Way back in 2008, I put out a question to the the online video world: “Can someone please make a typographic web series?” The request was made after watching some of the more than impressive animated wordplay from motion designer Brian Cain, who in one video captures perhaps the best post-Swingers pieces of dialogue involving Vince Vaughn in vivid detail just with the use of text.

Almost five years later, it looks like the recording industry at large (spurred by fans of singalong), kind of answered my call to action with the advent of the lyric video. And Tom Scott explains how it all came to be.

The London-based Sky1 HD Gadget Geek and old school YouTube creator (who uploaded his first video way back in June 2006) recently published A Brief History of Lyric Videos. In the two-minute and 21-second video, Scott imitates the genre and explains the origin of music videos with mostly static or lo-fi moving images, in which the words of the song play across the screen.

It’s an information-packed lesson on a new breed of online entertainment that has roots in Prince, George Michael, and designer Saul Bass, but is mostly the offspring of YouTube and savvy recording labels eager to protect their intellectual property. Check it out:

And if this is the first time you’re hearing of a lyric video it certainly won’t be the last. If both Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are doing it, it’s sure to stay in vogue.

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