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5 common pitfalls to avoid when commissioning videos & visuals

Creating music videos, design and photography is an incredibly important job in any release promo campaign. Great content is vital, and with music video production in particular being the most costly line item of the campaign budget – not to mention quite time-consuming, the music video experience can be quite disastrous if things go wrong. This article and our service aim to help you get the best music video, photography and design possible, every time – plus we’ll share a great discount for a contract…

Here at Radar we look for promising new creatives worldwide and connect them to labels, managers and artists. Radar is a free service for commissioners – we make our money through charging creatives a monthly subscription.

We’ve helped thousands of commissioners, from major labels to brand new up and coming artists and here we hope to help focus on success and avoid common pitfalls.

 

1. Write a good brief and set a good budget

  • The music video, design or photography should be consistent with the artists’ look and feel; give guidelines about what you mean by your look and feel.
  • ‘Open to all ideas’ isn’t as helpful as you’d think. Give creatives parameters to work within, share your likes and dislikes with them. Give examples of other content you like and say why you like it.
  • The opposite – giving creatives a shot-by-shot description of what you’d like – is unlikely to be successful either. Creatives by nature will want the opportunity to express their own creativity.
  • A good brief will strike a balance between making it broadly clear what kind of content is going to make you happy, and giving the right creative enough room to contribute their own expertise and creativity.
  • Spend time preparing your budget – there’s no such thing as the ‘right’ budget.
  • If using Radar, you have to state the budget up front, as part of the brief. As over-runs on budget are a common feature of music video production, we have a valuable feature to deal with that – fixed budgets. Commissioners have to agree they will pay the budget stated if they commission – and equally, creatives agree they will make the content they pitch, for the budget agreed.
  • Bigger budgets attract more of the better creatives.
  • You can indicate you’re willing to release more budget for the right ideas – this encourages creatives to pitch on spec for a bigger budget.

 

2. Shortlisting creatives and pitches

Analysis and research are a critical part of shortlisting a fantastic creative.

  • Is the pitch well-presented and written, does it give you a realistic and clear picture of what you can expect to see in the video, design or photography? Does the idea seem achievable within your budget?
  • Past work is the single best indicator of the quality and type of content you’re likely to get with this creative. What is their other work like? If they are a director can you see complete videos? Don’t rely on reels – it’s easy to edit excerpts from average videos into a good-looking reel. All Radar pitches contain a link to the creative’s profile, where you can see creatives’ work.
  • Check the creative’s Radar profile for reviews (this is a new feature, so don’t be put off if creatives don’t have many/any yet) or contact the creative and ask for people you can speak to.
  • Social proof. Do all the website and social links in the creative’s Radar profile work? Are there any weird gaps in their story? eg they say they’ve made 5 music videos but you can only see 2.
  • Beware of creatives offering to work for less than the budget to get the work – it might encourage you to overlook other issues you might later decide are important after all.
  • How do you feel about working with these people? Ability – can they be clear about how they’ll create the content, or are they a bit defensive or obfuscating? Attitude – are they polite and responsive? Or a bit arrogant, defensive or smarmy? If the creative is active on social media, do they talk like someone you want to work with?

3. Storyboarding

  • Being able to see a preview is one of the two most useful tools you need as a commissioner, particularly for commissioning video. It will give you a way to better understand what your prospective creative is planning and will give you essential insight into how the finished content will look.
  • As you’re still shortlisting at this stage, it’s not fair to ask for too much detail from the creative – but you do need enough information to build a competent picture of what the content might be with this person. (nb, It is fair to ask for more detailed storyboards or shotlists as soon as you have commissioned a creative)

 

4. Contracting

A contract is the other most important commissioning tool at your disposal. A good contract will take you through all of the below issues and more:

  • storyboarding/shotlisting.
  • sign off/ approval on casting, not forgetting dancers – check dancers’ credentials.
  • rights ownership.
  • delivery date.
  • We recommend 50% up front and the rest on delivery. Never pay 100% up front. Ask creatives during shortlisting how they are planning to cover the 50% costs which won’t be paid until you get the finished content.
  • approval schedule (often tied into cashflow). Clarify what you can expect at each point, eg first cut, rough cut, fine cut, delivery (you don’t need all these stages – discuss with your creative).
  • production insurance.
  • kill fees. These aren’t necessary, but you could agree to make a payment less that the total budget to finish the relationship if you’re not happy with the quality of the content by a certain point in the schedule.

5. Delivery and Production

The discussion and agreement you’ll have had when setting up your contract will act as a confident guide, taking you through the actual making and delivery of the content.

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a contract. If we ever hear about things going wrong with a commission, invariably it’s because they have not used a contract for whatever reason (“it was such a low budget it didn’t seem worth it”, “we got on really well at the beginning” etc etc). Make your life easy – use a contract!

Nb – if you’re in the UK, here’s a contract for £25 for music video, courtesy of Radar and via respected media production lawyers Wiggin. Go to http://www.thewidget.co.uk/m-document-sets/independent-record-label/

At this URL, login and choose the Video Production Contract at the bottom. When you’re given the option to apply the discount code, use 1PY3WQYC for your special Radar discount.

 

Summary

This guide will help you avoid the more obvious problems of commissioning content. It can protect you from commissioning creatives with a bad track record, commissioning ideas you’re not a fan of, and ultimately protect you from losing your money.

You’ll notice we recommend you spend time researching and briefing – possibly more time than you were expecting. Take your time, ask for the storyboard, agree a good contract and with a fair wind, you should all end up happy.

 

This post is brought to you by Radar Creatives. Radar is the biggest & best creative directory of filmmakers, designers & photographers for music marketers worldwide.

Want to post a brief for your next video (or to find a designer or a photographer? We’d love to hear from you – our service is free, no fee, no %!
Post your brief here radarmusicvideos.com/post-a-brief or contact Heather@radarmusicvideos.com

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Photo studio

10 Blogs That Will Publish Your Release Visuals

One of the main reasons for creating great visual content to go hand in hand with your music release is to land editorial coverage with influential music press, right? But don’t forget the creativity press!

Below is a list of blogs who will feature music videos, design, animation and photography just because the visual content is great. These blogs don’t care about music genres, they care about creativity and artfulness!

Some of them have vast numbers of readers, so the chance of picking up more fans is a foregone conclusion. Plus features with these blogs will boost your credibility sky high, giving you more great things to talk about on your socials.

1. Video of the Day
“The daily awards site for video content creators”
Submit is bottom of the about page
Twitter 1.6k
Facebook 3.5k

2. Booooooom TV
A daily selection of music video, short films alongside photography and design spotlights.
Submit is top right hand of homepage
Twitter 81.6k
Instagram 143k

3. It’s Nice That
“championing the most exciting and engaging work online”
Submit is in the footer menu
Twitter 210k
Instagram 411k

boom-tv-music-video

4. Creative Review
‘The best in creativity’
Submit is at the bottom of the contact page
Twitter 2,07m
Instagram 108k
Facebook 142k

5. Lost At E Minor
“inspiring art, photography, music, and more”
Submit via the contact page
Twitter 26.6k
Instagram 6k
Facebook 512k

6. PromoNews.tv
‘The latest, best and most inspiring music videos every day’
Submit is top right of home page
Twitter 6.5k
Facebook 5.4k

7. Short Of The Week
‘The most innovative stories’
Submit links on the home page
Twitter 24.3k
Facebook 74.5k

nowness

8. Nowness
‘The best in global arts & culture’
Submit via ‘Become a contributor’ in the hamburger menu
Twitter 154k
Instagram 553k
Facebook 758k

9. Juxtapoz
‘Documents the creative life’
Submit via ‘contact us’.
Twitter 163k
Instagram 972k
Facebook 967k

10. VideoStatic
Create a free account to make the submit button appear!
Twitter 9.7k
Facebook 8.2k

 

This post is brought to you by Radar Creatives. Radar is the biggest & best creative directory of filmmakers, designers & photographers for music marketers worldwide.

Want to post a brief for your next video (or to find a designer or a photographer? We’d love to hear from you – our service is free, no fee, no %!
Post your brief here radarmusicvideos.com/post-a-brief or contact Heather@radarmusicvideos.com

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Five must-have content assets for your next single release

As an artist or band working in the music industry, you are certain to need a lot of content to keep your marketing campaign alive these days. Leading content commissioning platform Radar Creatives share their five must-have assets you’ll need to make a success of your next single campaign.

1. Video
Your music video should be the centre-piece of your campaign and can be used to gain exclusive premieres, an increased reach on your socials and numerous placements on blogs. Aside from this main video, you may wish to consider a lyric video and a live session video as these assets will help your campaign run for longer with a more effective reach. Aside from them being more opportunities for premieres and blog placements, they are also great content to share on your social channels as video is favoured in many of the algorithms.

 

2. Photos
From promo shots to live photography, photos are fantastic and necessary content for your marketing campaigns. When it comes to promo photos, think of eye-catching ideas for your concept. Music blogs receive hundreds to thousands of emails a day and having photos that stand out is often cited as the reason for why they choose to feature an act. Avoid shooting in black and white. We know it can look amazing, but print press ALWAYS ask for colour! So ask your photographer for some black and white versions for your socials – but never lose your full colour options because you’ll be throwing your money down the drain and your PR will not be impressed. Aside from these more official shots, it might be worth capturing 360 photos when in the studio or back stage pre-show too, as this content is a real asset for your social channels.

3. Single art
Whilst we may now live in a digital world where physical sales are limited, visuals around your music are actually more important than ever. Great single art will open more doors for your campaign not just in music press but creative press too. Plus it is more visually stunning content for social channels such as Instagram.

radar-creatives-cover-art

 

4. Social design
Making sure you have eye catching social covers and profiles is something that can often be forgotten about in your release campaign. By creating a few exciting social covers, you can build excitement and momentum ahead of your release and show yourself to be a professional and credible artist.

5. Gifs
A must for your social media, the gif. From promoting your single release to a live show ahead of release, gifs are a fun way to engage with your fan-base.

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So there it is – our 5 must-have content assets you’ll need for your next release. Want to commission the best creatives to help you achieve great results in your next campaign? Browse Radar’s talented creatives now: radarmusicvideos.com/creatives

This post is brought to you by Radar Creatives. Radar is the biggest & best creative directory of filmmakers, designers & photographers for music marketers worldwide.
Want to post a brief for your next video (or to find a designer or a photographer? We’d love to hear from you – our service is free, no fee, no %!
Post your brief here radarmusicvideos.com/post-a-brief or contact Heather@radarmusicvideos.com

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Kimberly A

Introducing the first Scout Takeover

As you all well know, our worldwide network of Scouts is one of the most important parts of Spinnup. Without them we’d be… well we’d be like every other distribution service out there. Our Scouts volunteer their time to Spinnup, lending their ears and expertise to our artists giving them feedback to help them improve as a musician and navigate the industry. But what else do they do outside of Spinnup? What music do they listen to in their own headphones, what do they do for fun?

To answer all of this and more we’re introducing the Scout Takeover, where one Scout will ‘take over’ our Spotify and Instagram for a full month. First up is one of our new Scouts from Sweden, Kimberly! As a Scout for Swedish artists, Kimberly is also one of special International Scouts which means she is pushed releases from artists all over the world in countries that don’t have their own local Scout team.

But that’s just one part of what she does… read our interview with Kimberly below and make sure to follow her Scout Takeover playlist to see what tracks she is loving right now, which will be updated each week for the whole of August. Who knows, she might just come across your release to add to her playlist. She’ll also be taking over our Instagram adding photos and stories from her summer escapades!

 

Spinnup: Hi Kimberly, thanks for being our first scout to ‘takeover’! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Kimberly: For as long as I can remember music has always been a part of who I am. During my younger years, I competed in song contests and performed at every social event I could. From the age of four, I was constantly engaged in activities where singing and dancing played a big part. Ever since music has always been my greatest interest and passion.

Now that I’m a grown up (kind of) I have been working towards getting into the PR in the industry, so I chose to study media and communication science; to get the development I need to break into the field.

Outside of the time I put in being a Scout (of course!), I love hanging out with my friends and family here in Sweden. But at almost all times you will always see me with my headphones on!

S: How long have you been a Spinnup Scout?

K: I joined the Scout team in May of this year, but  already I have stumbled upon a lot of great music and cool artists the world needs to hear! Make sure you check out Isak Danielson, Leo The Kid and Mos Isley!

S: What made you want to be a Scout?

K: Finding new sounds and unique artists is something I put a lot of effort into and something I truly enjoy doing. But I also wanted to find a way to do this and incorporate my existing experience and skills in music and PR to help artists reach their dreams!

S: What’s your favourite track you’ve come across on Spinnup so far?

K: That’s a tough one, but I would have to say ”Ingen som” by MIKI. It’s currently on the Scout Picks playlist on Spotify.

S: What’s your favourite genre of music?

K: Oh that’s tough – every kind of music that grabs my attention from the get-go really! Whether it’s funky rhythms or a soulful voice.

S: What kind of tunes can we expect to hear on your playlist this month?

K: It will be eclectic for sure. Everything from smoky soul, rhythm & blues through to electronic poppin’ sounds and Hip-Hop. Tunes that will definitely make your heart and body feel some sort of way. Basically anything that I like!

S: What else will you be up to during your Scout Takeover?

K: I will be updating my Scout Takeover playlist each week for the month of August, but you will also get to follow me on Spinnup’s Instagram. You will be joining me when I visit Way Out West festival in Gothenburg (my favourite Swedish festival), the school’s kick-off and perhaps get a glimpse of my own music project!

Make sure you listen to Kimberly’s Scout Takeover playlist, and follow Spinnup on Instagram to see what else she gets up to during her Scout Takeover!

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Promote_your_music

The Best Music Promotion Apps

This article originally appeared on the Rotor Videos blog

Music promotion is a tough gig. How do you cut through the noise and get your name out there? It’s not easy but it’s certainly not impossible. There are a few vital apps out there that can get you noticed. Here’s some of the best music promotion apps every up-and-coming artist needs.

Get Your Music Noticed

YouTube

Let’s start obvious. Download YouTube and manage your channel from your phone. Make sure you keep up to date with fans. Keep your eye on the comments section and interact with users.

Vimeo

Why only have a YouTube channel? Get yourself on Vimeo!

SoundCloud

Is your music on SoundCloud yet? This is pretty vital for every music creator. With a smart tagging system and categorisation, your music is open to over 250 million mobile users.

Audiomack

Similar to SoundCloud, Audiomack allows artists to share their music on a fan-friendly platform. The site lets artists measure the reach of their music with trend-based rankings. The analytics are simple and hugely beneficial. Aspire to feature on the ‘What’s Trending’ section, this shows fans where the hottest current music is.

Bandcamp

It certainly has a niche following but Bandcamp is an ideal platform for independent artists. It’s a simple opportunity for fans to connect with artists and show their support. It’s not easy to get traction on Bandcamp but once you do, you’ll see a massive surge in popularity.

Spotify

Spotify has transformed the music streaming genre. If a casual fan can’t find your music on Spotify, you can quickly fade into obscurity. Create a release on Spinnup to get your tracks on Spotify in a matter of days!

ReverbNation

ReverbNation is a great platform for any up and coming artist. Create a sleek mobile friendly site, get unbiased fan feedback on your music, promote your gigs and engage fans with sleek emails. It’s a great one-stop-shop for music promotion.

Last.fm

Add your music to Last.fm and the site will place your tracks on playlists with bands your fans love. This is huge for boosting your reputation among new listeners.

Get social

UStream

Connect with fans directly by live chats and personal, real-time conversations. UStream allows you to broadcast videos to anyone, anywhere.

SoundTracking

Dubbed the ‘Instagram for songs’, SoundTracking allows users to share the songs they’re currently listening to. With a strong community spirit, this is an app you should be taking advantage of.

BlueJay Music

BlueJay is a social radio app that allows users to stream live playlists to users around the world. Every week artists host playlist sessions on the app opening the airwaves to new listeners. Get yourself registered as an artist and start sharing your music.

Reddit (/r/music)

Reddit is a platform that sets the precedent for content to go viral. The content sharing community is crucial to the popularity of internet trends. This grassroots community is a great place to build a following. Keep your eyes glued to the /r/music subreddit, this will give you a solid understanding of current trends and how to infiltrate the industry. It’s also worth creating your own vanity subreddit – an ideal place for users to find your tracks.

Instagram

Anyone who’s anyone is on Instagram. It gives fans a snapshot of your life. Share regular updates, reach out to new fans and start creating an online community. The better you capitalise on the power of Instagram, the larger your fanbase will grow.

Twitter

Similar to Instagram, Twitter is crucial for influencers. Directly speak to new fans while reaching countless others with your music. Make use of high value hashtags to get the most reach. Tools like Hashtagify will help you with this.

Facebook

Another important place to grow your collection of fans. Share your music and regular updates with those who care about your work. Connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts in your artist app to track and grow your fanbase.

Buffer / Hootsuite

Keeping your social media platforms updated regularly can be a job in itself. Sometimes it’s just not possible to send live tweets or updates. Buffer and Hootsuite allow users to schedule social media posts in advance. Ideal for those with a busy lifestyle.

Gramblr

Gramblr is a scheduling tool for Instagram. It lets you streamline the upload process and manage your account from a desktop.

Make Some Money

iTunes

If a fan is devoted, they’ll buy your music. Get your tunes on iTunes as soon as you possibly can, get started here.

Google Play

Google Play may not be the most popular place to buy music but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you want fans to buy your tunes, ensure they can find you wherever they look.

Big Cartel

Get on the merchandise bandwagon. It’s a huge opportunity to build a brand and even make a bit of money on the side too. Big Cartel offers a simple-to-use online store that can be customised to your style. It’s inexpensive and an ideal place to start.

Bandsintown

Got an event coming up? Reach more fans and sell more tickets with Bandsintown. This live music platform lets you promote tickets, engage with fans, share tour trailers and gather insights. Ideal for your upcoming gigs.

SongKick

Songkick is the world’s largest artist ticketing platform and leading concert discovery service. Take control of the fan ticketing experience and ensure you sell more tickets globally.

Create Seamless Music Videos

Got a great tune but not sure where to begin with creating a video? We can help. Our inexpensive, seamless music video creation tools let you craft professional quality vids to ensure your tracks get noticed. Find out more about how it works here.

 

Diarmuid Moloney is CEO of Rotor Videos, an innovative new platform for creating unique and inexpensive music videos. Login to your artist app and go to the offers page for a special discount on Rotor Videos projects, exclusive for Spinnup artists!

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Quiz: How well do you know Spinnup?

What do you do when it’s Thursday afternoon and you want to give some free stuff away? Waste an hour putting together an interactive quiz to see who knows Spinnup the best, of course.

Below are 10 questions about Spinnup that will test your skillz and knowledge – we think they’re super easy, but hey that’s just us. Some of the answers you’ll know like that *clicks fingers*, and others you may need to head to our website or login to your artist account to find.

We’ve got a free single code for everyone who gets top of the class (read: 10/10 score), just email blog@spinnup.com with a screenshot of your shining achievement and we’ll send it over!

*Your free single code must be redeemed by August 31, 2017 and is valid for one free year of distribution. Code can only be used once per user.

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DP

How to get the attention of a Scout (and work with them!)

One of the main goals of our Spinnup artists is the get the attention of the Scouts, and receive their valuable feedback. But what’s the best way to get the attention of a Scout? And how can you go one step further and actually get to work with a Scout, on their own music?

David

Spinnup Germany Scout David took some time out of his busy schedule as a singer-songwriter-producer-Scout to talk to us about his experiences as a Scout, including his work with German signing Chris Brenner, and how he invited a Spinnup artist he discovered to remix one of this own tracks! He also gives us his advice for getting the attention of a Scout – take note artists! It could be just what you need to take that next step.

Spinnup: Hi David, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Let’s start with you telling us a a bit about yourself

DP: I’m a full time songwriter/producer and artist. Most of the time you can find me in our studios at Tinseltown Music in Cologne, Germany. I don’t think of making music as a job, so it’s difficult to say what i’m doing in my spare time… but yeah, i like concerts, sports and watching football games a lot and tv series. I try not to overboard watching, which isn’t easy… I think I might have an addiction!

S: How long have you been a Spinnup Scout?

DP: About a year

S: How did you get into being a Scout?

DP: I worked with a German artist called Chris Brenner on a few tracks. He told me about his experience with Spinnup, and it sounded really interesting. In Chris’ case his experience with Spinnup resulted in him being signed by Universal Music Germany. To me this wasn’t a surprise because he’s so talented.

I visited the Spinnup site and contacted Karl (Germany’s Country Manager). We talked about music and Spinnup and it seemed like a good fit, so Karl invited me to be a Scout.

As a songwriter, producer and music-lover it is very, very interesting for me to get in touch with artists at an early stage of their careers  and to be able to offer them some help. Sometimes this is just by giving feedback, or introducing them to some industry contacts I know, other times I help out on their songwriting or production. In a few cases we have started working together regularly, or I have signed them to my own record label, Escape Artists Records.

S: Who is the best artist you’ve come across on Spinnup?

DP: I can’t choose who has been the best, there is so much good music and so many highly talented people out there. But i’ve got to say that I was very impressed with the first tracks I heard from Chris Brenner (of course), Romar and MOGUL. Right now I’m working with a German rap group called Yago (formerly named Vincent Green). I discovered them  a few weeks after I started scouting for Spinnup, and it worked out so well, that we decided to work on their music together. Their first single will be released on the 4th of August, I’m really proud of the results!

S: You also worked with MOGUL, how did he get your attention?

DP: MOGUL pitched me a song, ‘Making My World‘ and it is absolutely great. We emailed and talked a bit about music, he showed me a few more tracks, and as I released my own record a few month ago i asked him to do a remix… and lucky me, he did! And he did it in his own way, the remix feels totally different to the original track and it’s absolutely beautiful to hear how creative he worked on the track and how he felt it.

S: What do you think is the best way for Spinnup artists to get a Scout’s attention?

DP: It depends, but I think what’s important is to read the Scout’s profile and only push songs when you think, “yes, this fits”. Don’t push a rock song to Scouts who are only looking for Hip Hop or Electro, it just makes no sense.

But the best way to get attention is of course, the music. When you think it’s time to show your track to the world and you did the best you can, in songwriting and production, and you put your heart and soul into it… I think us Scouts will recognise it. Also it’s important to have a good Spinnup artist profile, with your social media links, pictures, videos – everything that helps to get to know you a little bit better!

For me personally, it makes me happy to read a personal message when you push me your song. It makes it so much easier for me to reply when I know what you are expecting from me and my feedback.

Get some tips on how to improve your artist profile & get noticed by the Scouts!

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milwin blog

How did Milwin get signed to Universal?

A couple of weeks ago we announced our new signing Milwin, but we thought it was about time we got to know him a little better, and find out just how he came to be signed.

Milwin had been a Spinnup artist for a few years, even since the release of his first single ‘Coming After You‘ in 2015.  After releasing a few more singles the Swedish Spinnup team discovered hMilwin’s latest track ‘Follow Your Heart’ and they introduced his songs to the A&Rs at Universal Music Sweden. Polydor saw potential in the 20-year old music producer, and the whole thing ended with a signing to Polydor Sweden! He re-released his single “Follow You Heart” with Polydor -it’s a great summer-banger that we hope you haven’t missed out on yet!

You can stream or buy the track it here!

Since then, we’ve gotten to know Milwin better, and now he has also given YOU a chance to get to know him too! Watch the video below to listen to his story behind ‘Follow Your Heart, his musical history, and don’t worry, he also has some advice for Spinnup artists who are serious about wanting to get discovered and signed!

Want to hear what Milwin is listening to right now? Check out his Favourites playlist on Spotify, and don’t forgot you can create your own artist playlists on Spotify – all you need is a verified page! Read our blog post here on getting verified on Spotify to find out how.

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