Are music videos broken?

Despite racking up almost 800 million views, the directors of 2014’s Turn Down For What have revealed the video was made on a shoestring budget that earned them barely $4 an hour. What’s gone wrong?

With a long list of award wins, a Grammy nomination, almost eight million views on YouTube, and recognition by some of the most influential organisations in the creative industry, there’s surely no question that Daniels’ Turn Down For What video was a massive hit. But behind its slew of accolades, and the glossy finish of the film, was it really such a success?

In a recent Twitter thread Daniel Kwan, one half of the directorial duo, exposed the realities of making music promos. While it’s no secret that independent labels often have limited budgets, Kwan revealed that the story’s not necessarily any better when it comes to the majors. Him and his partner Daniel Scheinert earned around $4 an hour for Turn Down For What – the current federal minimum wage in the US is $7.25 per hour – ¬ and that doesn’t include they work they put in on the weekends. For two months of directing, editing, performance and VFX, the pair earned a grand total of $1k-2k each. “We are considered lucky for even getting paid,” he tweeted.