BONUS: How to Use a Music Video as an Effective Marketing or Branding Tool
Music videos are a very old and proven way to promote music and allow bands and artists to create bonds with their fans in a significant way, generate brand recognition, and enhance the overall immersion of a given musical track or project. It’s no surprise that music videos, while only representing roughly 4% of YouTube’s overall content library, make a whopping 11% of the platform’s total views. This is NO small feat!
HOW TO USE MUSIC VIDEOS TO MARKET YOUR MUSIC
Becoming successful in the music industry is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Some artists in grassroots musical scenes may bypass the promotional process at first and still generate audiences (mostly local), but they eventually have to come up with ways to extend their reach, meanwhile keeping their current audiences engaged in the long run Music videos serve as useful means to attain those goals, but there are some guidelines you ought to follow for optimal production and promotion.
1. MAKING A GOOD MUSIC VIDEO
Making a music video is not as easy as simply recording a video of you playing or singing. These kinds of videos may probably work to some extent on certain music genres, but, even in the context of more select and “refined” genres (those not considered “mainstream” by today’s standards), there should always be room for creativity. Furthermore, a music video should not just be a video with a music background, but, rather, the visuals should complement the music (and piece), almost to the point that they become an integral part of the piece itself. Understandably, all of this may be easier said than done, and there is no cookie-cutter way to achieve those targets, but at least there is a method you can follow to put ideas into action.
1.1. THE TRACK
First, select the track you want to use. It should be a track that encapsulates the ethos of the band or artist and lets the audience know what your general musical direction is. That way, when they browse through the rest of the catalog, they will “feel at home”. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same style or mood, but at least the same “flow” or general sound. If you’re a band member or leader, discuss this with the rest of the group to get their feedback and arrive at a consensus.
Second, try to keep the length below 5 minutes, if possible. If you’re one of those eccentric artists or bands who write long 40-minute pieces, like those in the progressive rock, jazz fusion, or symphonic music scene, select an excerpt of one of those pieces or arrange a potpourri with the best moments of the track, keeping a logical progression and making sure the transitions between segments sound as smooth as possible.
Third, select the version of the track that has the best sound quality and in a format that’s compatible with most video editing software.
1.2. THE VIDEO
Now, we get to the visual component. It’s always a good thing to show your faces on the screen. Bands like Daft Punk can get away without this requisite, but, for the most part, the public loves seeing their favorite artists, knowing what they look like, and, in extreme cases, knowing how they live (though you’d probably want to avoid this scenario!)
Nevertheless, as stated before, it’s not just about showing your band playing. A successful music video nowadays has to convey a story that the audience would follow along. Try to follow the steps described below:
* Create a storyboard or a small script to outline the “narrative” flow of the video. This story should fit the song’s theme (though this is probably a given.)
* Find good camera equipment. Your phone’s camera may be decent enough, but professional cameras carry a lot of additional features which may add some OOOMP to the production. There is a great number of affordable midrange cameras to choose from, so you do not have to necessarily go for the flagship options.
* FIND YOUR B-ROLL: It may be useful to shoot your own footage. Nonetheless, you can alternatively opt for stock footage providers. Sites like Pexels or Artgrid.io can be of help in this regard. Additionally, you could hire actors or models to perform in your video (optional).
* Find your video editing software: It doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive program like ADOBE PREMIERE PRO, unless you have the budget for it. There are cheap or even free alternatives you can choose to get the job done. If you plan on adding an intricate plot to accompany the music piece, you could consider a monthly or yearly Adobe subscription.
* Once you’ve assembled the rough cut, add a text overlay with information about the author and track title (you can also display the release date if you wish). Additional info, such as gig dates and tour info, should be displayed outside the video itself, in the social media post where you upload it, or the description box of the video platform.
* MAKE TEASER VIDEOS. Assemble excerpts from the original footage to make 15 to 30-second teasers or trailers. These can be used to announce the video before its stellar release date.
2. THE PROMOTION
The process of promoting music has been streamlined a lot since the days when talent agencies and record labels exerted monopoly on the industry. They are still around and are responsible for bringing to the fore some of the most famous bands and artists we see today. Notwithstanding, thanks to the development of social media and online video platforms, some artists were able to generate hype through their own means, and even release their own music through decentralized platforms such as AUDIUS.
Justin Bieber (a Canadian product) is a prime example of the aforementioned phenomenon. He went from uploading amateur singing videos on YouTube to selling out Madison Square Garden tickets on a whim. Examples like these are not common, though. Nowadays, the ever-increasing music offerings available in these spaces have made it difficult for artists to generate reach and find a niche just by uploading videos.
This doesn’t mean you should give up, but you’ll need to be proactive and share your video as much as possible if you wish to succeed. Below are some tips you may find useful:
* Use a wide variety of social networks (e.g., YouTube, Twitter, Facebook Instagram, TikTok, Telegram, etc.) to post and share your music video. You can start with your friends and family on Facebook! Have them share your material with their friends and build small communities first. You may eventually land a gig and get much more exposure with time.
* Don’t forget about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Your posts must be optimized so that people may find your video within their first search results. In this regard, use the correct keywords, tagging, and categorization. Also, make sure that the video or post title corresponds with the description. Finally, use an attractive thumbnail that matches the video content.
* Don’t spam! Your output rhythm mustn’t trigger the spam detection algorithms of the platforms you use, as this would thwart your whole marketing strategy.
* You may additionally engage with audiences through other types of content such as reviews or those reaction videos that are so famous in this day and age. If you already have a fanbase generated through similar content, direct them to your music video and get them acquainted with your material.
* If you have the budget, you can pay for YouTube ads through a Google AdWords account, to reach audiences that may find your video compelling and, consequently, grow your fanbase. You can similarly make use of paid promotion tools offered by other social networks such as Twitter or Instagram.
* Finally, you may try to message social media influencers directly and get them to watch your video. Make sure that your music is palatable to the influencer’s musical taste, for better results.