How to Create a Great-Looking Music Video on a Tiny Budget

Now that you have a great-looking music video, you have to get it out there so lots of people see it. If you wrote the song, you can (and should) upload the video directly to Facebook as well as YouTube. If you didn’t write the song (it’s a cover video), you can only put it on YouTube. As of this writing, Facebook doesn’t currently have licenses in place with the publishers and are actively ripping down as many cover videos as they can and locking artists out of their Facebook Pages if they become “repeat offenders.” So be careful about putting cover videos on Facebook. This will eventually get worked out, it just hasn’t been yet, unfortunately. And indie artists and fans are suffering the most because of it.

Moving on!
Just like releasing a song or an album, before you release the music video to the world, you want to put together a release strategy to make sure it has the strongest impact. Don’t release the video until you have a great plan otherwise you’ll resort to begging your friends on Facebook to share the video. Not only will you not get the views you’re hoping for, you look desperate.

The best thing to do is to get an established blog to premiere the video. Consequence of Sound, Stereogum, Pigeons and Planes, Pitchfork, Indie Shuffle and Rolling Stone are obviously some of the biggest blogs that review music. But there are literally hundreds of others. You can do a quick search on Hype Machine [] to see which blogs review your kind of music and target them. You can submit to them via, but that’s definitely quite hit or miss.

If you have a bit of a budget, I recommend hiring a publicist who already has great relationships with the top blogs. Publicists range anywhere from $500 - $4,000 a month. But you don’t just want any publicist. You want the right publicist. How do you know if it’s the right publicist? Well, you want one who is excited about you. There are plenty of companies and publicists out there who will promise you the world. Be very wary of anyone who promises you anything. When you hire a publicist, nothing is guaranteed (unfortunately). You could pay one $4,000 a month for four months and get absolutely no press. It’s unlikely, but very possible. PR is not advertising. So, you want to hire someone who really digs your music video. Hard.

You can find a great list of publicists and PR companies in Music Connection’s great industry contacts list.

Make sure you ask potential publicists for their success history (with artists similar to you at your same level). It tells you nothing if they got a Stereogum premiere for an artist with 3 million Facebook Likes if you’re sitting at around 10,000. Can they be just as effective with a baby artist? It’s also a good idea to get a past client list and ask those artists directly how their experience was with them. Do your research.

Rally up all of your friends with decent followings and ask them to tweet and post your video the day it comes out. You’re going to have to plan this out and spell it all out for them. Send them a text the day before: “hey katie releasing our new video tomorrow. would you be down to tweet it when it comes out?” If she says yes, then send it the moment it comes out. Linking to the blog that premiered it and embedded the video is best (versus the Facebook or YouTube link).

Of course you can also run targeted Facebook and Google ads, but getting established outlets to push your video all at once is the best way to gain immediate traction. •

Ari Herstand bookARI HERSTAND is the author of the best-selling book How To Make It in the New Music Business: Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician. He is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take. See

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