Every new videographer seems to go through a phase where they shoot a lot of music videos. Some of us never quite grow out of it! It could be because there are always musicians hungry for videos, or it could be because they offer a valuable platform to experiment and push the boundaries of filming.
But you’re unlikely to make a lot of money shooting music videos, and unless you’re working for Bad Bunny, you can easily end up broke. In this video from YCImaging, they talk frankly about the pros and cons of shooting music videos and why you might want to move onto a more lucrative genre.
So what’s good about shooting music videos?
The Appeal of Music Videos: Creative Freedom
Music videos can serve as a canvas for freedom of artistic expression. They liberate videographers from the constraints of traditional storytelling and filmmaking norms. Unlike conventional films, music videos do not need to stick to linear narratives or established cinematic conventions.
Instead, they provide a platform where creators can experiment with unique styles, visuals, and storytelling techniques. This creative freedom allows videographers to craft captivating and visually stunning content that defies convention.
The Challenges of Shooting Music Videos
Differences in monetization
A huge challenge in the music video industry lies in the difference between how videographers and musicians monetize their work. Videographers typically charge clients based on project requirements and expenses. This means that the compensation they seek is often calculated by considering factors like equipment costs, editing time, and crew expenses.
However, musicians face a different reality. They often struggle to make an income from streaming services and views and listens. On top of this, the videos are often seen as promotional tools to market new albums or live concerts. The result is sometimes a misalignment in financial expectations between videographers and musicians.
I hate to even have to mention this one, but unfortunately, there can be a mismatch of expectations artistically as well as financially. Some artists, particularly emerging ones, may not fully understand music video production and what it takes.
As a result, they may underestimate the time, effort, and investment required to create compelling visuals that complement their music. These misunderstandings can lead to frustrations and miscommunication on both sides of the creative process, further complicating the financial aspects of music video production.
Can Shooting Music Videos Be a Sustainable Career Path?
While there are exceptions where established videographers can secure high-paying opportunities in the music video industry, such opportunities are relatively rare. The majority of newcomers find it challenging to break into the upper levels of the industry with major labels and renowned artists.
This scarcity of high-paying opportunities can make it difficult for aspiring videographers to sustain a career solely by shooting music videos.
Diversifying and multiple income streams
Instead, YCImaging suggests diversifying into commercial work, sports content for agencies, and collaborations with foundations. These are all examples of fields that offer more reliable financial rewards for newcomers. These industries typically have established revenue streams and budgets for content creation, making them a more stable choice for those seeking financial stability in their videography careers.
That being said, if music is a genuine passion (as it is mine) and you have spent years developing contacts, skills and knowledge within the music video industry, you would be silly to give up on it completely.
Collaborating with other artists can be incredibly rewarding, and shooting musicians provides a freedom seldom experienced in other video genres. Great communication and managing expectations can usually avoid any issues.
Just don’t expect to get rich from it anytime soon. Unless you happen to start shooting reggaeton videos, of course!