Music videos can be amazing pieces of content that show off creative flair and solidify an artist’s image. However, they can also be really expensive. So how can you benefit from the spoils, but still make a music video on a budget?
Usually, making a high-end music video production only really works for established artists because they know they have the audience who will watch it. In the earlier stages of an artist’s career, it’s not necessary to go down this route. Here at Burstimo, we don’t recommend that new artists spend a fortune on making a music video, as there will be little return at this stage.
Instead, in this article we want to show you some better alternatives to invest in during these early phases which make for more useful content assets. The primary purpose of these music video alternatives is to get the YouTube algorithm working in your favour so you can get pushed out to new audiences and gain new fans.
Alternative #1: Vlogging With Your Track in the Background
Part of YouTube’s algorithm 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 such as a mini-documentary, a humorous band moment, talking about current affairs… anything really, but you can have your track playing in the background.
Now you need a ‘clickbait-y’ title. The term ‘clickbait’ has bad connotations, suggesting that the content doesn’t quite match the title, but when used properly – it does work. Just try not to blatantly lie about what actually happens in the video!
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 tend to use 5 or 6 attractive words in the title to bait you into reading the article.
Let’s look at an example. A title that might work could be: ‘I Can’t Believe Our Guitarist Did This!’ An accompanying thumbnail of a smashed-up guitar might make people curious to click through (as long as your video is truthful to the title).
Then, people can 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. In addition, as they have watched this video, all your future ones will appear on their suggested list or homepage on YouTube.
Alternative #2: Making a Lyric Video
Lots of artists create lyric videos with basic animated backgrounds, which quite frankly aren’t all that interesting. Instead, you could make what we call a ‘hybrid video’ – a budget music video that has lyrics placed over the top. This format will make it a lot more engaging and appealing to the viewers.
Burstimo has found that running this type of hybrid lyric video as an ad is very cost-effective in getting people to watch the video, and consequently, fall in love with the song and become a true fan.
Making a music video alternative in this way can be easily filmed on a decent quality phone camera and therefore, doesn’t have to cost much to produce. In addition, placing some well-styled graphic lyrics on top brings more personality, and grabs 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 is more likely to stop, watch it all the way through and become a new fan.
Alternative #3: Video a Live Performance
One of the best options to consider as a budget music video is a filmed live performance. This doesn’t have to be from an actual live gig either, it could be a live performance you set up specially for the purpose of making a video.
Again, a live performance video does not have to cost you much, especially if you have a couple of friends to help with filming and record you playing in your studio, garage, gig, on the beach, or wherever you want!
Then, you just need to edit the footage, make sure it is synchronised properly and you are good to go – you have a quality piece of content for your fans to watch while they listen to your music. This is one of the best music video alternatives as once somebody becomes a fan of your music, they love to see how you perform live in the flesh.
Alternative #4: Use Other People’s Content! (*Ask First)
This is one of the most cost-effective alternatives to a music video and is an awesome way to get a new audience to hear your songs. You simply use 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).
A whole new world of opportunity opens to you by doing this. Your track could play in the background of boxing, video game, football highlights, drone footage, skateboarding videos, or even cat videos! It really depends on your artist brand and what you feel would suit your style of music.
YouTube will give this kind of content a push with its algorithms, but it’s best to name the video something that people are likely to search for, rather than your artist name and track title. If it picks up enough traction, you can always re-name it later to gain more exposure for your name and brand.
In general, 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 and gain new fans.
Alternative #5: Let Other People Use Your Track
Similarly, you can offer out your music for people wanting to create their own content, whatever the subject. So, instead of making your own budget music video, you can get other creators to do the hard work of actually making the video, but you can provide the soundtrack. You won’t necessarily get paid, but the exposure is equally valuable if you find the right channels.
To do this, you can go onto YouTube and find videos where you think your track could enhance or add something extra to the footage. Then, you can reach out to the creators and offer your track license-free for them to use. 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 sites, such as 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 if you want to know more.
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 or YouTube channels to target.
Another approach is to apply a Creative Commons license to your video or 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. Again, in the early stages of your career, the exposure is more important than the income, so try to look at it from this perspective instead.
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 be featured, with the potential outcome that you end up being picked up by both the Spotify and YouTube algorithms.
Hopefully with these tips in mind, you set about making your own (alternative) music video on a budget. If you found this blog helpful, you can read more music marketing articles here, follow our tips on Instagram or check out our advice videos on our YouTube channel.