I often wonder why developing artists invest $5,000 – $15,000 on video clips.

Judging by the view counts some of these videos get, it looks like they’re paying $2-$4 per view?!? Wow, what a waste of time, energy and precious budget that is.

Marketing and band managers need to seriously re-think the value of polished video clips in 2018. The odds of Rage, V Music or MTV breaking a band no one has ever heard of is almost zero, so why do we do it? Well, there are only three reasons I can think of to justify spending $5k-15k on a polished video for your developing artists.

1. You have a very viral idea

If your idea has the potential to go viral it might be worth rolling the dice. But just know that idea and execution are two different things.

It’s one thing to think of a genius idea, it’s another to pull it off; and it requires a whole lot of planning, experience and luck to nail viral video concepts.

I speak from experience. Years ago I managed hip hop group Mind Over Matter who came up with an idea to play strip twister with some elderly folk. The concept sounded funny enough that we thought people would watch all the way through and share the video.

However, we really didn’t nail the concept, it notched up 58k views and fell out of memory as the song finished it cycle on Triple J rotation.

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The clip cost us over $5k. It was money not well spent in my view as analytics taught us that the 58k views came off the back of the Triple J rotation not off of the strength of the video, which means a much simpler (cheaper) idea would have yielded the same results.

Watch Mind Over Matter’s clip for ‘Real Life’ below:

2. You have a strong visual asset

This is very subjective. If you don’t care about the views you’re getting and you just need a strong visual asset for brand deals, international label shopping or for any other reason, who am I to judge? However I think the, “We need a strong visual asset” argument is over-diagnosed.

3. You have a hit on your hands

No question, if you have a hit song or a soon to be hit song, go make that clip!!

The royalties and CPM revenue alone will give you the return, let alone all the juice in brand recognition you’ll receive as it’s played on every video channel and in every gym around the world.

So what should developing artists be doing?

Here’s some intel we discovered at Seventh Street Media. There is a direct correlation between how polished a piece of content looks and how poorly it performs on social media. That means, the better and more expensive your video clip looks, the less views you’re likely to get.

Sounds counter intuitive doesn’t it? Well not when you think about why people are on socials and how ‘anti-advertising’ we are.

People go on socials to connect with friends and to look at dumb memes, they don’t open Facebook expecting to watch a Hollywood film. So when they see hyper-polished content (i.e. your video clip) they scroll right past it. They either assume it’s an advert or don’t want to sit through your band singing to camera on a beautiful beach for three-and-a-half minutes.

Let’s look at a hypothetical case study:

Option 1

A band spends $5,000 to produce a polished music video and gets 10,000 views on socials. Yay for you.

  • Total cost: $5,000
  • Content produced: 1
  • Lifetime of content rollout: 1 week, max.
  • Results: 10,000 views

Option 2

A band decides to use that $5,000 to produce 10 raw videos. They could be Instagram TV videos, bedroom, or in car performances, or skits etc. Each of these videos gets an average of 3,000 views each (less half of the video clip) bar one video which goes super well and gets 30,000 views.

Remember, you do need a bit of luck to get a viral video so if you produce 10 videos you’re more likely to have an outlier that 10x’s your average view count.

In fact, in my experience you’re almost guaranteed one in every 10 videos you produce to 10x the results of your average performance.

  • Total cost: $5,000
  • Content produced: 10
  • Lifetime of campaign: 10-20 weeks
  • Results: 57,000 views

Let me remind you at this point that Tash Sultana basically launched her whole career with this strategy. Check out our Oral History of her ascent here.

This video below might have over a million views now, but I urge you to go onto her Facebook page and scroll back all the way to 2014. These types of videos were getting 3,000 views each.

Tash Sultana – Blackbird 

A traditional video for $0: This is what all bands should be doing

Here’s the thing though, you can produce a traditional video for your up-and-coming artist for $0. The artist just needs to take the bull by the horns.

Check out the video by Chymes below. The band shot the whole thing on their iPhone and edited it in iMovie. It’s beautiful (and so is the song mind you, wow).

In terms of results, who knows where it will go. It might go nuts if the song takes off, or it might only get 5k-10k views on socials; but to be honest, that’s irrelevant.

The most important thing for the band is that they wanted a visual representation for their music, and to that brief they nailed it. They did it smart, they did it creatively and it didn’t cost them a cent.

Well done Chymes.

Chymes – Wild 

Chymes will be showcasing at the 2018 Australian Music Week.  Details here.