I had an interesting conversation the other day with a prior client of mine (via Facebook) about his budget for a music video. First off, in my opinion, Facebook is not the best way to reach out to a service provider (insert service here) about working together. Anyway, let me summarize the conversation… the client didn’t want to spend X amount of dollars on a music video for his artists Mixtape because “I’m not making any money off of it”. My video services were out of his budget (which was low). I charge X dollars to shoot and edit a music video, and won’t go below my established pricing. Its not worth my time or energy.
First off, the artist (“label owner”) had a flawed approach to his artists project/mixtape. Its 2012 and your music, videos, albums, and mixtapes should be viewed as advertising and promotion for your brand. Establishing a brand is extremely important and how you sell your brand and monetize it, an entirely different topic altogether, is up to you. However, artists and labels shouldn’t look at the ROI (return on investment) of a music video, mixing, and mastering in terms of forgone album sales. To say, “I’m not making any money off this project” is admitting failure before you even release your project. Just because you are giving away a mixtape or album for free doesn’t mean you can’t profit from it. Simply view the costs associated with producing a project or shooting a video as advertising and marketing dollars for your established brand vs. dollars invested that need to be recouped directly from the project.
Lets look at this a little differently. The label owner could get his merchandise game up and print up some really dope T-Shirts for his label/brand. He could also spend the extra money and get a quality, well shot music video for the Mixtape and do some simple product placement (his awesome new T-Shirts appear on everyone in the video). At the end of the video he could use a simple call to action, i.e. “Diggin the video and Brand X T-shirts? Visit our online shop to download the Mixtape Free and order a Brand X Shirt”. By viewing the mixtape and music video as advertising for his brand T-Shirts he has all of a sudden created a way to profit from what was otherwise expensive promotion for a FREE project.
Its not rocket science! Loyal fans will buy your music and merchandise, but they need to know you exist! Advertising and marketing your brand via music and video is one method of creating a buzz or awareness. Take it a step further, have a product or service available to your fans, don’t just create awareness or a buzz. Its a dead end road. Be prepared to spend money and invest in your music and understand that you won’t always recoup the investment through album sales and downloads. Build a fanbase, do paid shows, sell merchandise and albums, etc.