Why do some bands re-record songs for music videos when they already have a album version?

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For example, “Fell On Black Days”, by Soundgarden, or “Creep” by Stone Temple Pilots. The songs in the music videos are completely different recordings from the albums.

Or do I have it backwards, and the music video version came BEFORE the album version?

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I think it’s because you usually want your entire album to be cohesive and consistent together. So when the album version of the song becomes a single (when it gets promo, radio play and/or music video) you’d then want it to stand out among the other songs by other artists so enhancements or revisions are made to the original track.

Very often they’re actually remixes or edits. One major factor is time. On the album versions they tend to be longer, because nobody minds. There are different edits and mixes, for radio and ones for video.

While less of a factor today due to much better electronics, another problem was speakers. When watching a music video, you were listening through a crappy small 2 or 3 inch speaker on the television and radios were usually tiny speakers too.

To this day, you’ll find lots of different sized reference monitors in a mixing studio. I worked with a producer who insisted I run the recordings we did through a hand held radio with a 2” speaker, for these reasons.

As for time issues, say the album version is 5 minutes but the video is 3.5 minutes. They might change where the guitar solo is, or use a vocal section that is more well suited to a shorter time.

Rarely though is it a completely different version. Usually it’s just remixed and edited to the point is basically has become distinguishable.