In 1995, Michael Jackson spent $7 million dollars on his music video ‘Scream’ and the world watched on MTV. Two decades later, Bob Dylan made his video ‘Love Is Lost’ for $12.99 and everybody watched it on online. Music videos have changed immensely over the past couple of decades but they are more relevant than ever. We have all heard the stats on Youtube being the number one music streaming site, the billions VEVO views, and the influence music videos have on streaming charts and recognize the importance of music videos. So how do you capitalize on a music videos marketing power? Upload it to Youtube and walk way, right? It would be nice if things were that easy, but there are several things to consider to maximize your views.
Music Video Targets
Before you begin, developing a promotional strategy for your music video it is really important to decide what purpose it will play in your career. Will you use the video to promote a music release or tour dates? Are you trying to build a social media following? You should begin asking these questions before filming and keep asking them through your promotional campaign.
The most important period in the lifespan of a music video is its infancy. Take OK GO, the kings of viral videos, for example. They are premiering their new music video at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, before releasing it the following day on Youtube. Your goal should be to secure a premiere that will create the most buzz and drive traffic to your video. Try to find a local theater that will screen if before a related film or debut it at a local music festival between sets. The more creative you are with the premiere the better. Online premieres can also drive a lot of traffic, so find the biggest blog that has supported your music and work with them to drive traffic to the video on the day of the launch. Lead up to the premiere with clips and photos teasing the content of the video.
While Youtube shouldn’t be the only outlet you use to promote your video, it is an important platform because of its influence on streaming charts and as a metric for audience reach. Some ways you can optimize your channel and video are:
Customize your banner and add social media links
- Build a robust channel with different playlists
- Add a watermark to attract subscribers
- Improve SEO with target keywords and captions
- Select bright and intriguing thumbnails
Youtube’s TrueView ad campaigns are the surest way to drive meaningful views to your music video. Other sites may promise views but they may not be organic, stick, or drive interested people to your video. Youtube has great analytics that you can use to target and drive your campaign on the site. Remember, the goal is to put your video in front of real people that will react to it, not just drive up numbers.
For more information I recommend reading Youtube’s Creators Playbook.
While you can earn 4x the ad revenue within VEVO's network, there are some things to consider about joining. If a video is included in VEVO’s network, only their annotations will appear on the videos. This keeps VEVO traffic within the network. While it does help drive views, it also prevents you from using custom annotations with your video to promote your music, tour, website, merchandise ect. Also, the master recording and video can only appear within VEVO’s network. You will not be able to add it to your personal channel. You may want to consider joining other multi-channel networks that are less restrictive or use video optimization to drive traffic organically.
It goes without saying that obviously, the more places your video is placed on the internet, eyes will fall on your video. If you are technologically inclined The Hacker’s Guide to Getting Press is an easy way to comprehensively build a list and promote your video. You’ll have to modify parts of it to fit your purpose but it is a great guide. If web scraping sounds too intimidating, you can quickly use Google’s blog search to find blogs that have posted related music videos and contact them. Remember to keep the pitch short and simple. Just a few sentences to preface the video should be enough. Be sure to include relevant links to personal and social sites, so if the blog is interested they can quickly find more information.
Video Distribution Networks
While Youtube and VEVO are dominant players, there are other video distribution networks that can improve the reach of your video online and through new outlets like Roku apps. Networks like Videodetective.com will place your video onto Sony Bravia systems, Allmusic.com and Windows Media Player. ClearChannel can also place your video within their iheartradio.com network. Apps like Rormix give your video an additional mobile platform.
Additional Video Content
The promo machine never stops. Once you have your music video, work to pump out additional content. Research local live performance shows in cities where you are touring. Shows like Balcony TV, SerialBox Presents, and Live and Breathing can provide focused exposure within their local network and broader exposure through the internet. Encouraging fan videos and parody videos will also boost your music videos view count.
Music Video Promotion Services
While there is a lot of DIY promotion you can do promote your video, sometimes it helps to enlist the help of a promotional company, especially for harder to reach outlets. There are many music video promotional companies out there that offer a wide range of services, from placing videos on national, international, and regional broadcast and cable music video shows, to placing videos in retail and entertainment locations. Many also offer to help you with all the strategies listed above. Some also have consulting services to help you create a more effective music video.
All too often, artists and bands don’t plan to market and promote their music. While the cream naturally rises to the top, some strategic planning will ensure you get there faster and stay there longer. Music videos are no exception and strategic promotion can do wonders to help your visibility and reach.