Learn which music videos you should be making as part of your music promotion to maximise impact & grow fans.
Writing and recording new music takes a lot of time and effort. So whenever you do have a new track ready for release, it’s simple good sense to try to get every bit of mileage out of it as you can—to generate awareness of your new music, boost engagement with your existing followers, raise your profile as an artist, grow fans, and earn money. To do this, for every track you release you need to create as many touchpoints as possible—in other words, different ways for audiences to interact with your music across many platforms. Here are the four types of music video you should be making as an independent artist to give your tracks maximum impact.
The Full-Length Music Video
This is the classic style we were all raised on, dating back to the music video glory days of MTV and VH1. While nobody really watches music videos on television anymore, full-length music videos are as important today for music promotion and building a career as they were decades ago, thanks to YouTube. In fact in January 2020, 93% of the most-watched videos on YouTube were music videos.
Full-length music videos are a chance for you to literally paint a picture with your song and showcase your artistic creativity in a different medium. There are numerous video styles to choose from. For example, you can use visuals to explain the story within your song, or if your track doesn’t have an obvious lyrical narrative, imagery can be used more abstractly to evoke its feeling and mood.
Camila Cabello's official music video for My Oh My, featuring DaBaby
They’re also a way to let your audiences get to know you better. By putting yourself in the video, you can give them a peek at your style, personality, sense of humour, showmanship, personal interests, dancing and acting skills, and more. Your location choices might show them where you’re from and how you live, or they could show them what you’re aspiring to. Your vibrant performance style in a video might encourage them to come see you play live, or it could help you get invited by organisers to play live gigs and festivals. But ultimately, they let the audience put a face with the sound, which fosters a stronger connection with you and your music.
Full-length music videos are also a fundamental way to increase your exposure and strengthen your credibility as a committed artist. Today’s fans can’t introduce you to tomorrow’s fans if you don’t give them new content to share online. And PR teams and band managers typically won’t take you on as a client unless they can see that you’re attempting to address the business side of music and making your own efforts around music promotion and music marketing.
It’s so easy and affordable to make a full-length music video these days that there’s no excuse not to.
The Lyric Video
The second type of video you should be creating for every track is a lyric video. Not only are lyric videos super affordable to make, but they also generate high views on video streaming platforms like YouTube. Why? Fans love learning the words to songs and singing along! So they’ll watch your lyric video over and over again, increasing both your video’s view count and your channel’s lifetime views—which not only feels great, but:
gives you a sense of how many invested fans you have out there;
can get you closer to the 10K threshold you need to hit in order to monetise your content on YouTube with ads; and if you’ve got a sizeable following
it might boost your chance of making the charts, since Billboard includes online streaming when making their Top 100 chart.
Lyric videos are also an excellent way to get all of your songs out there—not just the singles you made full-length music videos for. After all, successful music promotion requires quality content, frequency, and volume, and you can tick all three boxes by using lyric videos to introduce fans to your back catalogue or your album’s B-sides.
If you can’t decide which singles to produce full-length music videos for, then start with lyric videos and use them to gauge the reaction of your fans. Post lyric videos for all of your album’s tracks to see which songs they play most, and then create full-length music videos for your most viewed ones.
Camila visually links her lyric video to the official video by sticking with the same retro, 1950s era, but uses animation for a new look and feel.
When creating a lyric video, go for simple yet original. Your fans want a video that looks great, but they also need to be able to read your lyrics clearly. One solution is to take your full-length music video and add text to it—perfect if you want to make sure all assets related to your track have a consistent visual design. With text overlays, all of your visuals will be visible, and your letters will lay over the top—great if you want a strong link between your full music video and your lyric video. With masked text, your video footage will only be visible inside the letter shapes—perfect if you want a more subtle visual connection. Another option is to use a still from your full music video as a background image and display your text over it. Or go super stripped back and just lay your lyrics over a solid coloured background. Be creative, and remember to pick fonts that match your song’s personality. You’ll have plenty of typefaces to choose from if you use video editing software like Rotor Videos to create your lyric video.
The Promo Video or Teaser Video
Remember earlier when we mentioned the importance of volume when it comes to self-promotion? This is where promo videos shine. These are short, enticing videos that are usually 30 seconds long max. They give fans a sneak peak at what’s coming next from you, but they don’t give away the full story. The idea is to build some anticipation but leave them wanting more.
Always create a promo video for your next album or single drop. These might be silent and mysterious, only showing album artwork, or they might include a short snippet of audio to give fans a taste of what your new album of track is going to sound like. But they should always include key information about your release like the title, release date, and which streaming services it’ll be available on. Once your music is live, use a different set of promo videos on social to announce to fans that it’s ‘Out Now’.
Camila's official 12-second teaser video for My Oh My, which she originally shared via her FanClub channel Camila Access
You should also create promo videos to build momentum for your upcoming full-length music video. For example, make a variety of 15-second promo videos using different parts of your music video so you can post them across social media multiple times before getting to the main event. Or post a handful of promo videos featuring behind-the-scenes footage before you drop the full-length music video.
The Karaoke Video
Seeing a lot of views of your lyric videos? That means your fans love singing your songs! So take your song’s instrumental track and make a karaoke video for them so they can have a go at being the lead singer. Get even more juice out of it by encouraging them to post their performances on social media. You could even reward the best ones with band merch, free gig tickets, or by adding them to a special playlist.
Unoffical karaoke video for My Oh My with text animation
Karaoke videos are very like lyric videos. The only difference is that:
you use an instrumental track; and
instead of the lyrics coming up in chunks (like in lyric videos), the lyrics appear in time to the music, so the viewer knows when to come in. So for this one, you might need the help of someone with video editing skills to animate your text.
Include these four types of videos in your plan for every track release and you’ll quickly multiply your opportunities to share your track online, give your fanbase more ways to interact with and enjoy your music, and be able to legitimately talk about your track for longer without being repetitive—all good for increasing your music’s reach and longevity on social!