The Most Expensive Music Videos

7 July 2023
The Most Expensive Music Videos

Giant tankers, limousines, helicopters, thousands of players and even dolphins… If not enough, spacecraft. All this is reasonable for a movie set. So, what about for music videos?


Michael Jackson

Song: Scream

Budget: $7,000,000

It’s no surprise that the highest-budget music video ever made belongs to Michael Jackson. Because with his many videos, he left his mark not only in the 90s, but also in all times. However, the Scream (1995) video has another significance among all. The song he sang with his sister Janet Jackson was interpreted as a response to child abuse lawsuits at that time, as well as being the title song of the album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. The pop king, who also directed many of his music videos, entrusted the chair completely to Mark Romanek this time and worked with three different art directors. In the clip, set in a spacecraft, Jackson brothers dance, play video games, meditate and then mess around. The feeling of rebellion that permeated the soul of the song was completed with every detail in the clip. Janet Jackson, known for her innocent image until that day, was surprising with her daring costumes, assertive make-up and angry looks, while the king of pop was trying to express her longing to stay away from the tabloid press. Many music authorities such as Grammy, MTV and Billboard entered the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive clip of all time with its clip budget, which received awards in numerous branches such as Best Choreography, Best Art Direction, Best Dance.



Song: Die Another Day

Budget: $6,100,000

Filmed at Hollywood Studios in 2002, Die Another Day is the title track of the James Bond movie released the same year. The song, which gained a different reputation with its clip independent from the movie, attracted attention with the condition of Madonna, who was 43 at that time, and her successful acting performance. The video, shot by the Swedish advertising team Traktor, consisting of five directors and two producers, became the second most expensive clip of all time with its budget. The biggest stamp of the clip is undoubtedly the visual effects behind creating the two Madonna personas who are in constant struggle.


Guns n’ Roses

Song: Estranged

Budget: $5,000,000

It was obvious that the budget for the clip, directed by Andy Morahan, which was released in 1993, would not be a reasonable figure when it was first prepared. Because the script to be written for a piece of 9 minutes and 46 seconds could not have consisted of monotonous images, and it was fashionable to invest in video clips at that time. However, if the group in question consisted of Axl Rose, who is famous for his craziness, and Slash, who is at least as dominant as him, then the expectations would be high. The main budget for the video, which was released as the final part of the trilogy after Don’t Cry and November Rain, was undoubtedly the Jumbo jet, fuel tanker, limousines and helicopters hired for the aerial scenes. Dolphins and countless players remained only a detail.


Naushad, Shakeel Badayuni, Lata Mangeshkar

Song: Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya

Budget: $320,000

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, the title track of the soundtrack of the epic Indian movie Mughal-e-Azam, translated into Turkish as the Great Mongol Empire, is the oldest among the most expensive video clips of all time. Created at Mohan Studios, inspired by Sheesh Mahal, the set was extraordinarily large for its time. The mirrors made of Belgian glass used in the set, which was astonishing with its height and width, took up most of the budget. The construction of the set took two years. Although its budget was stated as 320,000 dollars at that time, its budget is around 3 million dollars according to today’s inflation. The clip, which frightened the film’s financiers during the shooting, attracted so much attention that it was reflected in the revenue of this film, and Mughal-e-Azam became one of the highest-grossing films of all time.


The Rolling Stones

Song: Love is Strong

Budget: $1,000,000

It’s not for every musician, of course. If you want David Fincher, the creator of the legendary films Gone Girl, Se7en, Fight Club to direct your music video, you must first convince him and then check your wallet. That doesn’t apply to The Rolling Stones. Because they needed neither persuasion nor a film career of Fincher when they shot this video in 1994. In the video they made with the comfort of discovering the successful director at an early stage, Fincher also presented one of the biggest bands in the rock world in gigantic dimensions, befitting his reputation.