Experiment with easy and interesting video ideas
Fans are hungry for new and relevant content. Here’s a set of fast and convenient video ideas you can try out—even from your phone. These lightweight video formats allow you to get more content to your fans without the effort of creating a fully-polished music video.
Simple video ideas for your music
YouTube is home for your ‘official’ music videos and in between releasing your hits, there are easy video formats that can incorporate your music too. Acoustic performances, collaborations, or even partnering with another Artist or DJ to make a remix can help boost fan engagement and help your music surface more in search results.
Lyric videos and art tracks can capture listener interest early and before ‘official’ music videos come out. Once your ‘official’ music video is published, you can push fans to the new release with cards and playlists.
Teasers and samplers can generate global excitement when announcing a single or album release—even if it’s just a 30-second preview. Remember to include the date of the release in the video description and use branding consistent with the 'official' release.
- Repurpose your music into new video formats like lyric videos and teasers.
See it in action
Tease out new singlesRebecca Black put out this 15-second teaser video of her new single to stir up excitement on her channel.
Fun video formats to try out
There are plenty of tried-and-true video genres on YouTube to give a go: unboxings (of new instruments or equipment), vlogs, etc. You can also experiment with easy and inventive video formats that give your audience an authentic look into your life without a lot of production overhead.
First, consider what is a genuine topic or video type that feels true to you? Your fans want whatever is authentic and real. While vlogging is a popular genre on YouTube, it may not be your first choice. Short on time? See if you can maximize on events you already have scheduled:
- Capture behind the scenes footage from shows. Behind the scenes videos can be taken from your mobile device and they’re an easy way to turn one piece of content into a series. You can also use them to promote your music videos, tours, albums, and more. Tip: There’s no need to script behind the scenes videos. The more authentic, the better—fans will feel like they’re right there with you when they see real, spur-of-the-moment action.
- Film a Q&A session or interview. These formats don’t require a lot of editing and you can crowdsource questions from your audience with poll cards in YouTube Studio or asking your fans to write questions in your video comments. Can you get a fan to interview you? Tip: Memorable Q&A sessions tend to have unexpected moments so don’t worry if something goes wrong or you have a loss for words. You can always edit that out later.
- Share moments from your tour. If you’re on tour, consider making a tour diary or a series of videos about your adventures. Fans love seeing inside the tour bus or what cool city you’re in next. Another option is to do a live stream (see the section below) from a mobile device!
If you’re looking for something a little less traditional, here are some creative video ideas that Artists around the world have been trying out:
- Brighten someone’s day: Consider making a video that will pay it forward. Do you have a friend or a fan who could use some cheering up? Consider going out of your way and doing something special for someone you care about (or someone you don’t know) and film it. Bonus: ‘feel good’ videos can inspire others too!
- Find a cool collaboration partner: Collaborate with someone (a fan or Artist) that is unexpected. There are a ton of performers who you could likely partner with to add a different vibe to your music. How about a Mariachi band for backup? Or teaching a local choir your chords and lyrics?
- Dance videos you produce could be a fun option, because they integrate your music and potentially reach wide international audiences without extra translation work needed. If you’re working with a low budget, try contacting a local dance troupe and see if they would be interested in the opportunity of making a video. Collaborations and cross-promotion with a dance channel are another avenue you could explore.
- Music challenges: Move over ice bucket! Use objects around your home, tour bus, or hotel room to write a new song and film it. Then challenge your musical friends or tour bandmates to do the same. If it’s convenient, you can even send the ‘instruments’ you used to them as part of the challenge. Check out the Band in a box series for more inspiration.
- Put a spin on vlogging: Vloggers talk for days about hobbies—Artists can talk days about their lyrics. Fans love to hear what inspired you to write a particular song or produce an album. Is there deep meaning behind the lyrics or were you and your bandmates just jamming one day? Sharing personal moments or fun stories can be a great way to build deeper relationships with your audience. You could start off by saying, “A lot of people don’t know this but I…”
- For something different, try shooting lightweight videos like:
- Behind the scenes
- Tour adventures
- Tailor some of the more ‘typical’ YouTube video formats to you like:
- Personal vlogs
- Dance videos using your music
See it in action
- Document your tour
Document your tourTwenty one pilots made a ten series video diary of their tour. They showed cool clips from each city and interviewed many of the people who contributed to making their tour a reality.
Make someone’s dayXavier (Fantastic Negrito) surprises a fan who tweeted at him with tickets to his local show.
Mix and match ideas that inspire youAsa from Electric Guest held a special performance at a unique location (a pie shop in Oakland) for his first boss and mentor.
Teach your fans the choreographyAnitta made a video where she teaches her audience how to do the choreography from her video.
Going Live with YouTube
Performing live music is your bread and butter. Why not set up a live broadcast via YouTube? Live streaming is a quick way to connect with your fans, and now, it’s as easy as pressing a button. You can use YouTube Live to share quick moments behind the scenes, or even stream whole performances. There’s little to no prep time and no post-production. All you need is a supported mobile device with the YouTube app installed and wifi (or a good cell connection). YouTube even alerts subscribers who opt in for notifications when you go Live. To go live, be sure you're eligible, and follow the steps outlined here.
Even though it’s produced live, the video stays on your channel and enables fans globally to watch it anytime. Some Artists have been experimenting with live streams in unusual places like roller coasters and libraries. Where could you go live?
Here are a few tips for the best live stream ever:
Before you go live...
- Promote your live stream so that fans know when to tune in!
- Double check your mobile settings. You need a data connection, battery life, and to minimize interruption, we recommend putting it in ‘Do not disturb’ mode.
- Set up your gear: Use a mic and pick a place without a lot of background noise. Stabilize your mobile device on a flat surface or use a selfie-stick—no one likes to watch wobbly video.
- Rehearse and test your equipment: Set up an unlisted stream so that you know everything will work perfectly when you’re ready to go.
- Place a sign or title card (written sign) in front of your screen when you’re ready to go live. This lets your audience know they’ve come to the right place and can be used as a placeholder in case you need to fix something before you begin.
- Manage the comments. It’s a good idea to have a friend or assistant logged in and managing the stream of comments while you perform. You can also set a time limit for how frequently comments appear by putting the comments in ‘slow mode’.
After you stream...
- The video automatically gets added to your channel.
- You can leave the live stream up on your channel, as is, or, use the trim tool (in the enhancements screen) to clip it into a highlight reel.
- Be sure to view YouTube Analytics to see how your live stream compares to your other videos. For more details on going live, check out our lesson.
- Live streaming is a fast and easy way to share an authentic moment or a performance with your fans in real-time.
- Click here for tips on how to go live.
See it in action
Live streaming in the middle of nowhereHoney County and Jam in the Van teamed up to shoot a video with YouTube live deep in the desert.