As an independent artist, you may be racking your brain over the costs of your upcoming music video.
What cost makes sense? What's the minimum needed to get a high-quality final product? Pricing can vary by location, vision for the video, and who you know.
If you have a simple vision and you have a friend or family member that has the experience and a great camera, you may be able to cut costs dramatically.
If you don't have any connections and you're looking for something grand, you might need to spend a pretty penny.
Starting costs for a high-quality music video will be at least $1500-$2000. There are a lot of affordable cameras these days that can really make you look great with minimum effort and skill if you and the people you are working with are creative enough.
Some videos benefit from a lower-quality looking video, especially if you're an independent artist that has appeal because of how accessible and relatable they are.
Some people are so great with their networking, their creativity, and a simple concept that they literally don't need to spend anything on their videos and photoshoots.
If you're the type that has a lot of creative people around you with great equipment, you might be able to swing something with very little to no cost to you at all.
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A lot goes into the budget for recording a great music video. When hiring a professional, you should first consider their skill, previous work, time, and equipment as a significant fraction of the budget.
You should also consider their editing skills as a big factor in the production of your music video, as editing is one of the most time-consuming parts of making the final product.
Depending on your vision for the video, you will also want to consider location costs and hiring others to do certain things in the video for you.
If you're the type who needs a lot of pretty girls in your video, but you don't know any, that may also play a key part in the video costs.
High-end music videos include a producer, director, dancers, drones, set changes, makeup artists, and more. If you want your music video to look like you're rich and famous already, you will be looking at a budget starting closer to $50,000.
Again, knowing a lot of creatives can dramatically decrease the cost. You also don't want to miss out on considering the marketing costs of your music video.
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Most independent artists spend somewhere between $1000 and $20,000 on their music videos. More successful indie artists may spend close to $50,000 for certain videos with intense concepts and then spend significantly less for most of their other releases.
An example of an affordable music video from a very popular artist, Macklemore, an independent rapper who blew up pretty quickly in the early 2010s, had a budget of $5000 for his video "Thrift Shop". This is what many folks like to call a shoestring budget.
Costs for celebrity music videos can get pretty ridiculous, as you can imagine.
Their budgets start closer to $100,000 and can range all the way up to the millions. "Scream" by Michael and Janet Jackson was a seven-million-dollar project. Crazy, right?
The costs were really outrageous back in the 80s and 90s especially, but they have died down some thanks to the advancements of affordable technology and increased CGI effects in the more recent decades.
The music video for Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's hit single "WAP" for example, was very close to 1 million dollars.
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Determine the key elements and visuals that are essential for your music video and focus your budget on those aspects. Trim down unnecessary expenses and allocate your resources strategically.
Tap into your network of creative friends, acquaintances, or fellow artists who may have the skills and equipment to contribute to your music video. Collaboration can help reduce costs and create a sense of community.
Consider taking a do-it-yourself approach for certain aspects of the music video production. Learn basic video editing techniques, explore affordable equipment options, and experiment with creative solutions that you can handle independently.
Look for free or low-cost locations that align with your vision. Public spaces, friends' houses, or unique outdoor settings can provide interesting backdrops without the need for expensive permits or rental fees.
Remember that a compelling storyline or concept can elevate your music video, especially if you're on a budget and can't do a lot visually.
Invest time and effort into crafting a powerful narrative or visual concept that engages viewers and leaves a lasting impact.
Remember, while a larger budget can provide more resources and production value, creativity, innovation, and a strong vision can often make a significant impact, even with limited resources.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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