You Tube - Friend or Foe?
We have all seen the slick professional video accompaniment to our popular songs. In fact with the advent of You Tube it has almost become obligatory for artists to produce a visual product to help promote their audio offerings.
But, do they always help? I have no doubt that pop or hip hop artists may find their tunes enhanced by the ability of their audience to see as well as hear them. The showcase video has almost become a statement of success when incorporating high tech imagery and effects and helps them relate to their by and large young audience.
However, in the world of folk, blues and roots where the image lies in the song and the music speaks for itself, what part should video play there?
The short answer I guess is simply in promotion and marketing of the band and song.
But extreme care needs to be taken.
As a radio presenter I often receive links to You Tube video sent to me by well meaning artists out to promote their latest song. A friend who is a concert promoter is almost swamped with links to You Tube showing artists and in particular bands performing at gigs. The hope being that he will be impressed enough by their video performance to book them for a gig himself.
Does it work?
I must confess to rarely looking closely at a video in preference to listening to a song on any other media. It does no harm to send a link but audio on You Tube cannot be used on radio so if impressed some follow up work on my part is required to access a CD or audio file. I am afraid that does not always happen.
My promoter friend? well, he cites what is often the case where the You Tube video is poor in quality or filmed with lots of background noise and banter, typically on a phone in a pub or club!! and there it actually does more harm than good.
He says he can easily be turned off from making a booking simply because the artist comes across badly.
So is there any place for video in our world of folk, blues and roots?,
Should artists avoid it like the plague??
Well no it does have a part to play but it must be good!!
Like many others I thoroughly enjoy flicking through high quality concert films of favourite artists, The ones that put you in the audience, but they do need to be of a truly professional standard and capture the magic of artist and performance.
Introductions too! You tube provides a great way for fellow music fans to pass on recommendations of artists and songs, but once again, the quality needs to be top rate.
My message to artists therefore, is please take care, make sure your presentation is enhanced and not hindered by the visual. and if in doubt there is no harm in leaving that particular media format out!!!