The new way to think about music videos

Creating videos to promote your music

How to quickly make good (and short) video content. 

In 2020, artists need to be posting a steady flow of videos. Video content rules the music world. Here’s why:

  • Musicians are getting famous from short viral videos on TikTok.
  • Fans expect you to promote your songs on Instagram Stories in creative ways.
  • Social video ads outperform other advertising almost every time.
  • Audiences expect to engage with you through live-streaming on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitch.
  • And YouTube is still the absolute giant for visually representing your music and brand. 

Still not convinced? Just think of how YOU respond to content online. When it comes to grabbing and keeping attention, video is king, and you’re gonna need a LOT of it.

If that sounds stressful, you might be thinking of music videos in an old-school way.

In 2020, “music videos” don’t have to look like expensive productions OR be long-form:

  1. “Authentic” has replaced “perfect”
  2. Short has replaced long
  3. And instant social consumption has replaced video archiving

Thanks to a new partnership between CD Baby and Rotor, the automated video-creation tool for musicians, you’ll have a much easier time creating  music videos, lyric videos, concert announcements, and other video teasers on a regular schedule.

The quick way to make music videos

It’s really affordable to make a video with Rotor too, and with CD Baby you’ll get an additional 10% off.

Create a music video now

How do you create good video content on a regular schedule without going broke or driving yourself crazy?

First, it’s important to remember that not every video needs to be a “proper” music video.

You can easily get mileage from:

In a social media world, sometimes the less-produced something looks, the more apt people are to watch it. The more real and immediate it feels, the better. Since most musicians aren’t professional videographers, that’s good news for us. It takes the pressure off having to make every video a polished masterpiece.

But here’s the second bit of good news: Not every video needs to be long.

With the popularity of TikTok and Instagram Stories, it’s clear we’re living in an age of short-form video when there’s no such thing as too much content.

The same tenants of YouTube success apply to short-form video — frequency, posting on a schedule, measuring engagement — but instead of you needing to make a big investment of time or money making a long video, all you really need now is 15 seconds, some interesting imagery, and a good song or message.

Creating short-form video is one of the best ways to:

  • engage fans on a regular basis
  • build awareness for your music/brand through repetition
  • experiment with different ways to promote the same release, hook, concert, merch, etc.

Making videos should be among your main priorities when promoting a new release in 2020. Fortunately, social platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram are among the places where YOU are in control of revenue potential. That potential obviously increases when you post content consistently.

Here’s how to do that without breaking the bank or cracking your sanity…

Repurpose longer video content

Post your longer music videos, live streams, or concert videos to YouTube, Facebook, and IGTV, then chop them into:

These short video elements give you new opportunities to grab listeners and further convey your brand/vibe.

As an example, I just used Rotor to create a long video for my upcoming single “Paper Angels.” Then I chopped up that video in Final Cut (something like iMovie would work just as well) and added some text. Now I have ten smaller vertical videos (15 seconds each) to tease the release, one video per day to post on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. Here’s a reel of those teasers:


Lean on automated video tools

Life is fast-paced, especially if you’re also cranking out songs, touring, or working a day-job. You don’t always want to make your own videos from scratch or pay a video team thousands of dollars to get something good. That’s why CD Baby is excited to partner with Rotor to help you build an affordable music video for $25 or less. There’s no software or editing skills required.

To make a music video in minutes, here’s what you do:

1. Upload your song

2. Pick video clips from Rotor’s huge library, upload your own clips, or both

Making a video with Rotor

3. Choose from over 40 edit styles designed by professional directors and visual artists (you can view examples of each to figure out the best vibe for the song)

Music video edit styles

4. Let Rotor do its magic, analyzing your song and selected footage, and then intelligently editing your video together for you to suit your track’s rhythm, tempo and intensity

5. Add any text overlays you want

Adding text to videos in Rotor

6. Preview the results

Previewing videos in Rotor

7. If you like what you see, download a pro-quality video cut to your music

The videos you make with Rotor are 100% yours. You can share them wherever you like, and Rotor claims no rights once you’ve paid for the video (and you can always preview the video before paying). Watch some examples created by Rotor customers.

While Rotor is a great tool for creating bite-sized teasers, concert announcements, and more when you’re on-the-go, it’s just as useful for making your full-length music videos. Here’s a video I made a couple years ago when I first heard about Rotor:

Use social video apps’ creation tools, even if you’re not on those platforms

No one says you have to have a presence on TikTok, Shapchat, or Instagram Stories. It’s possible to use those tools only to create short-form video, and then post them on OTHER platforms where you ARE active (Facebook, YouTube, etc.)

Here’s one music video I stitched together from dozens of 6-second videos created in Snapchat:

And as another example, here’s a ridiculous video I made this morning by combining a screen-capture video with some of TikTok’s built in effects and filters (took me about 3 minutes):

@chrisrobleyJust your daily dose of #eelslap. Take 3 & call me in the morning. #eels #chrisrobleymusic #thisthisthis #ridiculous #pointlesswebsitesofyore♬ This, This, This – Chris Robley

Good video production is now fast and affordable.

There’s a saying that you can’t have things be cheap, quality, AND quick. You gotta pick two.

But with short-form video taking over the world, video creation services like Rotor (and the simple tools you find within social video apps themselves) are making it not just possible, but common, for good video to be made fast and on a budget.

Make a music video today

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