Joe Clark: Accessibility | Design | Writing

Captioned music videos

I’m one of three people who can (and, in my case, will) take credit for legitimizing the concept of captioned music videos. In 1989, I wrote a guest editorial for Billboard explaining that music videos, as visual cinematic artworks, are of interest to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers. (Text is not online. This was a while ago. At present, I also don’t have a hardcopy with me.)

My editorial, which received a few enthusiastic letters to the editor, followed the work of Ed Stasium, a record producer with a hard-of-hearing daughter, and Donna Horn, a marketing executive at the Caption Center (now at Captionmax). Stasium’s daughter put a bug in his ear about the inaccessibility of the videos for Living Colour, the band whose album he was then producing; Horn arranged for the captioning of “Cult of Personality,” not quite the first captioned video but the first notable one.

Later, I wrote a few more articles on the topic, available here:

  1. Don’t trust the “subtitled” version of Snow’s “Informer”!
  2. Basic article for Vibe (and boy, was that ever a disaster when it came out)
  3. Sidebar on vaguely typographic aspects

I still remain an expert on captioned videos. And I’ll be putting my money (or somebody else’s money) where my mouth is on that soon enough. Mark my words.

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Captioned music videos

Updated 2001.07.15

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