Part 2: Identifying Valuable Video Content


Putting up good video content will win you fans and keep your current ones engaged. Putting up bad footage that is dull or shows the artist in an unfavourable light can do considerable damage.


In their last guest blog, Decibel Pictures focused on the importance of creating an active video presence, in continuation, they’re sharing their top tips for music video content.

When we watch videos we tend to draw conclusions about the protagonists: live video from an artist’s gig should give us insight into the type of venue they play, their performance (style and quality) and the type of crowd they attract. A backstage video, on the other hand, helps us feel closer to the artist – their nerves, their preparation, their excitement – it all becomes tangible to us with video. As our last post pointed out: It doesn’t take a genius to realise this can translate directly into ticket sales.

So here are some of my top tips for music video content:

    • Video should be an integral part of your PR strategy, mapping out what, how and when video content is released to optimise attention for upcoming releases, ticket sales and tour dates. Figure out what you want to achieve then have a strategy that does that.
    • Whoever is responsible for delivering your video content should work closely with your PR department to make the most of opportunities as they arise.
    • Release video content regularly. Talking about Direct-to-Fan marketing at The Great Escape this year, Ian Rogers of Topspin gave a great piece of advice “Do one small thing a week, do one big thing a month.”I would add to that, at least one of those things each month should be a video of some kind, be it a short “behind-the-scenes” or vlog shot on a mobile phone, a track from a gig, a mini-doc on TV or your next music video.
    • Video content can vary enormously in terms of content, style, technical quality and most of these have their place in any strategy, playing different roles. From self-shot 30 second mobile phone clips to 90 minute big-budget concert DVDs and everything inbetween, it all has its place. The key is choosing the most appropriate formats and content for your requirements and budget.
    • Intimate, often non-professional-looking content is great for making the fans feel like they have a direct line to the artist. Ryan Adams recently did some Vampire Weekend covers sat alone in front of his webcam with his guitar. Really intimate and personal. The fans loved him for it.
Ryan Adams covers Vampire Weekend
  • Also, note I say “non-professional looking”. Just because you think something was shot and edited by an artist or his mate on a cheap handycam, doesn’t mean it was! A professional music film-maker will leave their ego at the door and put the PR remit first and their artistic preciousness second.
  • You can get great quality purpose-ready content without breaking the bank; a friend of the band who’s handy with a camera, or a band-member themselves. But be careful of this. A bit of camera wobble and occasional microphone scuffing is ok but if it’s too rough around the edges, viewers will get bored (or sea-sick) and move on to something else in seconds.
  • Sounds obvious but make sure whoever is responsible for the shooting and editing understands the primary purpose of the film. Film-makers not used to working in the music industry will often make edit decisions in favour of making the film look good, rather than the artist.
  • Editing is EVERYTHING!!!Putting up good video content will win you fans and keep your current ones engaged, putting up bad footage that is dull or shows the artist in an unfavourable light can do that considerable damage.

    If there isn’t the budget to send a film-maker out on tour with your artist or to do the “making of” the music video, one of the services Decibel Pictures offers gives artists a quick training session on how to get the best out of their camera and shoot for the edit. Then as part of that service, Decibel will edit the footage into something that is entertaining, purpose-ready, makes the artist look good and is ready immediately!

  • If it’s online, keep it short.The average length of the top 5 viewed YouTube videos of 2010 was 3 ½ mins with none of the top 5 exceeding 5 mins.
  • If you want to post something online that’s a bit longer, such as a featured documentary, consider breaking it up into small bite-sized chunks. You could also release each of these chunks, once a week, or one a day through your social networks, again building up that hunger for content which keeps fans engaged.
  • Hook your viewer right from the start. Especially if it’s for online viewing. If it’s on YouTube and they’re not engaged within the first 10 seconds you’ve already lost them.
  • Include the fans in the footage. This is guaranteed to ramp up the “sharing” factor.
  • If it’s not good, don’t release it! Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised…!

And remember: Good video content attracts new fans. Good video content keeps fans engaged. Feed your fan machine and it will grow.

This guest post was written by Charlotte Johnson, Producer/Director at Decibel Pictures, @DecibelPictures