Bands – Stop Making Boring Performance Promo Videos

Radiohead have performed a bit of a media coup this week ‘deleting’ themselves from the Internet and coming back a day later with a YouTube hosted video of their new song.

Word has spread far and wide and the video has attracted particular attention.  It’s a great Wickerman/Camberwick Green pastiche which led me to think about how most DIY bands and artists approach their music promos.

90% of the time, I see promo videos of bands merely ‘performing’ to their song.  You know the sort of thing.  Rock bands in a darkened studio, walking towards their gear, lights pointing upwards from the floor.  Female solo singers miming to their song in a variety of outdoor locations.  It’s all very well and good but as a DIY artist you must always remember that obscurity is your enemy.


Your band’s music video. You’re miming to the track. There’s some nice lights. YAWN!

If people watch your video and say to themselves ‘nice song, nothing wrong with the  video’ and move on to the next thing to occupy their time then your marketing attempts have failed.  The best content on the internet is discovered, consumed and then SHARED.  A competent video of you miming your instruments and vocals might not be enough to get people to give you that all important share.


You need to create a video for your music that people will be compelled to share.

You need to create visuals that will trigger a response in the viewer/listener.   You want people to watch your video and say to themselves “Wow! I need to tell someone about this” and for them to hit the share button.  Look at the amazing videos you see in your Facebook/Twitter timeline.  That is your competition, tight there. Those are the videos that are competing against yours for people’s time.


For people to share, you need your videos to have a ‘WOW’ factor.

Think about how you can create a visuals for your music that people will find

odd, outrageous, sinister, funny, scandalous, horrific, bizarre, unsettling, inventive, humorous sexy, weird

Find a videographer or film/visual arts student who can feed you ideas and go crazy.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  You can film a wild and crazy video on your smartphone if need be, you just need to find a great idea.

Perhaps the ultimate example an impactful video is Gangnam Style.  When you first saw the video, did you think ‘What the!?’ and forward the video onto a friend?  I did and that same response in hundreds of millions of people created one of the most watched videos ever.


People watched Gangnam Style and then hit the ‘share’ button. Your videos need to have the same sort of impact if you want people to share them.

For my money, you want a unique and compelling video that creates an impact, not a video that is visual wallpaper for your music.   That isn’t to say you shouldn’t film lots of videos of yourself performing your music (acoustically etc.) as part of your overall marketing strategy but for your promo videos for your single releases do something so wild that people have to sit up and take notice.

Takeaway Tip

We live in a world of amazing things, your videos should be one of them.

Further reading

The science of sharing.

Got any questions about this post or how you can better market yourself?

Twitter:  @60secondmm