Lab #13: Multimodal Text

Lyric videos have existed as long as YouTube has been popular.  I remember watching static pictures of my favorite artists, curated by other fans and YouTube users, as lyrics flashed across the screen.  Instead of going to “” or “”, I could sing along with the music playing in the background.  The simultaneous visual and textual aspect of lyric videos was like having access to karaoke tracks right there in my own home.  Even so, however, a large issue with homemade lyric videos was the occasional discrepancy in lyrics.  Whether it be just one word or a couple of sentences, some videos were ruined by the fact that there was no verification of these lyrics.  So it was quite possible to learn the lyrics of a song incorrectly because of reliance on user-made lyric videos which might be telling of the reason a site like “Rapgenius” was able to take off successfully.  Much like the talk page on Wikipedia, Rapgenius allows for users and artists alike to verify lyrics and discuss the validity of each song’s meaning.

However, it seems that lyric videos are making a comeback as record labels are making the decision to put out official lyric videos on behalf of its artists.  Undoubtedly cheaper than releasing a full video (i.e. hours of video, costume changes thousands of dollars in production), these official lyric videos from record labels are a huge upgrade from the pixelated collage of pictures from Google images.  They are not only more reliable in terms of lyrical content, but they are also much more aesthetically pleasing than static images. Though I would’ve liked to create a lyric video for this lab, it proved to consume much more time than I had to create one of quality.  However, there are a couple of examples of today’s lyric videos available for critique.  This one for a song called “Louder” by Charice is an example of a video that makes the lyrics central to the video, paying special attention the typography to emphasize certain words and using visuals to supplement the lyrics. Some lyric videos are a little bit more elaborate as they incorporate video, weaving the lyrics throughout the different scenes and Charli XCX’s video for “London Queen” is an example of such.  It seems that record companies have capitalized on the already existing niche, originally dominated by everyday YouTube users, with the realization that it’s a cheap way to increase publicity and interest for a song.  Meanwhile, consumers like me are pleased because they are able to learn the lyrics of a song from a reliable source.



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