Ever since MTV was launched in 1981, artists have been using their music videos to tell a story the relates the song. Some videos are based around slick dance choreography, while others are more focused on a gripping narrative. Whatever the video is about, there needs to be a budget behind it and the more well-off musicians have occasionally chosen to take advantage of their earnings and spend an absurd amount of money on something that is less than 10-minutes long. So without further ado, here are the six most costly music videos of all time. Did you guess number one correctly?
6. Puff Daddy – Victory
Hip-hop song ‘Victory’ featured the very last rap vocals by The Notorious B.I.G. before his death in 1997, so it was only right that Puff Daddy made an epic music video to honour his friend’s passing. Costing $2,700,000 to make, the 8-minute video was influenced by the ’87 film The Running Man. It is set in the year 3002 AD and follows the story of Sean Combs’ character, who is being pursued by soldiers led by New World Order dictator Dennis Hopper. Danny DeVito also stars in the video as a news reporter.
5. Gwen Stefani – Make Me Like You
This video only came out in February 2016 but it has already made the top five most expensive music videos of all time! It cost an average of £4,000,000 to make, which is the same price as a luxury 8-bedroom mansion! Throughout the video, Stefani puts herself in various scenarios from a car crash to a roller disco. Part of the budget probably went on the costume changes (as they were plenty)!
4. Guns N’ Roses – Estranged
If you spend just over $4,000,000 on a music video, you’ll probably get something like the Guns N’ Roses video for their 1993 rock ballad ‘Estranged’. It runs over 9 minutes and features Slash rising out of the ocean playing guitar surrounded by dolphins, as well as numerous clips from their world tour.
3. Michael Jackson – Black Or White
When you make a video featuring African wildlife, native American dancers, snow machines, explosive fire scenes, the Statue of Liberty and Macaulay Culkin, it’s going to set you back a few bucks! ‘Black or White’ cost over £4 million to produce and luckily, it became one of the most iconic videos of all time. It may not be a big deal now, but the scene where the panther morphs into Michael Jackson himself was made back when CGI was still new and cutting edge, impressing viewers from all over the world.
2. Madonna – Die Another Day
The 2002 theme tune to Pierce Brosnan’s last James Bond film was always going to be something special. It starred Madonna as two characters (a tortured prisoner and a protagonist) and featured one of the most epic fight scenes ever to occur in a music video. Costing an astonishing $6,100,000 to make, it was practically a movie in itself (even though it was only 4 and a half minutes long!)
1. Michael Jackson – Scream
MJ certainly had a lot of money to throw away in the 90’s. Yes, it turns out the most expensive music video ever made is ‘Scream’ by Michael and his sister Janet Jackson! It set the production company back a whopping $7,000,000 and lasted just 4:46 minutes. The black-and-white video featured Michael and Janet showing off their slick dance movies in space-themed rooms, including an anti-gravity scene. The reason for the large budget was due to a combination of special effects, expensive sets and lighting, as well as the crew and costumes.