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Want Your Music Vid to Go Viral?

Learn from the mistakes as well as the success stories –says Mister Tim

I want to tell you the parable of the garage band.

I know someone (who shall remain anonymous) who made a video with his band.

They stated publicly and confidently that the video was going to go viral, they were going to sign a record deal, and it was their ticket to fame and fortune.

The video got a couple hundred views, made no noise, the band got frustrated and broke up.

This is a true story and not exaggerated.

Luckily, you can do what they did not: learn from their mistakes.

Avoid These Assumptions

Their idea of “how things work” was simply, blatantly, completely erroneous.

They had seen videos that were popular and assumed it was an easy path for them: make a video, put it up, WE’RE FAMOUS.

Unless you’re falling off a skateboard, viral videos just don’t work that way.

They unfortunately had the same attitude about everything they did: they didn’t practice very hard or very often; they constantly grumbled that they weren’t getting more shows and selling more merchandise; they even avoided the work of loading and unloading gear, instead passing the responsibilities to others.

They somehow missed the meaning of the word “work.”

The Kind of Work that Pays Off

Not just did they put little work into their music, they did not read books or articles, they didn’t go to music conferences, they didn’t even ask other successful musicians about their experiences when they had the chance.

With how easy it is to find information and advice online it is simply inexcusable for any motivated artist to be ignorant about the basics of their art.

They had no idea how hard successful internet celebrities work:

How many videos they put out. How carefully they craft their songs, their videos, their lighting, their editing, and their marketing campaigns.

The Not So Secret Secret

Big successes work and they work hard.

Big successes are not just talented, they have a unique talent for enduring grueling hours, long tours, early mornings and late nights, and constant criticism.

Not that hard work is a guarantee for success: it’s not.

There are plenty of extremely hard-working mega-talents that don’t break through.

And yes, there are no-talent flash-in-the-pan one-hit-wonders that get famous. But do you really want to be famous just for the fame? Do you really want to be rich just to have money? Or do you actually have some meaning, some message you want to share with the world?

Because if you do, you don’t need to famous or rich to make a difference in the world.

The End of the Parable

The band’s last mistake was: they didn’t learn from any of their mistakes.

They made a mediocre video. It shouldn’t have been the end of the world.

Make another. Watch big viral videos and steal some tricks and techniques. Improve your craft. Try, try again.

They gave up. Their failures that could have been stepping stones to improvement instead were boulders that crushed them.

EVERYONE fails. The smart ones turn their failures to their benefit.

If you’re doing it right, then failure=success.

My Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Tommy Henthorne – Delicate (cover)

Clean, direct playing and singing. Sounds effortless and conversational and warm and friendly. Love it. Just because it * sounds * effortless doesn’t mean it is: you’re letting some of the notes get away from you: choruses and ends of phrases you’ve got to maintain the pitch and keep energy up.

Martin van Honor – A Thousand Miles (cover)

Energy! Enthusiasm! Personality! Fun to watch and listen to! You’ve got a great thing going here. I think it would be to your advantage to film your videos standing up so you can move more. You use your breathy voice tone to your advantage, but I wonder if you worked on a cleaner, clearer ‘legit’ vocal tone that you could use to contrast? Especially at the very end soft parts it sounded a little labored, a cleaner tone could make a nice contrast.

Tommy Edwards – Hometown Glory (cover)

Great seeds of talent. Sound grasp of your instruments (guitar and voice). You’ve got a big voice that could be one of your best assets. I suggest you take some formal voice lessons (or continue if you are currently in lessons). Even a few lessons will be like cross-training for sports: you’ll build strength and skill that will help many aspects of your performance. Train that big voice and the sky is the limit!

-Mister Tim

If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique coaching feedback from Mister Tim for the next 8 weeks. You can sign up now.sign up now

Mister Tim is a published composer, award-winning recording artist,and in-demand performer, teacher & performance coach. In addition to an active performing and touring schedule with his his solo vocal live-looping/beatbox shows, Mister Tim sings with Boulder, CO-based Celtic Rock band Delilah’s Revenge and 2012 BOSS Loop Station World Championship finalist Vox Machina, manages the… READ MORE

  • Great article!! I agree with I think everything said here. I don’t get TONS of views with my YT but considering I don’t fake my numbers or leech, it’s respectable enough. I have learned from mistakes, I do make changes, I watch and see how others are doing it..you can always learn and make better. I think the other thing to remind myself of is that there are how many gazillion videos on the web? Getting 1 video to go viral has got to be like being struck by lightening, repeatedly. I also think having a solid fan base is as important.

  • Great advice! I feel the viral video is icing on the cake, not the main ingredient. Though fake video views has over saturated the web with less talent and more hype than anything, it will be interesting to see how smart the masses are when receiving a new artist who supposedly has a larger following than reality manifests. What’s the middle ground? Do you pay for views, work at building a real dedicated fan base or both?