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Top 5 Most Popular Music Video Styles

Updated: Jan 18, 2018

What is a Music Video?

A music video is a short film that accompanies a song, a visual interpretation of the music. Usually there is a story-line and/or footage of the artist performing.

Why Make a Music Video?

Adding a visual element to music engages the listener on another level, allowing them to enjoy the song more. Often the song has deeper meaning to the artist and visuals help the listener understand what the music is about.

What Types of Music Video Are There?

There are various styles of music videos, but there's no rule book on how to make one. The most popular videos usually fall into one of the following categories:


The artist is filmed playing the song, which can be anywhere; at a gig, studio, school gym or even on top of a mountain. The most notorious example is probably Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit.


These have a story-line. It can compliment the lyrics or be something completely different. A lot of modern music videos draw inspiration from Hollywood, involving actors, actresses, a script and carefully crafted cinematography. Arctic Monkeys favourite style, shown in 'Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High'.


Probably the most popular style of the past 30 years, especially in Hip-Hop. This one's pretty self-explanatory. A natural performer and story-teller, Biggie Smalls was a master of this style, as shown in his most famous video 'Juicy'.


Instead of filming with cameras, these videos are made using computerised animations. Essentially, they're cartoons with music. The Gorillaz are famous for their animated music videos, watch 'Clint Eastwood' below.


Today's artists are pushing the boundaries of what a music video is. With modern production techniques and special effects, the only limitation is imagination. As demonstrated by American psychedelic rockers MGMT in their newest video 'When You Die'.

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