Feist and the State of Music Videos Online

My favorite new artist is Feist, the genre-defying Canadian singer-songwriter formerly with Broken Social Scene. Her album was released in France in mid-2004 but only found a U.S. release in April, and I’m in love with it. Like I usually do when I get obsessed with a musician, I went looking for any related media I could find about her.

It’s a bit disheartening that the only place I could find high-quality music videos of her were in Usenet, and even those were ripped from MTV2 UK’s “120 Minutes” show. After doing a little research, the state of music videos online is just generally poor. Music videos are promotional material to spur album sales, right? Then why do we need to suffer through postage-stamp video and buffering Realvideo streams to watch a well-produced advertisement? I’m not asking for DVD-quality here; just something on par with Apple’s movie trailers.

One reason could be the bandwidth concerns, but that’s getting cheaper every day (and there’s always BitTorrent). Or maybe the labels are worried they’d be giving something away they could potentially profit off of? I don’t know, but that seems desperate. There are exceptions, like the Decemberists distributing a music video over BitTorrent, but they’re very rare.

Anyway, I’m hosting high-res MPEG videos for “Mushaboom” and “One Evening” below. If there are record labels or legal websites distributing video downloads of this quality, let me know.

Download: Mushaboom (MPEG, 27MB)

Download: One Evening (MPEG, 25 MB)

Oh, and if you’re a fan, don’t miss the video of her live KCRW performance.

41 thoughts on “Feist and the State of Music Videos Online

  1. I imagine it’s a combination of bandwidth concerns and licensing. There is a process through which labels try to get music videos rotated on MTV’s various networks. I think if the video gets accepted, MTV gets all of the rights to play the video on their network and that precludes the label from free Internet play.

    There are cases where seemingly “MTV Friendly” bands get the cold shoulder from the network and are told that the video isn’t suitable for airtime. Mates of State tried to get a few videos off of their second album (or maybe it was their third… I forget) played on MTV and the videos were sent back. That’s why you can view all of Mates of State’s videos on their site for free in a decent resolution.

    http://matesofstate.com/media.html

  2. US MTV2 shows this kind of video on “Subterranean”, which replaced the old “120 Minutes” show. It’s on at some random time in the middle of the night, so Tivo is useful. It’s hard to believe it’s monetarily worth it to even make videos.

    As for Feist, MPR’s The Current has an MP3 of her in-studio appearance on their web page.

  3. You know about the iTMS’s Music Video section, right? They have a tremendous archive of high-quality music videos — not quite as good as the trailers, but good quality Quicktime nonetheless. (And yes, they’re free.) The only problems are

    a) AFAIK it only contains recently videos, or at the very most videos released since the ITMS

    b) it’s impossible to navigate. Want to browse to see all their Wilco videos? Prepare to click “Next 50 Videos” forty times.

    I absolutely relate, though. I was searching for Andrew WK’s Party Hard video last week — a really popular video in 2001 — and came up empty.

  4. Not to try to plug another site or anything, but I help run a fansite for the band Eisley, and one of our greatest strengths is our video section. One of our staffers has the capabilities to rip most streaming media, which is where a lot of the official promo videos and some other exclusive performances come from, but the vast majority of our video media comes directly from the band itself. Boyd DuPree, dad of four Eisley members, posts live videos on the Eisley forum site (http://www.eisley.org) every time the band goes on tour, in addition to production footage from recording albums, random life-on-the-road tidbits, and more. It’s nice to see a band so devoted to keeping their fans in the loop and including high-quality downloadable media.

  5. Great link, thank you. Though I also wonder why most of these existing video pages (including Feist’s official site and the director’s site) are cursed by popup windows and bad navigation. Merlin Mann wrote a good column about the mistakes bands/labels make on their websites.

  6. Unless I’m missing something here, aren’t all her videos (including a Conan appearance and BSS’s “Almost Crimes”) available at her site?

    http://www.listentofeist.com/SITE/

    Not the greatest of formats — and the “Inside & Out” link points to “One Evening” ( the links seem jumbled around) — but they work and are of *good enough* quality.

  7. Oh wait, I see. They seem to cut off early. Well, “One Evening” at least. I downloaded “Inside & Out” at Hi quality, though, and it’s complete and of good enough quality (with no MTV branding).

  8. Oh wait, I see. They seem to cut off early. Well, “One Evening” at least. I downloaded “Inside & Out” at Hi quality, though, and it’s complete and of good enough quality (with no MTV branding).

  9. CBC Radio 3 has a great three-song acoustic live set. “Intuition” is easily my favourite, esp. with the fire truck siren mid-song.

    (It’s a little confusing, but you have to click through to the article to get links to the performance.)

  10. While I completely agree that it’s insane not to be able to download music video clips a la the Apple Trailers or a similar process, I suspect the mentality preventing such a service would be that while trailers are just a snippit of a finished product, the music videos usually contain the whole product (ie the song) and thus a reasonable-quality freely downloadable clip contains a full version of the music obtained legally.

    With one click of Quicktime, the music can be exported from the video and the music has by and large been given away.

    Of course, I suspect that’s too much effort for many people and that after seeing the clip many would go straight to their favourite online music store and one-click download the song. Indeed, I’d guess this would be the majority of consumers, but I fear record labels would obsess with the minority who might rip the song from the music video clip.

  11. Sputnik7.com, which is owned by Palm Pictures, I believe, has a lot of interesting ‘alternative’-style music videos:

    http://www.sputnik7.com/vod/

    Otherwise, I agree – I can sometimes find a good video selection on launch.yahoo.com, but generally, I run into issues. A good example is Spike Jonze’s amazing video for the rock remix of Puff Daddy’s ‘It’s All About The Benjamins’ – when I went looking, all I could find was a brief RealPlayer clip, I seem to remember.

  12. I think it’s mostly a cost issue. I run dankojones.com and though we host 11 high quaity mp3s there (and have been praised/thanked for it in the past), we simply cannot afford the bandwidth for super high quality video downloads. We do have vids, of course, but they’re small and not the greatest quality.

    June 2004 I put up the high quality versions of the vids and we got pounded so I had to swap out the good and replace with the so-so.

    Now, why major labels don’t do it? I haven’t a clue. They should.

  13. Many bands fail to realize the potential of music videos, but they’ll catch on as the technology required to produce a video becomes more accessible. The decemberists, as noted above, have learned it can be done, without the high bandwidth costs [via bittorrent] and video production and shooting expenses that would be covered by a major label.

    Unfortunately, some artists and fans carry a notion that music videos are a form of art that should be reserved for ‘superficial’ sexy pop acts.

    Here’s a bit of explanation [a very, very crude one, I might add] of the music video scene… There’s usually a section of devoted fans that specialize in a specific style/form of entertainment; for example a specific genre of music; or specific television genre or series. The sharers usually have their own little ‘rooms’ [persay, though ‘room’ probably isn’t the proper term for it] across the various p2p apps and the mainstays – usenet and IRC.

    However, with music videos, it tends to be much smaller than one would hope for, and are especially hard to find if you’re looking for a non TOP-40 artist.

    One reason for the dearth of music videos is because most of the releasing groups use television stations that feature the big label artists [fuse/mtv2/BET] as a source to capture the videos. The artists sometimes do release videos onto dvd – a growing trend, but it’s not until well after they are originally released.

    Usenet and IRC are usually the only places you can find music videos on a regular basis. I won’t go into anymore more specifics on that for other reasons.

    Thanks to everyone for their information, especially andy for the link on ‘five mistakes..’ I enthusiastically agree with the author’s thoughts !

    regards.

  14. BTW, it’s worth noting for US readers that MTV and MTV2 in the UK are (or at least were) a lot more adventurous than the US offerings.

    philip r: wow, cliptip looks *great*!! Right onto my daily bookmarks it goes.

  15. On a slightly off-topic note, does anyone fondly remember MTV’s “Amp” program? I believe it was on sometime in the mid to late 90’s, usually at a very late time, and eventually got bumped to MTV2 before it was canned. I remember watching in awe these techno videos with some of the most fascinating animations from Coldcut, The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method and more…

    I actually still have an “Amp” CD I bought. The tagline under the CD holder? “Audio insemination.”

  16. I saw her open for British Sea Power and fell in love with her and her music shortly after she began her set.

  17. ok, andy, this took some source-guessing (even firefox didn’t deliver completely this time) but here’s the direct link to the high quality .mov of mushaboom hosted on the spy entertainment site five mentioned

    http://www.spyentertainment.com/media/sr_05/4.mov

    can’t for the life of me understand why sitedesigners think it’s intelligent to hide the goods like this…

  18. Canada still has a music video station that actually _plays_ music videos, and their web site is chock full of high-quality full-length videos. It always tilts towards Canadian artists, naturally, but there are still plenty of other artists as well. Feist’s “Inside and Out” is up there at the moment.

    http://www.muchmusic.com/music/videos/

  19. I learned about Feist through Kings of Convenience; she is featured in two (three?) songs on their latest album. Her voice is perfect with them… I advise you to check it out.

  20. Not bad, I’d probably pay to go see a live show if it was reasonably priced, Im curious how it plays live.

    As a recovering Phishead, I still have to hear an act live before I commit to a cd.

    Here is another canadian act that has done very well abroad: La Chango Family. They sing in french, english, spanish, wolof and so on. Kind of a gypsy-latin-ska hybrid that is called mestizo or patchanka in the latin countries. They won the prix du Public at Montreux Jazz last year, went back again this year to close out the fest, played ska festivals, Reggae festivals, Esperanzah, Francofolies Spa and toured Europe for 3 months this year with over a dozen musicians. Last year, teh bootlegged their own cd to finance their two months across the ocean. They managed to get on compilation in France alongsides indie greats like Tryo, Sergent Garcia, Tetes Raides and on a spanish one from Manu Chao’s Barcelona possee.

    All that and 8 police vans to take them and their equipment away in Barcelona last summer.

    And they claim in interviews that their career went international because they decided to emulate such self-managed groups as Antibalas or String Cheese Incident so they now run their own label, book their own gigs all thanks to a well garnished web site to promote themselves and an email address.

    No video clips support, their one foray was deemed to have lyrics too complicated for youngsters by the local video station and was moved to the old farts video station!?!, means that most of their publicity is web based. (too long to explain the cultural divide in Canada itself)

    I love bands like that who’ve realized that giving something for free doesnt take anything away but might actually get you new fans.

    Hell, you can go to their website and listen to all 26-28 tracks from their latest double cd. Ok, its in Real audio but lets not be too picky.

    http://www.lachangofamily.com/

    Clip: C’est Pas La Fin Du Monde !

    .MOV: 25megs

    http://www.lachangofamily.com/musique/clip-findumonde-hv.mov

    Arturo Lorenz

  21. Oh thanks so much for posting those vids, have been a Feist fan for a few months but now am in love with her (and her white tights)

  22. cute new video for mushaboom (by patrick daughters)

    copy and paste this link (just clicking it doesn’t work)

    also, spy entertainment has hidden the nice .mov of the previous one even deeper inside its beastly site, but where there’s a will, there’s a way: here it is (just click)

  23. Feist is performing on tonight’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

    It’s a repeat of the July 7, 2005 show.

  24. try KCRW.com

    they have plenty of great musical guests on their show ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’

    You can browse the archives and watch video or liten to audio to all of their artists. Feist was on the show in June.

    Browse the archives.

  25. I was a Feist fan for years but i’m disappointed that she’s reverted to mainstream as her choice after being Indie for so long. Still, her music rocks a groove for us geeks. Andy, stop censoring our stuff you nerd 😉

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