5 Alternatives To Making a Music Video For an Emerging Artist

Holding phone music

Making a music video is not the be-all and end-all to your band success. So many up and coming artists have invested huge amounts into making a music video, only to see little return.

There is always a small possibility that your music video will go viral. Still, there are no guarantees or quick fixes to make this happen when you don’t have a large audience.  

Making a music video only really works for established artists. Or if you hire an influencer to appear in your music video, where people are going to find your video through searching and watching the video posted by the influencer.

From a YouTube perspective, this is down to their algorithm, which identifies topics and trends that they think their audience might be interested in. New artists just won’t get the same traction as established ones, as the algorithm only works if it can make (substantial) connections with other artists in your genre, and the users that watch a video on your channel. The result being that an established artist will be recommended (pushed out by YouTube) to the viewer after they have watched another established artist’s video in that genre.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for up and coming artists.

Here at Burstimo, we are not advocates of suggesting new artists spend a fortune on making a music video, for little return and no new fans.

There are better alternative methods to invest in that will see a better return. The primary purpose of these alternatives to making a music video is coming from the perspective of getting the YouTube algorithm to work in your favor to push out your video. 

The ultimate aim is to get in front of a wider audience, make appearances on the recommended list, and automatically get a play after another artists’ video.

So, let’s get started:

Alternative to Making a Music Video 1: Vlogging With Your Track in the Background

Part of the algorithm in finding videos YouTube thinks their audience would like to see comes down to the titles and thumbnail of the videos. In fact, the title is vitally important, and if you can get people to click on that, it will, by default, be pushed out to more people.

You can take advantage of this algorithm by creating a piece of content: a mini-documentary, a funny band moment, talking about current affairs, anything really, but you can have your track playing in the background. 

Now you need a clickbait title. The term clickbait title has bad connotations as it has come to mean that you are lying about the content in the video, and it does not relate to the title.

But it is still the best description of how to create a title for your video. You just need to not lie! So your title can be found in the content of the video, but it is something that people want to click on, as they want to find out more.

The best way to come up with these titles yourself is to look at the tabloid papers or sites like Buzzfeed and see which titles make you want to click through.

They use 5 or 6 attractive words in the title (the bait) you into reading (the click) the newspaper or article.

This is the method of how you would title your video.

A title that might work could be “I Can’t Believe Our Guitarist Did This!” 

A thumbnail of a smashed-up guitar might make people curious to click through (as long as your video is truthful to the title).

Then as people watch, they will watch the story unfold, with your track in the background. Ideally, you want the content to be the length of your track, as that makes editing a whole lot easier.

When each person clicks through, you’ll have the opportunity to get a potential new fan, and if they like your track, they can stream it through Spotify. 

AND as they have watched this video, all your future ones will appear on their suggested list or homepage on YouTube.

Voila, you are one step closer to a wider audience.

Alternative to Making a Music Video 2: Making a Lyrics Video

Lots of artists create lyric videos with a fancy background and animated background, which quite frankly aren’t all that interesting. To make it more interesting, you could make what I call a hybrid video – a music video that has lyrics. This format will make it a lot more appealing to the viewers.

Burstimo has found that running this type of hybrid lyric videos as an ad is very cost-effective in getting people to watch the video, fall in love with the song, and becoming a fan.

Making a music video in this way can be filmed on your iPhone or Android and therefore, will not cost much to produce. Still, the animated lyrics bring it more personality, and it gets people’s attention. It is an excellent type of video to post on Facebook and Instagram, as it gets people to stop scrolling.

If the clip grabs the attention of the serial scroller and something interesting happens within the first 5 seconds, especially with text popping up on the screen, the scroller could become engaged, watch it all the way through and become a new fan.

Alternative to Making a Music Video 3: Video a Live Performance

If you can’t afford the option of a professional making a music video for you and you really need a video to accompany your track, you can consider a live performance video.  

Just a static image of your artwork, while your track plays is not engaging, but a live video performance would be.

A live performance video does not have to cost you anything, especially if you have a couple of friends with iPhones to do the honors and record you playing in your studio, garage, gig, on the beach, or wherever.

You would just then edit the footage, make sure it is all synced, and you are good to go – you have a nice video for your fans to watch, while they listen to your music.

This option is limited in terms of attracting a new audience unless it is shared profusely and goes viral. And if people really like the song, they may choose to share it on Spotify.  

However, a YouTube video is universal, as people might not have Spotify, or use Deezer, but everyone can view a YouTube video.

It might not go viral just because it is a live performance. Still, it is more visually appealing than a static image. The chance of going viral is there and can be pushed with paid advertising.

Alternative to Making a Music Video 4: Take Other People’s Content!

This is one of my favorite cost-effective methods and an awesome way to get a new audience to hear your songs. You simply take other people’s content and put your music as the background track!

You will need permission from the license holder of the video (unless you select a video in the Creative Commons and acknowledge usage in your video description).

But a whole new world of opportunity opens to you by doing this. Your track could play in the background of boxing, gameplay, football highlights, drone footage, skateboarding tricks, or even cat videos!

YouTube will give this kind of content a push with its algorithms, but you wouldn’t name the video your band name and song title, but rather something that people are searching for. 

They will hear your track while watching a video on something they are interested in.

You just need to pick something popular and that people are searching for that your song fits and if it is easy to rank on YouTube for – even better!

You wouldn’t want to put a chilled tranquil song over a UFC fight! It could work through in some circumstances to get attention. In essence, the juxtaposition could represent the calmness of the fighter inside his head as he fights.

But generally, you’d want to ask permission to use videos that fit your genre of music. You can credit the original video in descriptions and put your music in the background.

If people like the soundtrack, they will seek to find out what it is and play it on Spotify.

This is one of the best ways to get an organic audience listening inadvertently to your track. 

It is an incredibly powerful tactic to increase your audience – one could argue even more so than airplay on a popular radio station!

Alternative to Making a Music Video 5: Let Other People Use Your Track

In the same vein, you can let people creating boxing, gameplay, football highlights, drone footage, etc. videos use your track.

To do this, you can go onto YouTube and find some fantastic videos where you’d think your track could enhance or add something extra to the footage.  

Next, you’d reach out to the creators and offer your track license free to them. You can also concentrate on more prominent YouTube channels, which might feature your track royalty-free.  

You can also reach out to influencers on other social media like Instagram and ask them if they’d like to use your track royalty-free. Our video How to Promote Your Music Online Using Influencers explores this further.

Remember, you never know until you ask!

It is particularly useful to have in mind who your fans are in terms of demographics, so you know what interests they might have, as this would help you choose the right influencers to target.  

Another approach is to apply a Creative Commons license to your video/song. This would mean that people would be able to use it without asking you, as long as they attribute you in the description or on the video.

With this tactic, your track can end up in the background of videos with hundreds and thousands of views, and if they like the track, they can look at the description to find out what it is. Some of these influencers even have their own Spotify playlists where your track could feature. The best outcome being that you end up being picked up by both the Spotify and YouTube algorithms.

I hope you found these alternatives to making a video useful, please feel free to share it and come back often for plenty more blog posts like these.


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