Music video directors can make salaries from £22,750 to over £91,000, depending on experience and location, according to the Indeed website. Directors in the video industry were paid an average of £26 an hour in 2008, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Video directors can have part time or full time schedules depending on if they work for a film company, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Music video directors are responsible for creating a visual story and effects to complement music and promote an artist that stars in the video. Many major record companies such as Warner Music, Sony, Universal and EMI have music video directors on staff or hire music video production companies to make music videos that market artists' songs. The music video directors storyboard, manage the choreographer, producers, film editors, lighting directors and photographers that also work on the video. The music video director's salary will depend on how large the artist is and the budget of the video, including special effects. Usually the director's salary will be about eight per cent of the budget for the video, according to The Directors Guild of America.
Many artists and record companies enjoy working with independent label music producers who can do music videos under a certain budget. Lil Wayne's label, Cash Money Records, which produces music videos for PitBull and Julio Igelsias said he shoots videos for, "virtually nothing," according to an article by The Columbus Dispatch. Independent music directors can earn £0 to over £650 per shoot depending on the artist they are working with and the contract arrangements.
Many music video directors join trade unions to protect their wages and jobs. The largest trade union for film and television directors in the United States is The Directors Guild of America (DGA). According to the DGA, for films with a budget over £2.3 million, directors should make around £45,500. For smaller films, under £1.7 million, there is no salary requirement. The minimum salary for a video director that produces music videos for a major commercial record company is about £798 per day, according to The Directors Guild of America.
Famous Music Video Directors
Many music video directors start their film careers by shooting music videos. The most famous music video, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was directed by John Landis, who has also directed movies such as, "Honey I Shrunk The Kids," "Blues Brothers 2000," and "Beverly Hills Cop".The 14-minute video, which cost £325,000 in 1983 won eight Grammys. Landis wound up making around £0.6 million in royalties off of the video after a lengthy lawsuit with Michael Jackson, according to The Guardian newspaper.
- Indeed: Music Director Salary
- "The Complete Film Production Handbook"; Eve Light Honthaner; Elsevier; 2010
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Motion Picture and Video Industries
- The Directors Guild of America: Contracts/Agreements
- "The Columbus Dispatch," Director's thrifty ways pay off; David Fischer; January 2, 2011
- "The Guardian"; Thriller director sues Michael Jackson; Dan Glaister; January 28, 2009