Creating promo visuals – think smart, not hard
November 30, 2020
As an independent artist, it is important to get your visual game just right. It’s a way for fans to tune in to you and what you’re about, while also being a means to stand out from other people.
Instagram is a place for artists to pick up new fans, and YouTube is the world’s biggest music streaming platform, so of course, with both being visual platforms, you need to have a presence on them to be found by your fans.
It is true that you’re potentially competing with big-budget outfits pouring money and time into videos and photoshoots. But, before you put your life savings into trying to copy that level of production, take a step back and think about how you can be smart about how you create.
In short, even if you have the cash, making engaging visuals are not always about throwing money at the problem.
Here are a few ideas to think on when you are planning to create visuals.
Use your budget wisely and plan
Whether your budget is $20, $200 or $2000, plan out how you will use it before you do anything.
You may be just starting out or be a more established artist going for a total refresh of your visuals. In any case, it helps to first identify all the places you’ll need images, for example streaming services, social media profiles, electronic press kit, music video.
Then, think about creating everything all at once, to save both time and money.
Build a team of upcoming creatives
Just like there are upcoming musicians looking to build a profile, there are also upcoming photographers, directors, stylists, make-up artists, illustrators and animators. In fact, whatever creative field you can imagine, there are people looking for opportunities to work on projects that show what they can do.
If you want to organise a photoshoot or music video shoot, your job is to find these people, build a community and work together for mutual benefits.
Many heads are often better than one, no matter how creative you are, so your visuals are likely to be better if you team up with others. It also means that you, as a team of creative people, can cross-promote each other on social media, lifting each other up and making noise to get attention around your visuals.
Edit video yourself
If you go down the route of building a team to produce a photoshoot or video, then editing will be something you have to think about. Be prepared to up your editing skills using free software like iMovie, which has everything you’d need to create a simple music video.
There are also plenty of free apps for video creation of all kinds, like Biteable or Vimeo’s on-platform social video creator.
Similarly, once you have still images, use free design software like Canva to put together something visually amazing to send out to press and playlist curators.
You may spend a little more time on this element than you thought you would, but it is definitely a cost effective way of making visuals because editing is usually a large chunk of a music video or stills photography budget.
Film lo-fi content on your phone
Making high-end visuals is not always the right way to go, though. It’s important to consider what your fans (however small a group they are right now) are responding to.
Eliza Shaddad, an artist who has added 3,000 new fans on her IG profile through using Beatchain’s Fan Builder tool, found that a clip from a livestream filmed outdoors on her mobile phone was one of the most successful visuals she ever created.
Especially now, where people are most likely to access what you create on the small screen of a phone, something that has heart is more likely to win attention than something shiny and big budget. So, before you plough money into a big music video, try engaging more fans through live streaming or non-live footage shot using your phone, and see what the response is.
Use Rotor to generate a music video through AI
If you do want a music video that looks high budget, and you don’t have the cash, Rotor is your best option. For $19, you pick the clips and effects, the app's AI 'listens' to your track, and then automatically edits everything together for you based on the rhythm, tempo and intensity of your track.
Beatchain has partnered with the AI music video service to give Beatchain users 10% off their services.
Have a look at this Rotor-produced video to get a flavor of what you can achieve.