Why is using videos for promoting your music always a good idea

Not on YouTube yet? Well, take this - according to the reports, currently more than 50% (which is already a tremendous number) of the overall volume of music that's being streamed comes from YouTube. Yes, that means that Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Pandora, Deezer, Napster and all the other players on the music streaming market get actually LESS than a half of the music streaming "pie", and this goes for all of them combined. No doubt YouTube is a BIG player with a LOTS of potential fans you could be missing if you're not present on the platform.

Video killed the radio star, haven't you heard?

I bet you know what I did there, but in reality, music and video have always been kinda like siblings, as the visuals can simply add an extra layer of experience or even help to communicate better the idea (or meaning) of the tune itself to the listener. I bet you still remember clearly some of those old music videos of your favorite bands, even if you watched them many years ago as a kid. 

In this article, I'll try to give you a few good reasons why you definitely shouldn't forget about moving images when planning the kickass promotion strategy of your next beat tape, as it can make a big difference in those play counts.

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The first and most obvious benefit is the one I already suggested in the beginning - putting your music as a video on a video sharing platforms can simply make it possible to find your music for the people that don't really use other, more specialized (and possibly paid) platforms for music streaming. And I can understand that, as YouTube autoplay has actually some great algorithms that really can suggest you some good songs, not to mention there is a lot of content you won't find anywhere else (mostly because YouTube doesn't require an external distributor service in order to upload everyone's sh*t). Anyway, I think putting your videos out there is a nice way how to double the size of the pool from which you can draw yourself some new fans.

However, it doesn't end with YouTube consumer power, that's just the tip of the iceberg. For example, Google's page ranking algorithms look closely on how much time people spend on your website when deciding about the quality of your content. If they just visit and leave, your web is not likely gonna get a very high score nor a good position in search results. However, if you put some compelling videos on your website, "dwell time" (that's how is the metrics called) will increase rapidly and you will score much better. 

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Videos can also play a very vital part in your social media marketing strategy. Here are three particularly good reasons for that:

  1. Videos that usually starts instantly playing as soon as they appear in the feed are far more captivating in that really really short attention span of a procrastinating person scrolling through their news feed than any other type of (static) content. Just the simple fact it's moving is profound to catching one's eye, not mentioning that videos take up significant screen space in the feed.
  2. A proprietary video is way more convenient for people to consume. Imagine one scenario, where a person sees your video in their feed, gets interested and just clicks that little volume icon on the video to enable sound, compared to the scenario when the person is presented with an external link (first extra step), which is also way more likely to be scrolled-over unnoticed, and in some cases may also lead to a prompt asking to install some third party application (blink blink Soundcloud, you cheeky bastard). The gap between those scenarios is colossal and in this world of distraction, you want to make your music as easy as possible to consume for the users instead of forcing them to install another app they don't want just to listen to your song.
  3. Proprietary videos themselves are being heavily pushed above other types of content by the social media platform algorithms. On the other side, videos from the third party sites as YouTube are being "punished", as I think it's not as that long ago when Facebook significantly reduced the thumbnail size for YouTube video posts (so now it's just very little static image thumbnail, not very eye-catching stuff to be honest).

You probably noticed how I kinda stressed the word "proprietary". In this context (if it's not already clear enough from the text above) it means a video you upload directly to the platform you want to share it on - so again, for example a video you upload directly into your Facebook post (as opposed to the situation when you upload it on YouTube or Vimeo first and THEN share the link on Facebook). It's only logical for those companies to promote their "own" content above the content of a rival ones, effectively forcing users to give them even more of their original content (one example from real life - when we moved our drum and bass live streams from YouTube to Facebook, our audience grew by more than 100%). And it's more than clear that it's gonna be even more about videos in the future - now there are Facebook and Instagram stories (that will let you use your own music in them) and even more video formats and improvements are to come over time.

So maybe, by now you have already embraced the idea of putting some efforts into making some videos for your music - but how should it look like in the first place? Well, there's a lot of different approaches you can take. Some of the ideas I came up with are:

  • Downloading a VHS style template for After Effects, placing it over a static image and editing the text overlays (this is how I roll now :))
  • Recording and cutting up a few scenes from your favorite movie or anime show and making a short story out of it
  • Leveraging one of those fancy After Effects equalizer-like visualizations that react to the music (like a lot of music channels use for their video backgrounds)
  • Using FL Studio's (if you happen to use it) built-in plugin called ZGameEditor Visualizer
  • Downloading good ol' Winamp, launching the visualizer and recording something in fullscreen with your tune playing
  • Shooting a full-fledged music video - like with cameras, lights actors and sh*t
  • Recording your PC screen with the tune playing in your DAW as a teaser
  • Using just a static image as a background for the video, but that kinda takes away the benefit of the "eye-catching moving images"
  • Using your phone camera to shoot some interesting imagery (pro tip: buy a tripod to keep your shots stable)
  • Searching the Google Play store (or the Apple store) for interesting apps you can shoot videos with

And you certainly don't have to stick just with making videos for your tunes - you can, for example, record yourself working on your music in a DAW, giving your fans an interesting insight into how it's being made. Also, you can start making short video shots with some handy production tips, or you can simply record yourself playing some riffs on the musical instrument or synth of your choice here and there (if you play some). Basically, it's nice to give your fans some kind of extra content, expose some moments of your life and give them something they can relate to, something interesting or funny or just something that will generally help to make that fan-artist connection grow stronger, in terms of your fans feeling more like they really know you because of those videos.

The possibilities here are quite endless and even if you don't want to (or simply cannot afford to) spend much time on it (my case), you can still manage to get it done without too much hassle and learning. But I think it's good to invest some time into it, for example when you need to give yourself a short break from producing. The potential value it can add to your "artist profile" is really enormous and also, if you don't adapt, you can be pretty much just overrun by all those smart folks who do. 


Further reading:


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Welcome! My name is Pao and I'm the person behind this whole website. Besides making music myself whenever I can, I also write this blog and curate Spotify playlists. Feel free to explore it here a bit - I believe you will find some interesting stuff around ^^