Live performances from your favourite artists

Part 4: Do We Need a Video Clip?

In a short answer, Yes

You tube is currently the 3rd most viewed website, while Myspace is 9th…

More and more, people are going to you tube to find music, where as a couple years ago, myspace was the destination to hear music.

So if you don’t have a clip up on video sites, there are potentially people looking for your music but are unable to find it.

There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when making a clip.

What is the aim of the clip?

Is it to show the band in a performance set up so people can get an idea of what to expect live?

Is it a story video clip telling the story of the song or relating the themes of the song in a visual representation?

Is the aim to have a video that will go viral whether it be comedy/graphic violence/porn etc?

Naturally, each of these has their pros and cons…

First let’s look at Viral Videos

The viral video is a trend that has taken off over the last few years. Sure it can lead to thousands if not millions of views and a lot of buzz, but then after the initial attention, if the song in the clip is not a great song, the band will fall aside and be forgotten.

If the song is good and there is more interest, then the problem of what to do for a second clip arises. Does the band need to then rely upon gimmicky videos to sell their songs, if the band stops with the gimmicks and tries to appear as a band, will it be the start of their downfall?

OK GO are an example of a band who are known not for the traditional reasons of great songwriting or live shows, they are a band who has become global sensations for their videos with each new video being listed as a must watch by the online community as the next viral video, often before it is even released.

They have so far managed 3 videos which are unique and have millions of views each.

The video which launched them as a global phenomena

4 million views at time of writing

Their follow up video;

25 million views at time of writing

Third video;

9 million views at time of writing

Obviously the bands success depends on how good the band are at writing songs and how they want to present themselves visually, but the important thing to remember with quick success and attention is that it can be gone just as quick when the next gimmick comes along.

The hardest thing about creating a viral video is coming up with the idea that will cause the video to become viral.

An example of a video which is far more memorable than the song is the video for “Ritalin” by Dancing Pigeons. This is a video which is truly memorable, but it makes the mistake of being a video which is more memorable than the song. To the best of my knowledge the band are not in the video clip and it could be any song being played over the video.

A quick search of YouTube for “flame thrower vs fire extinguisher” shows up this video and it is only once you look in the details of the video that it is revealed who sings the song and what the song is called.

The viral trend has become such a phenomenon that now marketing people worldwide are using the viral concept to sell every kind of product under the sun or make ads that don’t appear to be ads. The idea needs to be something that is seen by the general public as not being created by a team of marketing people trying to sell the band as a product. This can often lead to a negative backlash from the wider audience that can lose respect for the band.

Atomic Tom released this clip –

Upon research listeners realized that the video was not entirely as it seemed. The band were actually signed to a label that was responsible for the video and the song itself was given away as part of one of the apps for sale on iphone. So this band that was at first perceived as having bad luck by their instruments being stolen but coming up with a new idea, was revealed to actually be a commercial for iphone apps.

Video Clips with a Story

These kinds of video clips can be great at putting a visual image to the story of the song. The actors can help put a face to the feelings and emotions portrayed in the song, that is of course, if they are good actors.

If you have ever tried to make a short film with friends, you have probably discovered that not many of them can act well. In fact, not a lot of people can appear convincing on camera as actors.

The other thing to consider when doing a clip with a story is that in effect, you are shooting a short film, so you must therefore consider all the requirements that go with that process (including budget, catering etc).

Doing a video clip with a story “on the cheap” looks just like that – Cheap.

Not everybody can afford a full Hollywood film crew to shoot an 8 minute long short film with your music video in it. Even then, it is 2 minutes into this video before the song even starts playing. The line between music video and short film is very blurry on this 30 Seconds to Mars clip.

Performance Clips

These clips can often be the cheapest option, but can also be the most effective. They can straight away showing what the band looks like (remember that these days, whether you like it or not, image has become a very important thing).

It can help your fans identify who does what in the band if they have never seen the band perform live.

The performance can be done to appear live (miming to the recording) with a group of friends as an audience, or done with just the band performing in a scene that they feel suits their image.

These days with the technology available on computers you can add some great visual effects, making sure not to look as though someone has gone crazy with the “Starwipe”.

This video directed by Mark Romanek is about as simple as they can come, sure their budget is bigger than yours probably is. But look at the essence of the video, band + fans + lights + camera = music video.

Some lesser known options, which can be just as equally effective to creating video content.

The photo slide show – also a cost effective was of showing what the band look like visually.

Live videos footage with the studio song over the top. These can show a true live performance from the band or behind the scenes insights that would not otherwise be seen, the viewer is often more forgiving of dodgy camera quality if the performance looks energetic or has a unique quality to it.

An example of this can be seen with Gold Coast band Helm. They have done a cover EP of Icehouse’s track Great Southern Land. At the time of writing the official video for this track had not been shot, however the band have released a slideshow of studio photos to the studio quality recording of the song. It gives fans the option of sending the video to their friends, which in the case of a cover song such as this is a great way to break the band to a new fanbase who otherwise would not have heard of the band.

Live videos with live audio – we have all seen and heard these videos on youtube. It seems only the truly dedicated fans are able to sit through a distorted recording, but generally not new fans. These are often not the best videos to upload as often people can struggle to sit through them!

The most important thing I for your band to have content on the net. The more content, the more likely your band will appear at the top of searches. More content also keeps your fanbase interested as they can find more and more things involving the band.

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