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June 29, 2009

Music Video Going Viral

Filed under: Band Promotion, Marketing — ian @ 11:14 am

One of the big buzzwords from the last ten years has been “Viral Marketing” because of its promise of fame and fortune. Viral marketing is a marketing technique that uses the various forms of social networking to generate increased brand exposure. The term was first used by Tim Draper to describe Hotmail’s practice of adding a signature at the end of a user’s outgoing email message to advertise itself, thus spreading the word via its users. Going viral (an Internet marketeers dream) is when the object of interest (usually a video) is quickly passed around by word of mouth (social networking in all of its forms) and brand awareness grows exponentially.

From a bands point of view, there has never been a better time to spread the word and market ones music with so many excellent networking applications and tools available. And going viral - the tantalizing, teasing lure that draws in hundreds of thousands of bands to overloaded sites like MySpace, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook - is still just a dream for the majority of independent bands who can’t organize themselves to set up an official website, let alone plan out a marketing budget. But, if you want to go viral and get noticed by the mainstream media, you will have to get your arse in gear and get your band a Music Video.

carlyI was contacted by Caroline Bottomley of Radar Music Videos requesting a link from Unsigned Band Promotion (me) and I thought, “I ought to do a blog post about Radar Music Videos”. Why? Because I don’t know anything about making music videos, and Caroline is a doppelganger of my lovely niece Carly!

I start off my investigations by reading Radar and in Google. I Google:
“Music Videos”, “Music Video Production”, Music Video Production Companies UK, Music Video Directors, Music Video Promotion.

Here’s a sample of what I viewed/read (not in any order):
Music Videos on Yahoo, YouTube, The Music Video Production Association (MVPA), British Music Video Directors, Amstore - Music Video Production, Rupert Noble - Music Video Production UK, Happy Hour Productions, After Hours Films, The Music Video DataBase, Radar Music Videos, Radar Commissioned Videos, plus various inf. on Twitter and MySpace.

A music video is basically a “commercial” for the band, they are normally made for marketing and promotion. And along with a demo CD, a website and professional images (which normally precede), they are The must have for a band - venue managers, promoters and booking agents love a well made music video, they can get a much better idea of what a band is like if they can watch a live performance. A music video will not come cheap, I posted How should a band spend £300 of promotional money?, however, £300 will not buy much in the music video production world where the base/entry level costs would be about £1,000.

Put your heads together and work out your marketing and promotion budget and strategy - you’ll want a return on investment (difficult to calculate). I’d say an independent band needs to budget between £2k to £7k to be able to hire a music video director who will do everything for you - of course a much cheaper option would be to use a student filmmaker or someone just starting out in the industry. The advice Caroline gives bands and labels on Radar who aren’t sure about what budget to post: low budgets are unlikely to attract experienced directors, and experience really does make a difference to the quality of a music video. Higher budgets are much more likely to attract experienced people who you can be pretty sure will turn in what they describe in a treatment and probably exceed expectations. Less experienced directors are less likely to be able to turn in a video as described in their treatment.

If you are spending large sums of money I (Me not Caroline) would recommend that you use an established music video director with a track record to help cut your financial risks.

So, how does a band find a video production company? Enter Radar Music Videos an intermediary between bands & artists and a worldwide network of music video directors.

This is what they have to say about themselves:
Radar Music Videos is a global network of music video directors, ranging from viral hitmakers and award winners to student filmmakers. Bands and indie labels use the Briefs board on the site to advertise their music video brief and invite treatments.”

“Bands/labels can click through to the profiles of directors whose treatments they like to see biogs and showreels. All directors who submit treatments are ranked according to their experience and nearly always, more experienced directors make better music videos. Bigger budgets and planned promo campaigns will attract higher ranking directors, bands/labels with very small budgets will attract treatments from newer directors. The site works best for budgets between £100/$150 and £5,000/$7,500. Above that, we recommend clients find a local production company, where they can go on shoots, into the edit and so on. If you’re spending more than £5k/$7.5k you probably want to get more hands on. The best music videos usually come from a brief that is ‘open to all ideas’ and which doesn’t need to be performance based.”

“Radar holds back 15% of the video budget and bills for that 15% if the client commissions a Radar director. There are no additional charges and nothing charged if there’s no commission. We’re also non-exclusive, so bands and labels can be soliciting treatments from their usual director contacts at the same time they’re advertising with us.”

“Artists and labels say they appreciate:
The talent discovery.
The number of treatments they get.
That we make it easy to evaluate and choose directors.
They think they get much better music videos through us then they would commissioning on their own.
They often get great promotion - videos we promote have generated 3 million views and many features.

If you want to go viral and get noticed by the mainstream media, get your arse in gear, get over to Radar, get a music video.

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