In the age of streaming, releasing singles regularly is essential for keeping your fans engaged. There are many different marketing strategies that can be used to release a single, but a surefire way to promote your brand and reach new audiences is to make a simple, but unique lyric video.
Well for one thing, videos combine both your audio and visual aesthetics, and so they can be doubly used to offer your audience something to watch, as well as something to put on in the background. But there are so many more reasons why. Let’s dive a bit deeper into three of them, and then I can tell you how to make your lyric videos more engaging.
1. Lyric videos are great social media content
Lyric videos are a great way to tease the big release to come! Not only do they spread the word about your album, EP, or your project in general, but you’ll get your most engaged fans and followers to start memorizing the lyrics to your song right away.
You can even make a big splash by posting short excerpts of the lyrics to build the anticipation. This will not only be more visually engaging for your fans, but it will also be a great teaser to hear the rest of the song!
Social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook are flooded with posts and links everyday from musicians that say, “Hey, I have a new song everyone, check it out!” This is a way to cut through the noise, and get people talking about not only your track, but your story.
2. Lyric videos create engagement
Okay let’s talk a bit more about the way people engage with lyrics.
Fans love reading lyrics of a song they like, and they appreciate the extra effort of presenting them in a video along with the song (as opposed to simply posting them on a blog or somewhere else).
Lyrics allow fans and listeners to understand your point of view and your narrative a little bit better with every new song, and that’s worth its weight in gold in terms of engaging people in a meaningful, lasting way.
When shared on Facebook or YouTube, people also love commenting under lyric videos—they can tag their friends to check it out, pull out certain quotes and share them, and if you’re lucky, discuss the meaning of the words in an open forum. In other words, your lyric video gives you that extra chance to create some buzz around your song where you normally might not have had you solely released an audio track.
3. Lyric videos are super easy to make and require very minimal budget
While most music videos take time to plan, schedule, shoot, and likely require a considerable budget to make, lyric videos are easy to make and they have relatively no cost whatsoever!
You can easily create yours in iMovie or if you are a bit savvier with editing, using Premiere, Final Cut Pro or even After Effects. I personally create most of my lyric videos on iMovie, and it’s totally fine for the job. I think with the right visual ideas behind the text, and a drop of creativity, you can create a professional looking video no matter which software you employ.
Since we’re talking about how to create an interesting and professional looking lyric video, here are some tips for making it great, straight from my own experience!
Learn more: Creating a good lyric video for less than $10
Brainstorm ideas beforehand
What I like to do before making any lyric video is spend time brainstorming the concept of the song. I’ll then try to see if anyone has any lyric videos with a similar concept. When you’re looking for a concept for your lyric video, it should be simple, beautiful, and relevant to the song.
A few months ago, as I was preparing for the release of my EP, Migrante, I was starting to hunt for ideas as I was planning the lyric video for the first single “Canção do Pássaro (Song of the Bird).” It seems like an obvious visual concept was right in front of me, but I just couldn’t find a style that I was happy with.
In the end, I circled back to one of the first thoughts that came to me and I decided to use the front and back cover artwork as my still shot, with a very slow Ken Burns zoom effect. It was simple, yet effective. But sometimes you have to think a lot before getting to a simple solution!
Find stock videos and photos to bring your video to life
Next, after you’ve identified your concept, I would suggest using some keywords to express your vision about the video. You can search royalty free stock videos (and still photos) using these keywords—I highly recommend sites like Pexels and Unsplash, both are excellent resources for images to incorporate into your lyric video.
For another of my songs, “Con Ella,” I wanted to create a video that was abstract and visually emotive as the song is a composition of a romantic poem by Pablo Neruda. I started doing research around keywords like “abstract,” searching through hundreds of royalty free stock, and I was lucky to find a couple of different videos that I felt constructed the right kind of emotional narrative.
Check it out here:
Of course, if you’re skilled with a camera—or have a small budget to pay a friend—you can easily go out and shoot your own stock video material. Waves crashing, slow motion crowds in the streets, light poking through the trees in a forest, wind brushing past window curtains; anything you’ve got in your mind you can go out and shoot!
Decide on your software, and practice using it
One of my favorite things about lyric videos, as opposed to something more complicated, is that they take relatively no editing. As long as you have a good, simple visual idea, you just need to know the basics of your editing software to accomplish the task at hand.
I did both videos in iMovie and in total took me no more than 2 or 3 hours in total.
But here’s the thing, lyric videos are also great practice for deepening your training in your editing software for later use. It’s the best of both worlds: a chance to get your music heard by new fans, and a chance to practice your video chops in preparation for more engaging content later!
As a side note, if your songs are not sung in English, which in my case they weren’t, you can definitely use the subtitle feature on YouTube, and stay within your linguistic comfort zone. That way, listeners who do not speak these languages can also easily follow these songs and enjoy the video too!
If you’ve never made a lyric video before, I highly encourage you to do so, because firstly, it’s not that complicated, and it pushes us musicians to think more visually about the music we make.
What kind of image does your song create for your listeners? Or rather, what kind of visual experience do you want to create in people’s minds. I think these are very useful questions to think about in terms of your art.
For creating an effective lyric video, the key is to come up with a simple, visually interesting and fitting concept to your song. If you ever get stuck with finding a concept, circle back to your album art, or better yet, look to your lyrics. All the answers are right in front of you.
Alper Tuzcu is a composer, guitarist, and a producer. His newest EP “Imagina” will be released by Palma Records on 29 May 2020, and inspired by the music of different cultures. An alumni of Berklee College of Music, he’s also a touring musician and educator. Check out his music on Spotify.
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