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Michael Jackson Premieres Music Video On Twitter

'A Place With No Name' Finds First Home On Twitter

Twitter is usually the place where people come to show off what they’ve done – to post links to videos or articles. As far as media goes people have tended to regard it in the same way as pre-digital forms of promotion like television adverts or billboards; a place to advertise rather than host.

All that may be changing, however, with the news that Michael Jackson is, if not the first, certainly the highest profile artist to launch a new music video on the social networking site.


To say that Michael Jackson is releasing it, or indeed that it is a ‘new’ song, is something of a misnomer. The King of Pop died in 2009, although that hasn’t stopped the Jackson estate and Epic Records churning out posthumous material. This latest song was completed by producer StarGate, who is responsible for various superhits of the last few years including ‘S&M’ by Rihanna and ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry, and formed a part of the album Xscape released in May this year.

Jackson’s new video is for the song ‘A Place With No Name’ and was directed by Samuel Bayer, who was responsible for the video for Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and more recently television adverts of the like of Coca-Cola and Nike. It features exclusive (although somewhat limited) footage of the deceased singer, although the footage is primarily based around a couple driving through the desert and splashing around in the sea; a visual aesthetic which many fans have criticised as being uninspired and wholly at odds with the actual content of the song.

From a marketing perspective, the decision to host the video on Twitter’s own video servers is perhaps the most notable aspect of this whole saga. While YouTube has been the go-to video hosting client for some time now issues ranging from the introduction of adverts playing before videos to the forcing of users to comment under their real names, not to mention a generally perceived decline in playback quality, has meant that the potential for a real competitor has been growing for a while.


This move can be seen as a part of Twitter’s grander strategy of promoting video content on its site. It recently introduced the option of video adverts, and the embedding of videos within users’ timelines (rather than simply providing a link) is a fundamental move to keeping eyes on-site and thus increasing its worth to advertisers. While Twitter’s direct messaging system only supports photos for now, it would be unsurprising if they soon introduced the capacity for the private sharing of videos.

All these moves seemed aimed at shifting Twitter beyond its origins as what is fundamentally a micro-blogging site into something more social, more Facebook-esque. It’s a natural move for the company considering that the more people centre their lives around the site the more information they share on it and thus the more data is available for Twitter to flog to marketers.


Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Michael Jackson Premieres Music Video On Twitter Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, August 15, 2014 Rating: 5
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