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12 Most Expensive Music Videos Ever

Entertainment is a very competitive industry, and more so music. For some, especially big record labels with unlimited resources, making music is much more than just entertainment, it is serious business. Hence, to stay at the top, they pull out all the stops, including churning out huge huge budgets for image, production, music videos, promotion and so on.

This list below consists of some of the most expensive music videos ever made, with sums bigger than a whole yearly budget of some record labels.

1. “Scream” by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson ($7 million)

“Scream” was a 1995 duet by Michael Jackson and his sister Janet, and was the lead single from his ninth studio album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. the video of the hit song cost $7 million and was listed in the Guinness World Records as the most expensive music video ever made.

2. “Die Another Day” by Madonna ($6 million)

“Die Another Day” was the theme song from the James Bondfilm of the same name by Madonna. The song was released commercially as a single on October 22 by Maverick Records and was later included on the singer’s ninth studio album, American Life (2003), and her greatest hits compilation, Celebration (2009). The music video which caused approximately $6 million was directed by Traktor, and was developed as an independent video from the film but contained Bond influences.

3. “Express Yourself” by Madonna ( $5 million )

“Express Yourself” is an upbeat dance-pop and deep funk song singer-songwriter Madonna, from her fourth studio album Like a Prayer (1989). The music video was directed by David Fincher and filmed in April 1989, at Culver Studios in Culver City, California. At the time of production, the video aused an estimated $5 million.

4. “Bedtime Story” by Madonna ($5 million)

The music video for Madonna’s 1995 “Bedtime Story” was directed by Mark Romanek over a course of six days at Universal Studios, Universal City, California and is said to have const $5 million. The song itself was released as the third song on Madonna’s sixth studio album, Bedtime Stories (1994).

5. “Estranged” by Guns N’ Roses ($4 million)

The video for Guns N’ Roses 1994 power ballad, “Estranged” was directed by  Andy Morahan on an estimated budget of $4 million. The video was third and final part of an unofficial Del James trilogy of videos which included “Don’t Cry” and “November Rain”.

6. “Black or White” by Michael Jackson ($4 million)

The music video for Michael Jackson’s was directed by John Landis, who previously directed Thriller, co-choreographed by Jackson and Vincent Paterson and featured appearances by  Macaulay Culkin, Tess Harper, and George Wendt. The video premiered simultaneously in 27 countries on November 14, 1991, with an audience of 500 million viewers, the most ever for a music video. The video was estimated to have cost $4 million.

7. “Make Me Like You” by Gwen Stefani ($4 million)

The music video for “Make Me Like You” was filmed at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California on February 15, 2016 during the live broadcast of the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. The video was directed by Sophie Muller, who had previously worked with Stefani and cost 4$ million.

8. “Cartoon Heroes” by Aqua ($3.5 million)

“Cartoon Heroes” is a song by the Danish-Norwegian dance-pop group Aqua from their second studio album, Aquarius. The music video for the song was filmed in December 1999 and cost $3.5 million to produce.

9. “Victory” by Puff Daddy ($2.7 million)

“Victory” was originally written by The Notorious B.I.G., Jason Phillips and Steven Jordan for his debut studio album No Way Out (1997) The song was eventually recorded by Puff Daddy and featured The Notorious B.I.G., who raps two verses, and Busta Rhymes, who raps the song’s chorus. The almost eight-minute-long video The video is said to have cost an estimated $2.7 million and featured cameos from Tamara Beckwith, Dennis Hopper as a New World Order dictator (“President Victor Castiglione”) and Danny DeVito as a live action reporter. 

10. “2 Legit 2 Quit” by MC Hammer ($2.5 million)

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“2 Legit 2 Quit” is a single by Hammer featuring Saja (aka Sonia Moore), released on September 5, 1991 as both the title track and first single of his fourth studio album, Too Legit to Quit (1991). The music video was directed by Rupert Wainwright and is almost 15 minutes in length.

11. “Heartbreaker” by Mariah Carey ($2.5 million)

The music video was filmed at Los Angeles Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, California on July 30 – August 1, 1999 and directed by Brett Ratner Directed by Brett Ratner. The video which cost over $2.5 million remains a fan favourite because of its strong female empowering message and nature.

12. “Doesn’t Really Matter” by Janet Jackson ($2.5 million)

“Doesn’t Really Matter”was recorded for the soundtrack to the 2000 film Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. The song was released as a single in May 21, 2000, after an unfinished version leaked to radio. The video was directed by Joseph Kahn and takes place in a futuristic city resembling Tokyo, Japan costing $2.5 million.

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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