Follow TV Tropes


Alternate Music Video

Go To
Your typical Performance Video...
then a whole cinematic After the End-style music video.

Sometimes, on YouTube, you want to watch and listen to music videos of your favorite musicians or just want to discover new music. But what's this? You see another music video of the same song, and it's different from the one you watched with millions of views.

Sometimes you search the song on Wikipedia, you find out it had another music video. The chances of finding it can vary, with the video on the official channel at best, at low-quality resolution at an unofficial channel at second best, or in a rare edition of a long-discontinued physical format at not the most optimal.

There are a plethora of reasons on why there's another music video. Factors can include

  • International marketing;
  • Censorship (perhaps corollary with the international marketing if some scenes might be too violent or too sexy for the aimed region);
  • Time limitations if shown in broadcasts;
  • Exclusivity on bonus packs and collector's editions;
  • For choreography purposes, such as several K-Pop artists; one is the official music video where some acting and a storyline are usually involved along with the main parts of the choreography, while the other is only for the full choreography.
  • Promotion for a movie (provided people remember OR know it came from that movie),
  • For demo purposes, or;
  • The first attempt was just horrible, so they had to make a second one.

Lyric Video can be in relation to this. Compare Fanvid, where fans compile alternate music videos using other content, sometimes in sync with the music.


  • The first single for Paula Abdul was actually "The Way That You Love Me" back in 1988. She created a "bare-bones" music video where a group of dancers (and herself) are performing in front of the camera. The song stalled at #88. After the success of "Straight Up" a year later, her first song was re-edited, released as a special single, and a newer more famous video (featuring very expensive items) was shown on MTV. This version went to #1.
  • The music video for A Ha's "Take On Me" is actually the second version. The first version had a different recording with the band singing on a blue background while gymnasts are dancing on interim.
  • Tasmin Archer's "Sleeping Satellite" has two versions, with the original has her spinning inside a wizard's study room, while the US version has her placing balls in a glowing table and dancing around a planetarium.
  • Natasha Bedingfield:
    • "Unwritten" consists of two versions. The North American version has her standing in the elevator and observes on several people and during the chorus, she stops over different floors leading to outdoor spaces like a park or children dancing. The International version has herself contained inside a book as the book itself climbs up the library ceiling.
    • "These Words" also has two versions. The international version has her in Málaga frustrated by her inability to find inspiration for songwriting, while she walks and dances in colorful outfits, ending with her boyfriend arriving at her home with the help of her scribblings. The North American version, filmed in Brazil, features Bedingfield with boomboxes that come alive and dance.
  • Blur has two videos for the song "There's No Other Way"; the original features a family (including the band) having dinner, with Albarn occasionally looking towards the camera to sing. The other, the US promo video, features the band performing the song in an ornate room, sometimes cutting to band members underwater.
  • There are two videos to the song "Wisemen" by James Blunt: one where he is abducted from a club by three masked (wise?) men and imprisoned in a shack on the beach, and one where he drives out into the woods, sets light to his passport and other personal documents, then inexplicably bursts into flames while walking away.
  • Boyz II Men released two videos for "Vibin'": One featuring them recording in the studio, performing onstage, and partying, and the more well known one that shows them performing in an underground boxing ring. The latter was filmed for the song's remix, and also featured Treach, Method Man, Busta Rhymes, Sean Combs, and the late Craig Mack, all of whom were guests on the remix.
  • Two versions of Bobby Brown's "Humpin' Around" video are known to exist: The standard short version, and a rare recut extended version, featuring alternate shots and outtakes that were left out of the original video.
  • BTS:
    • "I NEED U" has the regular version, and "I NEED U (Original ver.)". The former is a censored version of the latter due to violent scenes, to the point that to really follow the BTS Universe story both are part of, it's necessary to watch the uncensored Original version.
    • "FAKE LOVE" has an extended version that expands a bit on the story (featuring the Rocking Vibe Mix).
    • There's a video for "IDOL" and for "IDOL (feat. Nicki Minaj)", the latter using alternative takes from the former plus an appearance by Nicki Minaj for her verse. It also adds videos posted as part of the fan-organized #IDOLCHALLENGE at the end.
    • "Boy With Luv" and "Dynamite" have alternative versions ("ARMY with Luv version" and "B-side", respectively) heavily featuring outtakes, including mistakes and general goofing around.
    • "Black Swan" has the Art Film version (featuring orchestral instrumentals with a performance by the MN Dance Company, with BTS themselves being absent), and the main official video featuring the members in the Los Angeles Theatre.
    • There are 2 music videos for "ON": a pure Performance Video titled "'ON' Kinetic Manifesto Film : Come Prima", and the simply titled "'ON' Official MV", which features a full cinematic story set After the End. A comparison can be seen on the page image.
    • A good bunch of older videos (plus "Dynamite"), which tend to have more cinematic elements, have an alternate "Dance version", using only takes featuring the choreography. There's also an existing dance version and a "Facial Expression" version of "Just One Day", though neither are posted on official channels.
    • Japanese versions of singles often get their own full music videos. Some, like "Run" and "Blood, Sweat and Tears", are dramatically different from the original Korean music videos.
    • "Life Goes On" has the "in the forest" and "on my pillow" versions, one-take videos originally filmed as part of the original version; "like an arrow", only featuring still images; and an "ARMY version" posted exclusively on BANGTANTV featuring a compilation of Tiktok videos of fans singing.
    • "Butter" also has music videos for the "Hotter" and "Cooler" remixes; similar to the "in the forest"/"on my pillow" videos, it uses outtakes from a particular set. Since they're pretty much improvisation from the members (read: members goofing around), it works.
    • "Permission to Dance" has a Shorts Challenge version (available on BANGTANTV), featuring a compilation of Youtube shorts submitted by fans where they dance to the song, which in the video are watched by a lone astronaut floating in space.
  • "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush has two versions. The "White Dress" version released in the UK and Europe has Kate emphasizing Cathy's ghostly nature by wearing a white dress and dancing in a motion blur effect. The "Red Dress" version released in the US has Kate dancing in a grassy forest and wearing a red dress.
  • "Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities has the original version where it shows clips of wars and people dancing in progression from World War I to the 2000s, and the official version where an empty theater is brought to life with the duo and other dancers coming out of their posters doing a dance-off.
  • The Cardigans:
    • "Erase & Rewind" features the band in a room where The Walls Are Closing In. Two versions of the video exist: One where they are saved in the nick of time, and another where they are crushed.
    • The more famous version of the "Lovefool" video, with the band inside a bottle floating over water, is actually the second version of the video. The original, less TV-friendly version features elderly women in lingerie.
    • Because the original version is quite violent, five different cuts of the video for "My Favourite Game" were made with varying amounts of censorship and different endings. Three of them end with singer Nina Persson dying in a car accident (in three different ways), while she survives the accident in the fourth version. The fifth version eliminates all of the violence in the video including the accident, and just shows Nina driving down the road the whole time.
  • Coldplay actually does have two different videos for "Viva La Vida": the much better-known Performance Video and an Anton Corbijn-directed one with Chris Martin dressed as a king wandering around the Hague.
  • British fans searching for the music video for Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar On Me can become baffled to be directed to what looks like an anonymous and unimaginative compilation of live concert footage. What they think of as the proper video for the song, the one used for Top of the Pops and broadcast in the UK note  is still out there: it's just that, for whatever reason, the concert footage one is the official video as released in the USA.
  • Dire Straits:
    • There are two different videos for "Tunnel Of Love". The first features only the three bands members who played on Making Movies (singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler, bassist John Illsley and drummer Pick Withers) and was clearly filmed at the same time they made the videos for "Romeo & Juliet" and "Skateaway". The second features the five-piece touring lineup (the three plus keyboardist Alan Clark and second guitarist Hal Lindes), with the first verse taking place at an amusement park, and the remainder in a canal where the boy and girl are being chased by soldiers.
    • The band also made two videos for "Walk of Life", one featuring a busker in the London Underground and one showing sports bloopers. Both are intercut with (different) live footage of the band playing the song.
  • Eazy-E planned to put out two versions of his "Real Muthaphuckkin G's" video, but scheduling conflicts with director Marty Thomas, and Eazy's premature death scuttled that plan until 2015, when Thomas finished it, and released it as a "director's cut"; featuring alternate scenes, behind the scenes shots, and outtakes.
  • Foo Fighters: The US video for "Times Like These" has the band performing under a bridge while people throw various things off the bridge to land near them, until eventually a (floorless) house is dropped on the band and the walls fall away around them. The international version has the band performing against various psychedelic backdrops and skies, before eventually they show the Chroma Key set the band are playing in at the end of the song.
  • The original music video for Peter Gabriel's song "Games Without Frontiers" featured children sitting at a banquet table as if in an international conference. In subsequent versions, the footage of that got replaced with artistic footage involving people walking in various patterns and often overlapping.
  • Glass Tiger's song "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone"'s original video, which played in their native Canada, had the band in a brightly colored fake suburb with cartoony drawings of people on cardboard cutouts. When the song started to do well in the US, MTV took one look at the video and said they weren't going to play it. That resulted in a quickly produced second video which is little more than a straight performance video set in a fairly small venue with a tiny audience.
  • There are two different music videos of "The Valley of the Pagans" from Gorillaz. The first featured driving footage from Grand Theft Auto V which was uploaded on YouTube. Five days later it was removed and a new video without the GTA5 scenes was uploaded.
  • George Harrison: "Got My Mind Set on You" has two clips. The first one features a guy deciding to draw a girl's attention by trying to Win Her a Prize at the arcade, intercut with the girl watching Harrison and co-producer Jeff Lynne perform the song in a mechanical viewing booth. The second depicts Harrison performing alone in a fancy den where the surrounding furniture comes to life and starts dancing.
  • Mention Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" and nearly everyone will immediately think of the sexy Herb Ritts-directed video of Chris and supermodel Helena Christensen frolicking on a Hawaiian beach. But there's also a second video directed by David Lynch that was commissioned for the VHS release of the movie Wild at Heart, which combines footage of Chris performing the song with scenes from the movie.
  • Janet Jackson's "Together Again" has two music videos: The most famous one, directed by Seb Janiak, features Janet and several backup dancers in an Afrofuturistic paradise set on the Serengeti. The lesser-known version made for the "Deeper Remix", directed by Jackson's then-husband Rene Elizondo Jr., depicts her in an apartment remembering a lost lover.
  • Michael Jackson had a few of his videos be recut or refilmed entirely:
    • "Smooth Criminal" had three different cuts, all of which aired on TV in some form:
      • The full ten-minute video from Moonwalker, which featured a spoken interlude. This version is considered the "official" version, and is featured on Jackson's YouTube channel.
      • A shortened version set to the album mix, featuring alternate camera angles from the movie with a motion blur effect. This was shown in the credits of Moonwalker, and was the main version that aired on TV for a time.
      • And a shorter edit of the Moonwalker cut that was condensed to 4 minutes for TV airplay. This one is the rarest of the three, and has only been seen sparingly.
    • The original David Fincher-directed video for "Who Is It" wasn't aired in the US during its initial release, and was instead replaced by a compilation of footage from Jackson's previous music videos.
    • "They Don't Care About Us" has three different versions, all filmed by Spike Lee: The well-known version that was filmed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a version set inside a prison that was rarely shown on television, but was later included on the compilation Michael Jackson's Vision. The prison version was the first time in Jackson's career that he had filmed two music videos for the same song. In the summer of 2020, in light of the Black Lives Matter protests happening around the world, Lee released a supercut combining both versions of the video, with new footage of the BLM protests that were happening.
    • "Blood on the Dance Floor" also has three videos: The original version, the re-cut "Refugee Camp" version, which featured alternate scenes, and a re-shot version that was filmed on 8mm film. Sony reportedly hated the 8mm version, despite Jackson's approval, and vetoed an official release.
  • Keane:
    • "Everybody's Changing" has one version where the group performs with a white background while they are slowly replaced by people of all ages and places as the camera pans away. The other one, titled "(Alternate version)", instead plays with wipe transitions between shots of Keane performing in a set with a sunset background and monochrome footage of them touring.
    • One version of "Somewhere Only We Know" has the group helping a lost forest spirit reunite with other forest spirits; it has an US edition version that only has the footage of the group performing near a stream and traveling from the city to the forest, with no forest spirits to be seen. Another version, the official "(Alternate version)", has the group performing on a stage, which then transforms into a forest and then into a city.
    • "This Is the Last Time" has 2 main music videos (plus 2 others unreleased in their official channel). The first switches between footage of the group performing in black and white and images of an animated forest where pink rain falls. The second has the group performing in a street, until the singer starts to wander through the city as much as the cable of microphone lets him, to then switch microphones as he keeps wandering.
  • "Lush Life" by Zara Larsson has a version with her dancing alone in a simple white background (complemented with colorful animations and graphics), and an alternate version with her with a group of dancers and more elaborate, colorful backgrounds (plus some shots of a guy).
  • Dua Lipa:
    • "Levitating" has three music videos, one per version, such as one for the Blessed Madonna remix featuring Madonna and Missy Elliott, one for the single version featuring DaBaby and one for the solo version, which was also animated.
    • In addition to the official music video for "Physical", an alternate 1980s-inspired workout-themed video was released, as an Homage to Olivia Newton-John's "Physical".
  • An alternate video for "Move" by Little Mix is made entirely of the dance routine that the primary video ends with.
  • Major Lazer's "Bubble Butt" has a Mind Screw of a music video featuring, among other things, a Giant Woman inflating women's butts, turning an apartment into a dance club full of female dancers, weird discoballs, and one of the female dancers getting eaten at the end. However, there's a more generic alternate video comprised of close up, black and white shots of video hoes and money.
  • The alternative video for Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song" has Leonard Nimoy vulgarly chronicling his day in the life at the suburbs.
  • MC Hammer's "Pumps and a Bump" had a music video where Hammer and an entourage were having a beach party, and he was wearing a speedo. That "bump" had the video banned by MTV, so he sent an alternate video in an icy landscape and more modest clothes.
  • Kylie Minogue's song "I Should Be So Lucky" had two versions made; one had Kylie walking through several rooms in a house, while the other showed her riding through downtown Sydney in a BMW convertible.
  • There are two music videos for "Porcelain" by Moby:
    • The first video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, and features a human eye being zoomed in on, and then zoomed out from, with various images such as Moby singing reflected in the eye.
    • The second video was directed by Nick Brandt, and features Moby sitting in a car that is driving through various scenes without a driver, while Moby sings the song lyrics.
  • "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" by My Chemical Romance has a music video made of footage from concerts and their daily lives while touring, and the other, far more well-known Real Trailer, Fake Movie music video featuring the members as misfits in high school. Only the latter has been uploaded to the official Youtube channel, though the former was aired on television too in some places.
  • Mystery Skulls' "Ghost" has two music videos; an animated video spoofing Scooby-Doo, and a live action video parodying The Exorcist. The animated one was supposed to be the only video for "Ghost", but production delays for it caused the Mystery Skulls themselves to create their own video in the meantime.
  • Nirvana: When the non-album single "Sliver" first released in 1990, no music video was formally shot for it. As a result, its first TV appearance on The Chart Show featured a crude "video" consisting of just a picture of the cover art with the audio playing over it. A proper music video was shot for the song in 1993 to promote the compilation album Incesticide, featuring the band performing in Kurt Cobain's garage.
  • Tom Odell's "Another Love" has two versions. The first, released in November 2012, features Odell sitting on an armchair while a girl attempts to get his attention. The second, released in May 2013 and dubbed the "short film" version, features Odell spreading missing person notices for a woman around city streets and to random civilians.
  • OK Go:
    • "Do What You Want" had a video consisting in tour footage before they released "Version 2 (Wallpaper Background)", which has them and other people singing and dancing while they and their props are all completely covered in the same pattern as the background (and has nearly 5 times as many views).
    • "This Too Shall Pass" has a music video where the members perform live as part of a marching band, and another, released months later, featuring an extremely elaborate Rube Goldberg Device synced with the song.
  • Ozzy Osbourne's "Mama, I'm Coming Home" had two music videos: The first took the Conveyor Belt Video approach, with homages to René Magritte and general surreal imagery like paintings on fire and Ozzy miming the lyrics to a raven. Ozzy didn't like the end result, so a simpler, sepia-toned Performance Video was also produced.
  • Katy Perry's "Thinking Of You" has two versions. The official one with the World War 2 theme where her first lover is killed in action and she unsatisfyingly settles with another man, and the other one where she claims it was "made by a friend" and was not meant to be released commercially. The video cross-cuts between a (later bloodstained) white room and a black room with two different men.
  • Queen:
    • Two different videos of "Killer Queen" exist. The first, assembled for the Queen's Greatest Flix home video collection in 1981, plays the song over a photo montage of the band members. The second, which uses footage of the band performing the song on Top of the Pops, was used on later home video collections and is also the version featured on the band's official YouTube channel.
    • There are two different official music videos for "Bohemian Rhapsody": the original version from 1975 and the Wayne's World version from 1992 that splices the original footage together with scenes from the film and other clips from the band's career.
    • At least three different videos of the David Bowie collaboration "Under Pressure" have aired at different times. None of the performers appear in the original video, which combines footage of large crowds, riots, and explosions with clips from 1920s silent films. Top of the Pops later aired a second, censored version of this video in the UK that removed footage of explosions in Northern Ireland. A third version, made for the 1999 "Rah Mix" remix, digitally splices together footage of Freddie Mercury performing the song at Wembley Stadium in 1986 and Bowie performing it at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992.
  • Radiohead's "High and Dry" has two music videos, one made for the British market and one for the United States. The UK version features the band performing the song at the Vasquez Rocks in California, while the US version is a Concept Video set in a diner, where the band themselves don't mime the lyrics, but eventually some of the patrons of the diner do. The UK version is the only version featured on the band's official YouTube channel.
  • REO Speedwagon hired music video director John Jopson, who had worked with Herbie Hancock and Hall and Oates, to make a video for "Can't Fight This Feeling". His "interpretation" featured an artful vision featuring floating candles and people with TV static faces. The band (and execs), believing the video was too "artsy", decided to make a second video just showing the band in a faux recording studio. Both versions were shown on MTV getting almost equal airtime.
  • The video for Rihanna's single "Work" featuring Drake was released on Youtube as a double feature. The first version directed by Director X shows both Rihanna and Drake singing, dancing, and partying at a raucous Jamaican bar. The second directed by Tim Eren shows the two in a neon pink, blue, and white colored room alone, singing and dancing for each other.
  • There are two takes for "It Must Been Love" by Roxette. The original has them performing the song on a Swedish TV show with them singing on a couch at a stage, and the reissue has them singing the song at a warehouse with Marie switching on black, white, and nude-colored clothing. The reissue has two versions with the first one having movie clips of Pretty Woman and the second one having no clips and is exclusive at The Videos compilation tape.
  • Sheppard's "Geronimo" has the original and the international version. The original version has the band wear cardboard armor and build a Frankenstein-like creature to fight against a rival group while the main singer and his lover at the rival group make peace for both sides at the end of the video. The international version has them performing at the warehouse while various props spell out the song in a forced perspective, while the main singer runs on a treadmill and shadow puppets spell out the lyrics.
  • Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" has a UK and a US version. The UK version (which appears on Youtube as the "2007 version") features close-up shots of Gary Lightbody as he lies barefoot on the ground, even as rain starts to fall. The US version instead has him wandering and lying around in public places in a city while people pass him by.
  • Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train" consists of US, UK, German, and Australian versions of missing children from each respective country.
  • Swing Out Sister's "Breakout" has a black-and-white version and a color version of the same music video of her and her bandmates as fashion designers.
  • Tears for Fears: "Mothers Talk" received three different videos:
    • The first video has performance footage of the band interspersed with scenes of a little girl being studied in a laboratory. The band quickly disowned it and it didn't get much airplay as a result.
    • After the first video was shuttered, the band filmed a second one at the last minute mostly consisting of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith miming the lyrics in Smith's backyard and other outdoor locations, mixed with news and sports clips in addition to shots of Orzabal in a tent made of newspapers.
    • The third and final video was produced for the 1986 re-recording of the song, featuring a 1950s family attempting to shelter themselves from an impending nuclear strike, mingled with performance scenes of the band.
  • For They Might Be Giants' "Experimental Film", Matt and Mike Chapman created an animated music video featuring the characters of Homestar Runner. In an interview prior to its release, John Flansburgh said there would be a second music video for MTV, but ultimately, the Homestar Runner music video was also the one released on MTV.
  • Van Halen has two videos for the song "Dreams"; the first has film of a Blue Angels demonstration flight, while the second has newscasts of the massive lines from the band performing a show at the Whisky-A-Go-Go, intercut with the band playing there and doing soundcheck. The second was done to promote the band's Live Album, Live: Right Here, Right Now.
  • Weezer's video for "Island In The Sun" features two music videos. The first version was directed by Marcos Siega, where the band is shown performing the song at a Mexican couple's wedding reception. The executives at MTV disliked Siega's video, so the band commissioned director Spike Jonze (who had previously directed the videos for "Undone" and Buddy Holly") to film a second version. The second version features the band on a hilltop, playing with various wild animals (such as lions and monkeys). This version of the video was accepted by MTV and became the more popular/recognizable version.
  • Kanye West:
    • "Heard 'Em Say" featuring Adam Levine has two music videos. The first one, directed by Michel Gondry, is set in Macy's Herald Square around Christmas where West, portraying a homeless man, monitors three children while they play around bringing the store to life, whereas Levine plays a security guard. The second video, directed by Bill Plympton, is mostly an Animated Music Video depicting West as an underpaid urban driver of a taxi cab, picking up passengers, interspersed with West and Levine performing behind an all-white background.
  • Yes: "Leave It" had a whopping eighteen different music videos made and aired, each based around the band miming to the song in a White Void Room but with various differences in editing, wardrobe, choreography, cinematography, and the members present. The eleventh video would go on to become the "official" one, supplanting the other seventeen on various video releases and the band's YouTube channel.
  • The original German version of Trio's "Da Da Da" has a Performance Video, while the English version has a Surreal Music Video.