So far in this series we’ve shown you how to take advantage of GoPro cameras and GoPro’s Studio software to create awesome video edits for promoting your music. Whether you’re a solo performer or part of a band, once you have a brilliant video in the can what’s the next step to world domination?
Your YouTube gurus
Steve Moore: The greatest showman YouTube has ever seen, apparently. Steve’s This Drummer Is At The Wrong Gig video was actually filmed by someone else, but has since made him a drumming star, including an appearance on the US Office.
In numbers: Drummer At The Wrong Gig has had 29 million+ views to date.
Andy McKee: An incredible and innovative acoustic guitarist, Andy’s simple, single-camera videos and exquisite playing have garnered thousands of fans and views, as well as an invite to perform with Prince.
In numbers: Andy’s biggest video is Drifting with 50 million+ views.
Vadrum (Andrea Vadrucci): The Italian cover king with an eye for the unusual first came to the world’s attention with an early video that saw him covering the Super Mario Bros theme tune in typically virtuosic and bonkers style.
In numbers: Over 157,000 subscribers and 77 million+ video views.
Ryan Marshall: Guitarist for Canadian rockers Walk Off The Earth whose quirky covers and unique videos (like 5 Peeps 1 Guitar) have helped them build a huge fanbase independently of record labels or management.
In numbers: The group has a staggering 432 million+ views on their channel.
Cobus Potgeiter: South African drummer extraordinaire has taken the art of the drum cover to incredible heights, resulting in global acclaim, drum endorsements and a platform for his own music.
In numbers: An amazing 538,000+ subscribers with views close to 160 million.
Gabrielle Aplin: The British singer-songwriter first came to prominence online via acoustic covers on YouTube. In 2012 she signed a record deal with Parlophone to release her debut album.
In numbers: 38 million video views and her debut album English Rain went Gold.
Ben Powell: Londoner Ben began playing in 2000 and posted his first drum cover video in 2007. 147 videos later and he has an ever growing fanbase and his own line of merchandise.
In numbers: 3.5 million views for his shoestring budget videos.
How to make it big on YouTube with your music
1. Do something different in your video
Andy McKee: “The video that particularly took off and was featured the most is a tune of mine called Drifting. In that video I do play in an unusual way where I use my left hand over the top of the guitar neck for chording and percussion. I’m sure the novelty of that visual played a big part in people checking it out, plus I was a bit heavier then and I had a big beard and shaved head. Seeing some lumberjack playing instrumental guitar was just curious, if nothing else [laughs]! I like to at least hope that some people were captivated by the music as well, which led them to looking at my other videos that were uploaded at that time. Drifting has had just over 50 million views.”
Vadrum: “When I first decided to cover unusual songs, my intention was just to have fun and express my creativity in a different way, arranging drum parts for something that usually doesn’t have drums recorded or is not intended to be played by a drummer.”
Ben Powell: “When choosing a track to cover there are many things to consider. A song like Smells Like Teen Spirit, for example, is probably one of the most covered songs on YouTube. If you create a mediocre cover, then it’s just going to get lost on the net with few views.”
2. …but remember good music should still remain at the heart
Ryan Marshall: “It has to be a good song! Every song is different, so there’s no particular formula or process. It’s just about making it your own. Try to change the song without actually changing it. That’s what we do.”
Andy: “All of my videos have been very simple, just me sitting there playing in front of a mic and camera. Try and write the best music you can. Have fun with wild techniques, but remember that melody, harmony, and rhythm should always be your focus.”
3. Don’t be self-indulgent
Cobus Potgeiter: “I always give myself absolute artistic freedom, but I’ve found I progress more towards control and ‘less is more’ than the self-indulgent approach I had when I started years ago. I think it’s healthy and hopefully is a sign of me maturing musically.”
“Drifting has had just over 50 million views.” – Andy McKee
4. Swot up on video
Vadrum: “Definitely one of the reasons that first led me, and still leads me, to make drum videos is because I love every single aspect that concerns the production of a video – the birth and development of an idea, the drum arrangement, the setting up of the kit and mics, the audio soundcheck, positioning of cameras, the video editing process, the audio mixing process, the creation of the graphics.”
5. Strive for the highest production quality possible
Ben: “Production-wise, try and use more than one camera, make the angles interesting and unique, not just straight-on as it looks boring. Even if you own one camera, record yourself several times from different angles and then bring it all together in the edit.”
Vadrum: “My first videos were created with very little equipment: a typical ’90s video camera and the audio was recorded with a cheap microphone connected to a Minidisc recorder. Video after video, I always tried to improve the audio quality, using multiple microphones and starting to record in a multi-tracking system with a multiple channel soundcard connected to software like Cubase.”
6. Decent audio doesn’t need to be stressful
Ben: “Once you get your head round linking all the equipment up it’s a doddle. The way I record is pretty simple in comparison to other drummers I know. I use GarageBand which comes free with all Macs. I simply record the drums using my mics which are plugged into my mixer and then via USB record in GarageBand.”
7. It’s all in the name
Steve Moore: “My video was recorded by a fan and it had been online nearly two years but some different person took the video and re-uploaded it with the title ‘This Drummer’s At The Wrong Gig’. That’s when it went nuts. I’ve emailed two or three times the person that uploaded it and named it that to try and thank them, but they’ve never returned the email.
“You’d think after millions of hits they’d return an email!”
“The idea was to find a way to reach a lot of fans without having to drive across Canada in a stinky van for months at a time!” – Ryan Marshall
8. Get tagging
Andy: “I just usually tag ‘acoustic guitar’, ‘fingerstyle guitar’, things like that. I uploaded a video just a few days ago of myself doing a cover of The Happy Couple by Michael Hedges. When I started adding tags for that, I found that they actually had one for Andy McKee (Musician) so I’ve started using that too [laughs]!”
9. Embrace the web as a marketing tool
Ryan: “It was never really planned out [to draw attention to ourselves]. The idea was to find a way to reach a lot of fans without having to drive across Canada in a stinky van for months at a time! I think any form of social media is great for bands that don’t have the ability to get content onto commercial formats. We live in a time where music is no longer just listening, it’s seeing too. When people listen to music on the radio it’s two-dimensional. YouTube has created a three-dimensional world of music and has spoiled the fans to a point where just listening is almost boring. A music video can’t be just a band performing any more. It has to be more; it has to grab you in the first 15 seconds and keep your attention all the way through. Just make your video better than any video you have ever seen, and make your next one better than that!”
Cobus: “To get a name as unpronounceable as Cobus Potgieter out there, you have to use any and all means necessary. Kidding aside, my generation represents a bunch of kids very comfortable with social media anyways.
“I don’t think enough people realise the incredible potential of online media. It’s such a great platform, people watch and subscribe to content they feel a connection to – sincerity and quality will always make it to the top.”
10. Rise above the haterz
Andy: “If you upload a video onto Youtube, don’t be terribly surprised if/when you get negative comments. You might get a thousand very kind comments, but it’s easy to let one really negative one get you down. The truth is, you gotta put it in perspective. A lot of times that negativity is originating somewhere else. But there are times when they might have a valid criticism in there, and you can learn from that too. Maybe something about your picking hand or fretting hand that you can think about.”
Vadrum: “I always pay attention to the advice and critiques of my followers (including a lot of drummers), trying to always be myself, doing what I love for my new and old friends, not just for getting views.”
Full post at: Music Radar