MUSIC VIDEOS IN SOCIALIST YUGOSLAVIA AND POST-SOCIALIST SERBIA
Text topic: Studies
Text author: Ирена Шентевска
This paper outlines the historical origins and contextual specificities of the development of music videos as a specific media form accompanying the ups and downs of the popular music industry in the socialist Yugoslavia and Serbia as one of its successor states – from the socialist system of workers’ self-management to the (postwar) neo-liberal capitalist economy. The focus of this paper is on the strategies for promotion of music products (and performers) and the fusion between music and advertising industries in the period of transitional restructuring of economy in general and the music industry in particular. In the socialist 1980s, music videos in Serbia were predominantly produced by the relatively inflexible system of public television broadcasters, who only exceptionally used music videos for promoting commercial products. This situation notably changed in the early 1990s with the rapid deregulation of the media system and Serbia’s entry into the “full-fledged” market economy. For the newly launched TV broadcasters music videos soon became a popular (and inexpensive) segment of airplay. At the same time, they began to serve their “original” purpose – advertising new music releases and talents. Nevertheless, in the chaotic circumstances of Serbia’s war-time economy, UN sanctions, spiraling of inflation, mass impoverishment, unemployment and other symptoms of economic crisis, advertising per se had questionable commercial effects. This largely holds true for commercial effects of music videos. Due to the global developments in the media systems (emergence of the Internet as a prime medium for broadcasting music videos), their TV airplay is diminishing and standards of their technical production are rapidly rising, along with audiences’ expectations. This makes music videos (at the same time) more expensive and less economically viable. The logic behind the fusion of music videos and “traditional” TV commercials reflects the chaotic circumstances in the music industry, as well as the Serbian economy in general.