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article imageJoe Brandmeier says videos can 'make or break an artist' Special

By Andrew Ellis     Aug 14, 2015 in Music
It used to be you discovered new music via the radio. But the Internet changed that. Now, discovery tends to happen via your favorite social media site which usually sends you to YouTube for a music video binge session.
Music videos have become a key part of an artist's success as we continue to become a more visual culture. Obvious statement aside, there are still a few things industry executives are trying to wrap their head around, such as how to make a video go viral.
There is no to guarantee that a video will go viral unless you're a Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga who turns their video premieres into events. But there are ways to increase the chance of something catching on.
"I believe it has to come from a place of emotion," says Joe Brandmeier, a veteran music video director and producer based out of Minneapolis, MN who's worked with everyone from Wyclef Jean to Run-DMC. He's also in midst of developing a music series that puts a new artist in the same room as one of their influences, and has them make music.
One example he brings up is a video he recently worked on for a song called "Go Out Swingin" for Minneapolis singer-songwriter Alison Scott. The song is a call to end domestic abuse, and Scott was inspired to write after hearing stories from friends who had gone through it as well various scandals involving the NFL. He also mentions Sara Bareilles' "I Choose You" from 2014.
For the video in question, Bareilles wanted her fans involved. She told them to send in their plans for proposing to their boyfriends and girlfriends, and she'd pick winners to help which would be the basis of the video.
"It's two looks at it, and it was so well done," he says. "And both of the couples looked so beautiful. It was so cool how they did it, and how they proposed."
The video itself, he says, was a fantastic use of multiple aspects key to any current artist's success: social media, fan interaction, the music video, and, last but not least, a good song. Using that creativity can lead the artist to tell an emotional story gets peoples' attention. He does understand, however, that it can be hard execute something like on a tight budget.
Then there's that ever crucial aspect of a good song. While he admits that there are times when a video can sometimes wreck a song, or actually help it in some cases, he says the song usually needs to stand alone on three separate occasions.
"The song has to be able to stand on its own on the radio, it's got to be able to be played well, and it's also gotta stand on its own as a video," he says.
While it is important that the song work well without the aid of visuals, he wonders if some of today's biggest stars would be where they are without creative videos.
"Imagine Lady Gaga without a video, without visuals," he points out.
Gaga's videos are full of creativity and emotion, but he also says artists need to be careful on the emotion aspect. It can backfire if it provokes the wrong emotion from the audience, he says, pointing out the recent Cecil the lion story as an example. It may not be a music video, but it's an image that went viral and changed a man's life.
There's no denying the impact an viral music video can have on an artist's career, especially if they're just starting out. Who knows, with some creativity and emotion viewers might just press 'share'.
"Some can make or break an artist," says Brandmeier.
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