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Lyrics Videos: Why and How to Do Them

REM's Lyric Video - Oh My Heart

REM’s Lyric Video - “Oh My Heart”

YouTube is vital for modern music promotion. As important as radio, it is the best way for artists to reach people who want to hear their music. But can you afford full professional music video production for each of your songs?

Most artists can’t afford more than one or two full videos per album, but they know that their songs have to be on YouTube to get found.

So many artists are now making “Lyric videos” to promote many (if not all) of their songs.

Get The YouTube Views Without High Production Costs

As a musician, struggling to get views for your song or video on YouTube can suck at times. Struggling to get views for a video that you invested time and money into sucks even worse. Great videos can be difficult to make and with so much choice for your fans - so many millions of other music videos they could be watching - they easily get bored of “average” videos and don’t share them with friends. This is why the lyrics video is the best of both worlds:

  1. They’re way more cost effective than a full production video
  2. Fans love them!

The second point is one that many musicians don’t realise at first - fans love lyric videos. Why? Because they love to learn the lyrics and sing along! In fact, fans tend to love Lyrics Videos so much that they sometimes get more views than the official version of a video. Don’t believe me? Start typing the name of any popular song on YouTube and you might see suggestions like this, meaning that more people are searching for “….. lyrics” than “…. official video.” Conclusion: Fans love lyrics videos!

“Lyric videos aren’t just cheaper for musicians to produce, fans often prefer them!” - Click to Tweet

How you can make great lyrics videos

1. DIY

The most popular video editing software out there is undoubtedly Windows Movie Maker which comes free as part of Microsoft Windows desktop packages.

With imagination you can create interesting videos with Movie Maker but it’s designed to be a tool for the home-user. Nonetheless you will find plenty of tutorials on how to use the software for lyrics video editing all over YouTube.

If you have a mac, you can use iMovie and find similar tutorials online. iMovie is easier to use and can make nicer videos, so pick it if you have a choice between the two.

2. Hire a Pro

Talk to a company like us to make a great quality lyrics video. Get in touch!

3. Become a Pro

For the professional look achieved by R.E.M. and Cee Lo Green you need professional editing software such as Adobe After Effects. This is a powerful editing suite which takes some getting used to, but will allow you to create slick videos you’ll be proud to post to YouTube. After Effects cost about US$1,000 and requires a computer with sufficient working memory to run efficiently. This is a big investment for independent musicians which is why you should consider joining together with other artists you know to cover the cost  and splitting the usage between you. Once again there are lots of tutorials on how to use After Effects on the web.

We’re constantly espousing the value of putting video content on YouTube since in the post-MySpace era it is the key metric of popularity online. Independent artists need to gain exposure in any way they can and the lyric video is an affordable way to do this. So, what you waiting for? If R.E.M. are doing it, shouldn’t you be too?



Josh 11:37 pm - 25th January:

Fair point about the cheap lyric bids being quite powerful but still easy to make, someones been keeping up with all the midem news…

eilish 11:07 am - 26th January:

Thanks for reading (as always) Josh!
We’ve been keeping in touch on the activity from Midem (mostly through Hypebot / MTT) but really what inspired this article was the R.E.M. activity. It’s great to see such a huge band adopting DIY practises.

Helen Austin 8:40 pm - 27th January:

I have found a few youtube videos that have taken my songs and put the lyrics up… so I’m off to do my own lyric video!!!

Thanks for the great article!! 🙂

Josh Fairhead 5:45 pm - 29th January:

Just read my post there; seems I misspelt ‘vids’ which may have been confusing. Any who I’d agree that seeing heavy weights practising DIY is great, a lot of the time their managements really good so plenty of tricks to steal from watching them. Music Think Tanks a great place for news and ideas.

Is there a way to get notified of comments/responses on you site? I only caught this one because accidentally clicked the article a second time… I’m using Chrome so perhaps the a checkbox to do that just magically disappeared?

Keep well

eilish 5:52 pm - 31st January:

you’re welcome Helen - thanks for reading!

eilish 1:11 pm - 9th February:

Hey Josh - sorry for the late reply - no we don’t have ‘follow comments’ set up on this. Sorry about that!!

Pepe 8:46 pm - 8th October:

Here is an example made with Adobe After Effects. It is my first project with After Effects, hop you like it…