Choosing the right single and video[The following is an excerpt from Tamiko Hope’s book “The Indie Insider: 10 Key Facts From Music Industry Insiders.]

What makes a great lead single and video? 

Understanding who you are as an artist and knowing your audience is absolutely vital when it comes to selecting a single. The song needs to be solid and the video treatment needs to be appealing. Tuma Basa, VP of Music Programming at REVOLT, underlines both of these points. “If a video evokes emotion via its visual aesthetic and the song is just dope, it has a good shot of getting on REVOLT.”  

Noah Jolles of ND Promotions suggests making sure your single is clean (no profanity) and that you shoot a clean video or prepare to have immediate access to a director or editor for quick edits. “If you pick a street record or have a dirty version for YouTube or the music blogs, make sure you can make a clean version for the networks to avoid delays and budget issues. I’ve seen so many indie artists and labels waste time and money, as well as miss opportunities shooting a video that’s not appropriate for network television.”  

Basa also reinforces the idea of staying ready for video issues that require immediate attention. “If something like being on tour or having a hectic schedule affects your ability to get things done like paperwork, edits or closed-captioning, it’s very beneficial to hire an indie promotions company in order for the programming process to go smoothly.”

I’ve had indie artists approach me about getting their videos in rotation on major cable networks, but the reality is you can do much of the preliminary groundwork yourself. “Make the initial entry on your own,” suggest Jolles. “I think it’s feasible for an indie artist to submit the video and get some initial impressions and coverage on a grassroots/blog level.” 

Consequently with the right song and video treatment, there is absolute value in doing a digital video campaign for your project because it provides a gateway to being considered for network television. “The metrics that these video programmers look at since radio is rarely in the picture for indies is, ‘what are your social media stats and your viral or digital story?’ Get your video on YouTube and pitch it to the blogs, pitch it to the music websites and get impressions on your social media. That’s also the new way of gauging the viability of an indie artist for these video programmers. If you’re getting tons of impressions on your video, you can make the valid argument that ‘look, I’m an indie artist and not getting much radio play, but look at all the key blogs that picked me up.’ The means of production are inexpensive enough and within reach now that there’s no excuse to not produce a video and push it out even if it’s a viral video that’s not ready for prime time. It’s worth pushing out on a digital level.”  

You may be wondering with web media being so massive, is there still value in having your video on television? This was Jolles’ response, “To really move the needle of your overall project, you’ve got to be in the millions, multiple millions of views on YouTube. Anybody can get a few hundred thousand views these days so the metrics that industry people such as TV bookers, media/press people, programmers, radio folks, etc. look at gets bumped up each year. The web and social media aspect alone is moving so fast that it’s not enough to fully replace the impact of mass media like television. Even though TV’s influence has diminished, it’s still an important component of getting on the radar to get other talent bookings and opportunities. And there’s also the ego stroke. Anybody can get a video on YouTube, not everybody can get a video on television. But bragging rights aside, it’s something to be said for it and it puts you on that level up in hierarchy and also allows you to increase your story when you’re pitching to other media.” 


For more tips from music biz experts, check out The Indie Insider: 10 Key Facts From Music Industry Insiders.

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[Star image from Shutterstock.]