprise twist' (watch from around the 3'18" mark) in history.
(Incidentally what do you reckon that Beyonce video cost? Or, rather, what Beyonce's people paid? £100,000?)