When working on a number of new projects in recent times, I am increasingly aware of the importance of great visuals in music and especially in music promotion. This visual dimension is one of those elusive obvious considerations that often gets missed by both artists and promoters.
As the old saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words”
I actually suspect that visuals may be even more impactful that that!
YouTube in promoting music
As well as using great photographs, video has become king in the world of communication. YouTube in particular is a major platform for artists and in the era of sound and vision on the move, people are far more likely to watch a short video that read an article.
YouTube actually added 500 million users between 2012 and 2017 which is an indication of how music is increasingly consumed in this way. In setting up the OUS platform we decided that video should be central on artist’s pages.
For my own band The Small Change Diaries, we decided to invest in video for the Birdman track from our second album. The video actually pre dated the La La Land movie, and interestingly had a similar wonderful dance sequence between Kier Brown and Amy Hamilton filmed in the record store. Ink Blot films did a great job
This video was a huge amount of work, but to date has attracted some good attention. As the old saying goes
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”
The Importance of using great photos
All smart artists and promoters appreciate the value of using great photographs. This often means good investment in hiring somebody who can do this professionally to get the best results. I’m constantly amazed at how many artists and promoters use really sub standard photographs on websites and in promotions.
Here are some of my favorite photographs taken by Karen Turner
Visual impact with record covers
Record companies have of course always known about the importance of a great visual image and many artists have classic album artwork. Classic covers include the Clash’s London Calling cover, The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers cover, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Andy Warhol’s famous graphic for the first Velvet Underground cover. These have become iconic images which of course work far better visually as vinyl album covers than as much smaller CD covers.
Collectable Music Visuals
Much of the work from photographers during 1960s and 1970s who took photos of classic artists is now highly collectable and a great investment. Genesis Book Publications specializes in very high quality books of such photographers. Once an artist dies the material becomes even more valuable. One example is for David Bowie’s artwork. The Speed of Life book is fully subscribed – see http://www.genesis-publications.com/book/9781905662210/speed-of-life and can now be worth 500% more than the original retail price for the 2000 limited edition run.
Original prints of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and in more recent time Bruce Springsteen are starting to be great investments. I suspect the photographers when they originally took these photos would be surprised at how sought after these items are.
The visual image for a musical artist is a key ingredient in getting attention, if you see what I mean?