YouTube and Universal Music are teaming up to remaster 1,000 classic music videos

Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Image credit: Universal Music Group

We all love revisiting classic music videos from time to time, but it's safe to say that many older clips don't hold up quite as well as they should – largely due to being made for TV viewing in the standard definition era.

YouTube and Universal Music Group (UMG) apparently feel the same way, with the two companies having today announced a plan to give 1,000 iconic videos the full remastering treatment by the year 2020.

The restoration endeavor has already resulted in 100 videos receiving the HD treatment – Spike Jonze's outstanding music video for the Beastie Boys' 'Sabotage' can now be viewed in glorious 1080p, while the timeless Beats by Dre product placements of Lady Gaga's more recent 'Bad Romance' video have also been brought into the world of high definition. 

The restoration game

"Starting today, exclusively on YouTube, you’ll find more than 100 music videos in the highest available video and audio quality, including titles from Billy Idol, Beastie Boys, Boyz II Men, George Strait, Janet Jackson, Kiss, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Lionel Richie, Maroon 5, Meat Loaf, No Doubt/Gwen Stefani, Smokey Robinson, The Killers, Tom Petty and more," read YouTube's announcement.

While YouTube's official blog states that its efforts with UMG involve "painstakingly remastering some of the most important works in the history of the format to the highest possible standards," the post does not offer any other technical details on how the restoration is being done. 

Based on the videos released so far we'd wager that, at least in some cases, they've simply been upscaled, rather than receiving a full restoration from the original masters – check out the soft-looking video for Tom Petty's 'Free Fallin'' below to see what we mean.

Of course, there's only so much that can be done with a music video that's now 30 years old. 

Nevertheless, we can't wait to see which other Universal artists are brought into high definition next –  some of Queen's music videos, perhaps? Blind Melon's 'No Rain'? The list is practically endless...

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.