DIY Blog

DIY Blog: CMU:DIY x Urban Development 04 – Making & Monetising Video Content

By | Published on Thursday 18 February 2016

Last night we co-hosted our latest Industry Takeover Seminar with Urban Development at the Red Bull Studios. This session looked at how video and YouTube fits into a new artist’s grand plan.

Video has been a big part of the music mix for decades now of course, and has been a key marketing tool for the record industry ever since the rise of MTV in the 1980s. Though, arguably, it has never been more important for artists to create good and regular video content than it is in 2016.

This has a lot to do with YouTube, which is still the world’s biggest streaming music platform. And while the record industry has something of a love-hate relationship with the video site – because it pays much lower royalties than the audio streaming services – as a new artist I think you have to have a YouTube channel, and you need to provide it with a steady stream of new content.

Obviously, for self-releasing artists without a label’s marketing budget, producing decent videos to accompany each track released can be a challenge. Though it’s a lot easier and cheaper to produce good video content today than in the past, and a clever creative concept can easily outperform a more generic video that a major label spent fifty grand filming. Which doesn’t mean that every musician now has to be a video maker too.

There are plenty of aspiring artists looking to make a video, and plenty of aspiring film makers looking for something to film. And if you can strike up a collaboration of that kind, with a bit of imagination and a little technical knowhow, you don’t need a huge sum of money to create something exciting.

But there is more to music video than music video. Which is to say, artists increasingly need to create video content other than the customary ‘pop promo’ that accompanies a single release. This is particularly true if an artist wants to use YouTube as a direct-to-fan channel, where you connect with fans on a regular basis and use existing fans to help you reach new people, with the ultimate aim of generating a little revenue through the Google advertising system.

If you look at the YouTube channels that have gained the most traction, the YouTubers behind them are usually posting content on a very regular basis, sometimes daily. And that content is often timely, responds to world events, and interacts with viewer comments. Meanwhile the average musician is only posting a new video every few months. And while those videos may have great production values and are really well directed, in the world of YouTube that frequency of posting new content probably doesn’t work.

Which means new artists who really want to make a go of their YouTube channels need to be more proactive and prolific. Not necessarily putting stuff out daily, but certainly more regularly than a few times a year. That doesn’t have to mean writing, recording and filming ever more songs, but what other video content could you create?

I’ll be discussing this and lots more at next week’s seminar. I hope to see you there.

You can check out the slides from the CMU:DIY talk that kick-started the proceedings below or download them as a PDF by clicking here.

For information about other Urban Development programmes CLICK HERE, and for updates on future CMU:DIY events sign up to the CMU Daily HERE.