By Dusan Petkovic /

This is a guest post from Carl Young, Head of Music & Talent, UK at Vevo. He uses exclusive Vevo data to explore how audiences in a “summer of nostalgia” – where big heritage artists have grabbed widespread attention – have chosen to continue connecting with those artists after their headline events. Those fans, he says, are choosing to satiate their new interest by exploring archive music videos – and that, with some careful planning, these casual fans can then be turned into engaged fans.

Looking back on the big moments that defined pop culture this summer, there’s one common theme that emerges – nostalgia. From the ‘Stranger Things’ effect to big moments served up by legendary icons and comebacks no one expected, legacy artists have been finding ways to cut through and connect with younger generations.

Carl Young, Head of Music & Talent, UK, Vevo

This trend was front and centre for festival season with Paul McCartney and Diana Ross headlining Glastonbury’s long-awaited return, and Sugababes reuniting their original line-up for the first time in 21 years. Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis film created a big resurgence for the King, and ABBA’s Voyage tour used new technology to engage a whole new generation of fans.

But once they’ve been introduced to these artists, how are audiences engaging with their work? In the world of the ‘attention economy’, with so much content available at our fingertips, music videos in particular remain a key way for these legacy artists to connect with new fans from all over the world – especially young people, who are consuming them in their hoards.

Intrinsically visual, music videos from decades past not only keep artist experiences and stories alive, but they also serve as a time machine for the newer generations. Searching out an artist’s music videos is a ‘lean-in’ viewing experience that creates a concrete connection between viewers and artists, and converts casual viewers into actual fans, who are more inclined to purchase merchandise or concert tickets.

YouTube video

Global music video network Vevo, which currently attracts 19 million UK viewers aged 18-44 (80% of the total population in this age bracket) is seeing major viewership lifts around music videos from decades past.

  • On the day of her Glastonbury performance, Diana Ross’ channel was up over 3,000% vs the previous 10 Sundays and she had a +1,049% lift in UK views in June.
  • Paul McCartney’s set at Glastonbury 2022 translated to +150% lift in views on his 10 week average
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Glastonbury performance saw a lift of +105% in views across Vevo
  • Sugababes’ views were up 54% as they launched their comeback at Glastonbury
  • In the fantastical debut of their holographic “Abbatars,” ABBA successfully opened their ‘Voyage’ show in London and saw a +45% lift in UK views in May.
  • Elvis’ “If I Can Dream (’68 Comeback Special)” is now his most popular video on Vevo in terms of daily views. In the 3 weeks since the movie’s premiere, this video specifically saw a 400% lift globally in average daily views (compared to the 3 weeks prior).

In addition to helping an artist gain exposure and create new fandom, music videos can be easily monetized through running adverts that surround the music video, providing legacy artists with a source of incremental revenue in today’s streaming age. In other words, new fans, or more eyeballs on classic music videos, also means more ad revenue – and more money to these artists and their teams.

YouTube video

One might think of the ad they see before watching a music video on YouTube as an example of this. However, in line with the theme of what’s old is new again, the TV (now internet-enabled via our home wi-fi) has come full circle and has once again become a critical monetization means for artists. There are various free ad-supported TV channels that feature 24/7 music video programming on most smart TVs like Samsung, Apple TV and Fire TV (with these TV platforms often utilised by younger, digital savvy fans). In fact, almost a third of Vevo music video views come through the TV screen alone.

The music video is an art form that continues to provide countless defining moments and images of the world’s leading artists. The current trend of nostalgic music and content becoming popular again continues the lifecycle of these timeless videos and keeps classic artists in the public consciousness, cutting through and continuing their legacies by breaking down generational divides.

Header image by Dusan Petkovic /

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