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Every Song A Story: The YouTube Generation Written by on April 5, 2016 | 8 Comments

The Eurovision Song Contest is as much about the presentation as it is the music. Every Song A Story is ESC Insight’s collection of video essays exploring the visual world of the Song Contest. In this episode, Ewan Spence explores the impact of the music video on the Contest.

Everyone can agree when a song is sung badly, can discuss what happened, and suggest changes. That instant familiarity and comfort with audio is a key part of why everyone can feel involved with the Eurovision Song Contest.

The visual side can also create the same level of comfort and connection, or it can push away viewers and create negatives emotions. It’s not as easy to describe the issues with video, but last year our first series of ‘Every Song A Story‘ video essays presented some basic film techniques and issues to watch for, to help you understand more about what works and doesn’t work at the Song Contest.

This year’s series will continue to explore the visual world of the Contest, starting with a look at why there has been a change in the way music is presented both at Eurovision, and in the wider musical world.

Every Song A Story: The YouTube Generation

In our first episode of 2016 I look at the new style of presentation at the Eurovision Song Contest, why it allows performers a better chance to connect with the audience, and why it’s all the fault of YouTube.

If you’re interested in any of the clips used in this video, we have a YouTube playlist of the full songs here. You can also look back over previous ‘Every Song A Story’ essays here on ESC Insight.

Every Song A Story will run throughout April in the run-up to Stockholm. As always, we look forward to your thoughts and reactions to this essay, and if there are any areas you ‘d like us to look at. Leave your thoughts in the comments, or reach out directly to

About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (

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8 responses to “Every Song A Story: The YouTube Generation”

  1. Robyn says:

    I’m glad ESAS is back! I can see dark clouds gathering over the UK’s staging…

  2. Zolan says:

    Hooray! Definitely excited for more of these.

  3. Not that we’ve seen many acts show what their staging might be like so far but if your premise is true, Iceland’s “Hear Them Calling” will be doing a lot better than a lot of Eurovision fans think it will this year…

    To be fair, I’m biased as it is my favourite already!

  4. Ewan Spence says:

    Martin, staging alone cannot win the Contest (but it can damage your hopes). Iceland’s issue is going to be there’s a dark and stormy video… over an Icelandic merry Mariarchi band. That’s ‘uncomfortable’ right there. Everything needs to work in harmony.

  5. Ewan Spence says:

    Robyn, I’m really trying not to be pessimistic this year but … ‘two drummers behind Joe and Jake’ scares me.

  6. Black n Blue says:

    Great to see the series back!

    The ‘live music video’ is a fascinating concept, exactly the sort of thing that separates the likes of Sweden and Russia from Ireland and the UK.

  7. John Patrick Joseph Egan says:


  8. Matt says:

    Hi Ewan.

    This is just 2 ideas that could be used in upcoming essay’s.

    1) How juniors can get right with the stage show and telling it’s story, nearly every time and why the senior contest has so many car crashes.

    2) The art of pulling off a surprise, as part of the stage show. (Think Lithuania, at the senior contest last year, the trio of kisses.)

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