Back in the day when music videos dominated MTV and VH1’s programming, artists and their record companies would shell out tons of money for attention-grabbing clips. Some of the most iconic (and expensive) music videos of all time were made by ’80s legends Michael Jackson and Madonna. Between the two of them alone, they produced nine music videos that cost over $1 million each.
What Does It Take To Create A Music Video?
There are a lot of elements to consider when creating a music video. Music video production budgets typically cover concept development, storyboards, pre-production, casting, on-camera talent, choreography, rehearsals, location fees, props, costumes, production equipment, production crew, post-production, editing, motion graphics, visual effects, color correction, video encoding, and digital delivery.
The rise of YouTube and the ability to watch videos on demand was just one factor that led to MTV and VH1 abandoning music videos in favor of longer-form programming. (For a great history of MTV, check out the book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum). Today, music artists make money off their music videos with product placement (like when you see them jamming using Beats by Dre, or wearing designer clothes or sneakers or drinking name brand drinks), sponsorships, digital downloads, and royalties. Though music videos aren’t shown on television anymore, artists are still making them and promoting them on their social platforms. After all, music videos are often a visual representation of the meaning behind a song. They give the artists another way to express their creativity in a way that enhances their music. With the rise of TikTok and the many viral dances that app has, fans sometimes get choreography inspiration directly from music videos they watch.
Keep scrolling below to see which music videos cost over $1 million to make.