There was a time when fans used the internet solely to access information about your band, music that you make, and the up and coming gigs that you might have been planning. But that’s not enough anymore – fans want to get an even more personal view on life as an artist and like to get background information about how you promote yourself as a brand.
With the recent popularity of behind-the-scenes style documentaries and self-made videos, your fans are now demanding up-close and personal video diaries and exclusive, official coverage of gigs from a viewpoint that they would not be able to be achieved when simply dancing in the crowd.
Remember that the customer is always right!! Give them what they want; show them into the life of a full-time crowd pleaser. They will appreciate the effort that you make for your fans and in return will appreciate your act more for doing so. So it’s about time to stop emphasizing on bedroom mixes and start showing the world the parts that you and your fans love the most… THE GIGS!!
Here are 3 top tips for using video material to boost your popularity, exposure and fan base.
1. Create a YouTube channel (Obviously)
A unique YouTube channel is free, easy, and completely controlled by you; allowing you to portray the type of brand you’re trying to achieve. You can choose how often you want to upload new material, monitor any new subscribers, and create a unique platform with which you can communicate with your fans.
As your YouTube channel should contain original recordings or mixes which you may have created in the bedroom and uploaded, a YouTube channel should also give your fans access to completely exclusive and unique material that they won’t find anywhere else on the internet or TV.
Your channel should include latest mixes and podcasts you want your fans to hear and also exclusive documentary-style access to gigs and/or behind the scenes access to your life as an artist. Basically, a mix between mellow clips showcasing the practice you put in at home etc. and a library of more upbeat clips to portray the result of all the practice in the form of gigs.
Friends of Cruzine, Dutch duo Mightyfools are a good reference point for utilizing YouTube. They created their YouTube channel in the latter end of 2008, and since then have amassed over one thousand fans and 200,000 views.
However to take utilizing YouTube to the next level, take a look at the channel by DJ Blend, an electro house DJ from the USA… This is how you should optimize your YouTube-ity:
He has only been on YouTube since April 2007, but since then has amassed over 230,000 subscribers at the time of writing and total views for his videos are at nearly 150,000,000 with one video alone, a simple bedroom mix with a bit of dancing and basic camera work, has more than 44,000,000 views and counting!! Not bad for a relative newbie. However, this is all possible for anybody to do including yourselves.
As Deadmau5 has proven, gimmicks are very effective; DJ Blend created a unique brand for himself in the form of a cheesy but simple name, a ‘Child’s Play’ style Chuckie mask and an outrageous DJ Proteus-esque style of mid-mix hard dancing. All this has catapulted himself to stardom and is now playing to thousands of fans on a regular basis throughout America.
DJ Blend opened a second YouTube channel to show only his gigs and backstage content in January this year however only uploaded his first video around a month ago. But after a month, this channel is already the #84 most viewed channel for a musician on the planet this month. This could be something to look at later on when your channel starts to fill up with clips to make it easier for fans to navigate between them however we recommend just the one channel to start with to promote yourself as your own brand and to start getting the publicity you need to propel yourself and your actions to the top.
This emphasizes the need to promote your personal brand on the internet to gain exposure and to broadcast your talent. YouTube is possibly the best way to achieve this. We always believe that if the talent is good enough, it will always get noticed thanks to the power of the internet today.
To create an awesome channel on YouTube, you should incorporate facilities for fans to discuss their favorite tracks etc and have a section where they can buy EPs and singles or even types of merchandise. After all public image is everything, you are a brand, start acting like one. The music is the biggest factor but it isn’t the only one.
A good channel should consist mainly of videos of live mixes that are updated regularly with new ones to keep fans happy and up-to-date with the tunes that are hot at the moment. This is easy; after all, you should be practicing these mixes every day anyway, just stick the video camera on while you do it.
The rest of the clips should contain content taken by you or a friend/associate at live gigs and show exclusive DJ sets. However, other uploads could include tapes of yourself and your party traveling between gigs, the sights you see along the way, and the general camaraderie of the gang. These videos will provide a completely new and different experience of the public image you usually portray and will give the fans access to things they could have never seen before.
2. Record Video Diaries
Another great way to utilize online communities like YouTube is to create a series of video diaries. Video diaries work excellently for individual artists traveling alone but are also fantastic if you travel around in a group, where you all work and play together. Video diaries are great for giving fans and followers an exclusive insight into a day, an hour or even a minute in the life of a musician.
They’re completely different to interviews because you don’t have the pressure of a film crew and a host asking questions – it’s just you, your crew and a camcorder, or mobile phone as these sometimes catch the best original content when a camcorder isn’t at hand. You can say and do exactly what you want, without minding your P’s and Q’s because after all, you can edit it as you see fit before showing the world.
Fans will be interested in anything you tell them, especially if the diaries are recorded whilst you’re on tour – comments on your favorite venue to play and unique or interesting experiences with crowds are great conversation starters. For an expert example of using video diaries to your advantage, check out another client of Cruzine in the form of Bryan Kearney’s YouTube channel. This trance artist and DJ from Ireland set up his YouTube channel in 2006, and since then has chalked up over 300,000 views. His video diaries include footage of and comments about flights, airports, hotels and gigs, with commentary directly from the Kearney himself.
3. Edit your Videos
Some forms of professional software that can edit those clips that you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see can be very confusing. The last thing you want to do is spend hours editing videos using complicated software. Choose a simple piece of software or programme that does what it says on the tin effectively, leaving you with clean and professional looking videos edited quickly and simply.
There are many simple programmes that produce the desired result and even more importantly, are free – YouTube has its own video editing facility, which allows you to combine a number of clips into one video, add your own music and trim clips to the length you want them to be.
Editing videos is very important as when you have a lot of subscribers, the chances are, if you publish something that could be slightly controversial, somebody somewhere would take it in bad taste which could have a detrimental effect. Allow your videos to complement the reason why your fans are following you in the first place; the music you create.
Then add interesting and relevant things for fans to keep the loyalty. The last thing you want is for fans to be catching a glimpse of you behind the scenes for the first time and seeing a drunken man/woman taking a leak behind some bike sheds. Be smart; you need to remember the unique branding you’re trying to portray to the public.
In addition, many mobiles that you may have in your pocket is equipped with software which allows you to edit videos and upload them to the site of your choice. The Apple iPad, iPhone, and some versions of the iPod touch are equipped with a video recorder, and the capability to download apps such as the Final Cut Pro X, which you and your band can use to fiddle with your videos until you’re 100 percent happy with them.
Many computers come pre-programmed with video editing software, as the programmers are aware that the popularity of home-made videos is on the rise. For Windows computers, there is the Microsoft Movie Maker, and for Apple users, there is the Apple iMovie – both of these programmes are free and already loaded onto more modern computer models.
A great free download which allows you to edit videos quickly and easily goes by the name of Wax. Be careful when googling this, as when I was finding the link for you guys I typed in ‘wax video’… which would be fine if you like seeing people getting Brazilians and bikini waxes :/ However that was not the reason for my search, so quickly back to the point… Wax began as a student project, but its popularity was such that the programme is now available as a download across the world. Wax allows you to create 2D and 3D images and effects, add text and even create explosions, so this is as comprehensive as the free downloads come.
On the other hand, if money is no object, and you’re willing to spend as much as it takes on top-of-the-range editing equipment, you could try programmes and CDs such as the Media 100 for the Apple Mac, with which you can layer video clips, add a voiceover and mix audio files in order to create a video with as much personality as your band – prices for Media 100 start at around £900. Another great but expensive piece of software is the Adobe Premiere and Premiere Pro, with prices starting at around £500. With this Adobe programme, you can correct issues such as shaky footage and poor color quality, and fix problems such as background noise and interruptions.
So there you have it, 3 simple steps to getting yourself noticed as a brand on YouTube. Just before we leave though, it’s also a good point to mention the YouTube Partners Programme which offers paid advertisements on the YouTube channels… companies advertise on popular YouTube channels and pay the owner every time somebody clicks on the advertisement.
Obviously the advertisements should be relevant to the style of channel you are trying to perceive for your brand, but it’s always good to know that optimizing your YouTube channel in a way that gives you exposure will not only popularise yourself as an artist but can also be a good little money spinner from third parties looking to cash in on your fame.