Canadian Musician - November/December 2021 | Page 10


DIY Music Videos

What to Think About Before You Proceed

By Ahmed Haroon

DIY videos are now the staple mark of the self-funded indie artist . In an age where big names are relying on bigger budgets to shoot music videos , DIY videos are the perfect forerunners to introducing self-funded artists to new fans , and building on their relationship with existing fans .

One such veteran is L . A . -based performer , Ari Herstand , who releases music on his own terms and finances the production of his music videos on small budgets . He ’ s also a go-to source of advice in the indie community , having founded an online music business school called Ari ’ s Take Academy , and literally written the ( best-selling ) book on navigating an independent music career , entitled How to Make It in the New Music Business .
Herstand shares his experiences and some practical tips about creating your own DIY videos , touching on online marketing , location scouting , and gathering resources to create the best video within limited means .
But first , before we ask “ how ?”, we should ask “ why ?” What is the use of a music video in this era ? “ That is the question of the decade : maybe of this new social media era . I have these conversations every day with artists . Should you spend your resources on developing a traditional-style high-production-value music video ?” says Herstand . “ I think that it is very important to tell the story of your album , of an artists ’ project or single ; everything that is wrapped up into who you are as an artist , to tell that story visually . We live through visual mediums these days . Instagram and TikTok are the two most prominent social media platforms right now for musicians , and that ’ s driving culture .”
The music video itself is a primer towards a single , album , or an EP campaign that attaches a visual brand value to an artist . The more engaging , innovative , and creative the storyboard , the better it presents your music to audiences .
Again , social media marketing of music is driven by visual mediums , and as per Herstand ’ s observation , the discovery of music on Spotify , Instagram , and TikTok also depends on that . With short attention spans in the digital age and an avalanche of music releases that descend on streaming services every day , it is more important than ever to create “ candid , more in-the-moment , quick-to-thepoint storytelling ” through short videos . The strategy has long been adapted onto these platforms and worked well for many independent artists . Herstand also emphasizes the importance of YouTube and how it is still an important platform for discovery of new music for fans . If people know how to work “ the suggestion algorithms [ on YouTube ], these can be your best friend ; and if your video comes up , that is a way that you can [ still ] win fans ” — new and old .
Importantly , think about other uses for the video content you create . A four-minute music video can also be chopped into visualizer canvas clips for your songs on Spotify , which increases interest , engagement , and visibility . “ Studies have shown that people will stay on your song longer if you have a visualizer , so you got to have a canvas . I would encourage [ artists ] to think about that when they ’ re making promotional content . What should be a good seven-second clip from [ an existing ] video for the canvas , whether you ’ re going to make a long-form music video , or just a visualizer for every song or one song and [ whether ] you ’ re going to take snippets of that for all your songs ?”
Another important thing to think about when creating music videos , or video content in general , is how the content is going to increase engagement with fans and help them understand you or your music . Do this while thinking about how this content can be repurposed and rejuvenated across other platforms . “ You could remix that visualizer video and add captions on it or tell stories or do a reaction video to your own music video . That ’ s real hot right now on TikTok and Instagram Reels . You can film yourself watching the video , do reaction videos to your own video of you watching your friends watching