Credits are crucial in music videos. At the dawn of music video, lower thirds stamped the beginning and end of each video. But that was the 80’s. With all the ways to watch video nowadays, how do you give credit where it’s due?
Thankfully it’s easy to master the music video title format. Just keep the end goal in mind: to credit your creatives and crew in an engaging way. We’ll show you what credits you need and how to present them. And we’ll also hook you up with a great music video title card template to use for your own video. Download your free music video title card below.
FREE Template: 3 Music Video Credits Pack for Premiere Pro
Instantly add credits to your music video with this easy-to-use Premiere Pro CC plugin. The template comes with 3 unique styles, each one customizable with only a few clicks.
The "Featured Artist" Music Video Credit
Big and bold: a new way to open or close your music video.
The "Essential" Music Video Credit
A modern credit look that works for most music videos.
The "MTV Look" Music Video Credit
Recreate the look from everyone's favorite MTV music videos.
music video credits
1. The evolution of music video credits
You might remember the music video credits format — in that classic MTV music video font — in music videos. You know, when MTV and VH1 actually aired music videos. Bring back those old school music videos!
The old school music video credits format
Music videos have mostly migrated from broadcast TV to the web. Now, record labels partner with outlets like YouTube and Vevo to reach music fans on mobile, web and TV-connected devices.
Naturally, the standard music video credits format is changing too. Now the title cards appear in a similar fashion to feature film credits. Artists, actors, directors and producers often appear at the beginning or end of music videos (or both).
An artist + title + collaborator + director
Sometimes featured artists get top billing...
Zoey Deutch gets top billing in these music video credits
Although the music video lower third is antiquated, sometimes it’s good to go retro like the old school music videos.
A modern use of the old school music video lower third
That classic MTV music video font sure hits the nostalgia button. If you’re old enough to remember it, that is.
Artist Name in music video credits
2. Where does the artist name go?
In the traditional music video lower third order, the artist name would be the first item listed.
The artist name music video title card
Today, you'll find that most video post titles keep that order intact — as on YouTube and Vevo.
Another music video credits with a single artist title card
The artist’s name should include any featured artists (separated by “feat.” "+" or “&”). Because pop music has become so collaborative, featured artists are almost a guarantee. They are also a huge selling point for the song and video so make sure you take advantage of these name drops.
Don’t forget collaborators
Song title music video credits
3. Where does the song title go?
In the traditional music video lower third order, the song title would be the second item. You almost always see this in the video’s post title nowadays as well.
The music video opening credits looks like a movie
The artist and song title can combine
music video credits
4. Does the director get credit?
The director is often credited as well, although not always. Sometimes the artist is the director, including Grimes, Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift.
Director Joseph Kahn’s music video title card
Other credits in music videos
5. Who else should you credit?
Traditionally the album title was included.
But with streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, and YouTube Music replacing album sales, this might not be as important.
Whether in the description or video itself, you might also want to include the record label or copyright holders of the song. Of course, a producer should check with the label and be crystal clear on the copyright usage.
A copyright music video title card closes Katy Perry’s “Bon Appetit”
Producers, actors, and even choreographers are also fair game.
Artist + actor + director-choreographers
Some videos even go all out with the end credits, with no less detail than that of a feature film.
Full credits in “Pretty Prizes” by Daniele Luppi
brands in the music video credits
6. Crediting brand partnerships
Music videos offer record labels partnership opportunities with brands. This might also impact your music video title format. The video below exemplifies this type of synergy perfectly.
OK Go, who are known for their wildly inventive videos, partnered with Double A Paper to create this eye-popping music video. You'll see the partnership credit at the very end of the video.
OK Go’s “Obsession” cross-promoted with Double A Paper.
You can see a similar example is The XX's, "I Dare You." This is a unique example because it's half way between a short film and a music video — the cast is credited at the end, along with the partnership credit for Calvin Klein.
A collaboration with Calvin Klein.
Best Text Graphics Trends
The music video title format is changing, but the same principles apply. Make sure the people who worked hard receive the credit they deserve. And once you know proper formatting, you can put it into effect. Next up, we'll look how important the actual text graphics you use for these credits are, along with some incredible examples from recent trends.