File Under: Making Videos

The most popular music search engine in the world isn’t even about music – it’s YouTube. The numbers are staggering: YouTube generates over 800 million unique visitors each month. But even more incredible, it generates over 100 million social actions on videos every week -- including comments, likes, and most importantly for musicians, shares. Unlike audio, video goes “viral” and shares generate exposure. So you need to get your music up there in some video form or another.

But what kind of videos should you make? Not all videos need to be costly productions. To get the creative juices flowing, we’ve listed eight different types of videos you can create for your music, including resources and tips on how to make them.

1. Traditional Music Videos.

The most straightforward option is to make an “MTV” type music video -- one with musicians or actors made on a set or on location. These are also some of the more difficult types to make. If you choose this type, use good lighting, quality cameras, and solid video editing software. For an example, check out how Pomplamoose tackles this art form.

2. Animation.

There's no need for actors or even cameras if you use animation software to create a music video. Plus, animation is eye-catching. If you're a wiz with Flash, Poser, or Source Film Maker (SFM) there's no limit to what you can do. But sites like GoAnimate or Wideo can help you create new videos online with drag-and-drop tools and ready-made images, and there are more options appearing for this all of the time.

3. Mashups.

To create a mashup, you use your music and combine it with other people’s video footage – usually in a unique way. While you need to be aware of copyright issues, mashup videos have been a popular way for fans to express themselves, using video content from popular culture, or other videos on YouTube. However, if you want to avoid any copyright issues, you can always use public domain video content.

4. Still Photos.

One of the quickest ways to upload a video for your music is to use video editing software to show static images or gif animations while the music plays underneath. In fact, one of the most popular videos on YouTube -- Nyan Cat -- is just a tiny looped gif animation of a cat flying in space again while the song plays. The creator of this video didn't even make the gif or write the song (although she did give credit to the creators), so it’s also an example of a mashup.

5. Machinima.

Video games are nothing but animation – which you can control. Machinima is the art of staging video game action in real-time and recording it to tell a story or make a music video. Video games like Halo, Minecraft, and World of Warcraft have been used in this way. Although there are potential copyright issues, it's become a separate genre of video with its own fan base. Picking the right video game to use can create additional interest in your video even if they've never heard of you as an artist.

6. Anime/Animation Music Videos (AMV).

Fans of Japanese animation, called anime, like to mix their favorite music with clips from shows that they like, creating AMVs. They use their extensive knowledge of the shows to grab the perfect clips to sync the lips or action to the music. Like Machinima, this has become its own genre with its own subculture. Anime conventions even have awards for the best AMVs of the year, giving you an opportunity to tap a huge fan base if you create this type of content.

7. Live Video.

If you play live, every show you perform is an opportunity to create new video content and exposure. Plus this type of video can be useful to share with bookers to generate more gigs. Also, you are not just limited to recording live shows. For an example, see Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers recorded live songs while driving in their van between gigs.

8. Vlogs.

Consider letting your fans behind-the-scenes as you write new music, tour, or record your album. After all, not all your uploaded videos need to be music videos. Some musicians actively engage with their fan base this way – answering questions or sharing what’s on their mind. Doing so give fans a personal glimpse into you as a musician and build connections between you as an artist and your fans. For an example, check out musician Nice Peter’s vlog which he dubbed “The Monday Show”.

As you release music, think about the type of video that you can pair it up with. Plus, the more you put up, the more chances your fans can share your content with their friends, expose your music to potential new fans, and ultimately, generate sales of your music.


Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee