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Is the Music Video Dying? Not in New Zealand

From Lorde’s sun-drenched ‘Solar Power’ to Jujulipps’ slick “Airplane Mode’, New Zealand’s music videos remain cool and exciting 

Grecco Romank

Grecco Romank

Britt Walton

Is the music video fading away? According to a recent article in The Guardian, it seems so.

In today’s world of TikTok and short attention spans, even big stars like Dua Lipa and Ariana Granda are finding it difficult to make an impact with their music videos. Artists and directors alike are struggling to grab viewers’ attention.

But don’t count music videos out just yet – with a renewed focus on quality and innovative storytelling, they might just stay relevant.

What about in New Zealand? Making music videos here used to be hard and expensive, but things changed in 1991 when NZ On Air’s music video scheme made it easier for artists to make good videos without spending a lot. 

Since then, we’ve seen iconic videos from The Clean, Patea Maori Club, Shihad, and, of course, Dave Dobbyn… the list goes on and on.

In the 2020s, there’s still plenty of creativity flowing. Many Aotearoa artists have been making cool and exciting music videos in the past few years, proving that the art form is still alive and kicking. Below, check out seven standout recent examples.

Lorde – “Solar Power” 

Lorde frolics around the sandy shores of a New Zealand beach (later revealed as Cactus Bay on Waiheke Island) in slinky yellow attire, joined by Auckland’s art and fashion elite. This glorious sun-drenched video clip is a bit Kiwiana summer meets Midsommar vibes, where Lorde is “like a prettier Jesus.”

The Beths – “Knees Deep” 

Taken from the beloved power-pop band’s excellent third album Expert in a Dying Field, the adrenaline-packed Sports Team-directed video sees the band bungy jump off Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Grecco Romank – “Romance Writer” 

The Tāmaki Makaurau dungeon power techno three-piece lull viewers into a New Wave Victorian aesthetic reminiscent of the 1970s, in this dark and glamorous clip produced by Britt Walton (Ladyhawke, Viva).

Jujulipps – “Airplane Mode” 

It was one of the best New Zealand music videos of last year. Directed by Ezra Simons (Earth Tongue, Soft Bait) alongside AD Oscar Keys (Sunbed Films), it hypnotically brings to life the empowering message of Jujulipps’ song, while paying tribute to her childhood at the same time.

D.C. Maxwell – “The Last Stand of the Killer” 

The experimental country-pop crooner fully inhabits his characters in his music, so it’s no surprise his latest visual creation is an absolute riot. Bringing to life a standout track from his remarkably assured debut album Lone Rider, the clip sees Maxwell take on the role of an adrenaline pumping maniac during a bank robbery gone awry. Buckle in and see it out to its bitter end.

Erny Belle – “Unchained” 

In the mesmerizing music video, Erny Belle takes a leisurely ride on a bus, meandering along country roads. Co-directed by the Ngāpuhi singer-songwriter and Matt Hunter, the video perfectly complements the unhurried pace of “Unchained” and Belle’s distinctive style overall.

Ebony Lamb – “Take My Hands at Night” 

A swooning black-and-white video accompanies the lead single from the striking debut album of the 2024 Taite Music Prize nominee. Co-produced by the dream duo of Bic Runga and Kody Nielson, the video, directed by Ezra Simons (known for Earth Tongue and Soft Bait) and shot by photographer Frances Carter, captures Lamb’s essence majestically on 16mm film.