Universal Music Group and YouTube are teaming up to restore and remaster over 1000 music videos for the digital era, according to a recent news report from Pitchfork. Music videos from many iconic artists such as Nirvana, Beastie Boys, Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, and Tom Petty will be receiving this treatment, which will be outfitted to improve the picture and audio quality for the site’s users.
“We were making videos for a screen that the very largest was 32 inches,” music video director David Mallet, who’s video for “White Wedding” by Billy Idol was remastered, said in an interview with the New York Times. “A lot of them just don’t hold up when they get blown up to 60-inch screens.”
Much of the footage from these older videos suffered during their original digital transition, as they could not match the current high definition audio and video technology that modern devices use. Remastering the videos meant using a lot of archival footage, and arduous work, as every single remastering meant recreating every piece of material from the original recordings.
“Audiences can tell the difference when it’s put in front of them, they can understand the difference when it’s explained to them, and it’s our obligation as partners of the artists to put the closest representation of the artist’s voice and vision in front of audiences,” Michael Nash, the executive vice president of digital strategy at Universal explained in the same New York Times piece. “If you didn’t educate consumers about what grand cru was, everyone would be drinking wine out of a box.”
Some of the artist’s, such as Billy Idol, have been highly receptive of this new process, since it allows there original artistic vision hold up to our modern standards. Songs such as Nirvana’s anthemic “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which helped launched the group into super-stardom in the early 90s can now be enjoyed as intended, thanks to the process.
“Once that dirty coloring is removed, it’s a lot more vital somehow,” Billy Idol, who’s had six clips upgraded, told The New York Times. “It gives these videos a chance against the modern high-quality definition. And I’m forever that age in these videos — it’s kind of fantastic.”
Watch the remastered version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” below: