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Make the Most of Your Music Video Budget

Photo by Mark Thorsen on Flickr
Photo by Mark Thorsen on Flickr

Photo by Mark Thorsen on Flickr

For musicians, video is an extremely powerful media. Many music fans use sites like YouTube to keep up with news from their favorite bands, discover new bands, and listen to music.

Indie musicians with a limited budget do not need to be intimidated or discouraged by the big-money major label videos. You can create great video content on a budget. As a musician, you are creative. Use that creativity to come up with great video ideas that don’t require millions of dollars! Your fans will appreciate the thought you put into the video and the fact that you didn’t follow the default “we’re playing our song in the woods” approach.

Kelley James is a singer/songwriter. This article he wrote for Hypebot is a great example of how real musicians are doing great things on a limited budget. Here’s a short excerpt from the article. You can read the full article on Hypebot

1. When creating content, think outside the box.

Everyone is pretty familiar with the two main standbys that most artists will utilize when it comes to creating videos: the video-blog update and, of course, music videos. One is low budget with the potential to be stale and contrived while the other often seems like too big of an investment for artists who are still growing. That’s why it’s very important to think outside the box when it comes to video content. What are your viewers getting from your videos that they can’t get elsewhere? If the answer is “nothing”, they probably won’t be tuning in any time soon. When I’m creating content for my channel, I like to give my fans something they can’t see at a show or buy on iTunes, so I like to do one of my signature freestyles on-the-spot. Other times, I’ll mash up two songs into one streamlined acoustic performance. Once your viewers realize that they’re getting in on something special when they watch your videos, you can bet they’ll be back again next time.

2. More is less.

There’s proof all over the web that a clever idea can be as valuable, if not more, than a bloated budget. A lack of funds can be a blessing more than a curse in that it forces you to think creatively and work with whatever resources are immediately available. In 2012, I released my single “Summertime On My Mind” and wanted to create a unique video to promote it without spending a ton of cash. I was involved in a campaign for Patagonia at the time called “Repair, Reuse, Recycle” which was aimed at promoting cleaner environmental practices and conserving resources, and I saw one that one of the logos was an acoustic guitar with only one string. Inspiration struck. With the goal of showing that you can create something awesome with only simple tools, I rounded up five friends and six guitars – each with only one string. We played the entire song together, one string per person, and over 13,000 views later, I was able to prove that it doesn’t take more than a few buddies and some ingenuity to make something special. Don’t get caught up in trying to copy the music videos you see on TV, because the average major label video usually has a budget somewhere between $200,000-$500,00. Use your brain and remember, more is less.

For more tips from Kelley James, check out the full article on Hypebot.

How do you make the most of your  video budget? Share in the comment section below!

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