How Musicians Can Use VR for Music Marketing
(Updated October 2nd, 2018)
Looking for new ways to fascinate fans and get your music on people’s playlists?
This blog explores how musicians can incorporate VR and 360° media into their art, their social media marketing campaigns, and into their brand as a whole.
360° (like photos or music videos) and VR media (like album covers and graphics) can help you to sell tickets, spark excitement for an event, sell more merch, increase your fan base, and create more engaging digital experiences for audiences.
how musicians can use VR Content for Music Marketing
Since 2016 our team has been creating VR and 360° content for musicians, bands, and music festivals. Along the way we've used 360° photos and videos to boost social media marketing campaigns, set up album releases, and even launch 360° compatible websites.
Read on below to learn about some of the edge-cutting ways that musicians can use 360° media.
(Not familiar with our work yet? Check out some of our latest 360° portfolio pieces.)
360° Music Videos
Music videos are an essential tool for musical storytelling. They can amplify a song's meaning, call attention to lyricism or rhythm in the music, and help connect a musician's image with a specific sound or style.
Music videos provide context for an artist's aesthetic landscape, and lately have become almost like visual short stories that span beyond just the song’s contents. (J. Cole has some wonderful, message-based and powerful music videos, by the way.)
Beyond being an enjoyable experience, music videos ultimately help fans figure out where a musician or a band fits within the context of their personal music consumption. (And people love to categorize their music into numerous genre and activity-based playlists.)
Consider how rapper Nas worked to establish his reputation as one of rap's frontrunners in the '90s. In addition to writing and recording his classic album Illmatic, he was dedicated to showing listeners where his music was coming from.
This meant filming music videos in the place where his sound originated - the projects of NYC.
We live in a visual world, and music videos can be some of the most thrilling videos to watch. MTV even has the Video Music Awards (VMAs) to celebrate the best music videos of the year.
Music videos often serve as an excuse for talented creators to push the boundaries of their craft, resulting in truly unique finished creations. (As a bonus for musicians, videos are easy to share on social media with friends.)
This fertile creative ground for video directors and producers serves as an arena for the adoption of new mediums and techniques.
It only makes sense that these talented minds would film a music video in 360°. For example, Avicii did it in 2015. MUSE did it in 2016. And in the case of planet Earth's rap sweetheart, Kendrick Lamar, the music video for his biggest track to date used 360° too.
HUmble - Kendrick Lamar's casual flex in 360°
Unless you've been living under a rock, there's no doubt that you've caught yourself vibing out to Kendrick's hit record, “HUMBLE.” With the eyes of the world on his brand & aesthetic, it says volumes that several clips in Kendrick Lamar's video for the song "HUMBLE" used a 360° camera. And perhaps more importantly, their 360° footage was worked in a flat video. (This is a great example of the versatility of 360° content.)
"HUMBLE" won three Grammy's (including "Best Music Video") and was released as the single for his album DAMN.
At the 41-second mark Kendrick rides down the street on his bicycle in Tiny Planet view. This was created by filming with a 360° camera and then changing the view to..... Tiny Planet! For those of you interested in learning how the directors made these shots happen, here's an awesome tutorial on K-Dot style 360° Tiny Planet Shots from YouTuber Andrew Santos.
When large artists utilize VR content in their art it affirms that VR is more than just a novelty.
Kendrick Lamar and his team used Tiny Planet throughout the "HUMBLE" music video to propel momentum amidst thrilling motion shots and crispy editing.
The integration of 360° footage into Kendrick Lamar's music video added another dimension of excitement. Judging from the number of tutorial videos on YouTube for this 360° video content, it seems to be a hit.
VR Album Art
Album covers are often the first thing someone will see in relation to a musician's new album.
Whether it's a simple picture of the artist on the cover, or something more showy or controversial, the visual side of music matters. VR album art showcases the musician, the music, and the album art in a new and more in-depth fashion.
What was once just a few photos in the flip-book of a physical album becomes an immersive multimedia experience somewhere between painting, video, and sculpture. With VR album covers, you can directly embed sound bites and hyperlinks to purchasing the album online.
VR Album Art: An Example
We worked with Houston-based rapper Trill Sammy to design a VR album cover for his latest studio record No Sleep Vol. 1. The immersive world we designed functions not only as his virtual album cover, but as his entire website. Seriously. Check out his 360° VR album art below to see what’s up (or just visit his website).
This 360° album cover allows people to step nearly literally into the stylized world of Trill Sammy (this is especially true if you view this through a VR headset). Plus, you can stream his music, see his merch, and visit his social media pages all from within the interactive space.
As a whole, this 360° VR album art has helped him give his extremely active fan base something fresh to interact with online and on social media, generating excitement for his album release in a way that fits with who he is.
VR Event Flyers
We created a VR Flyer for AVL BattleGrounds - a hip-hop event centered around rap battles. (Scroll down to interact.)
This VR flyer is simple yet immersive, and works great with social media campaigns and to propel event buzz. Our intentions were affirmed when we saw 8x social engagement using this 360° photo as a Facebook post for AVL Battle League.
As sponsors for this particular event, we knew we needed to snag a shot of the event in action. Tune in below to see the 360° photo of Battlegrounds 8 LIVE.
360° Concert & Event Photography
If you like performing on stage and also like cool pictures of yourself and your band/group on stage then look no further. The future is here. The starships have arrived over every major city and humans can now fly/breathe under water.
In addition to the ability to fly/breathe under water, the now future of all things tech involves amazing 360° photographs of concerts and for events that put viewers in the shoes of those at shows. This works for archival purposes, for promotion (marketing and branding), digital sharing, and for diversification of media in your portfolio.
Using 360° and VR content for music marketing and an album release adds clarity to messaging and amplifies audience experiences.
For example, musicians can share 360° pictures or videos to social media while recording an album to build hype and highlight process.
How musicians can share VR Media
360° and VR content works easily on social media platforms and on artist websites. In addition to using it within their art, musicians can also make announcements with VR (a la interactive advertising).
Whether you are dropping a hot single or hosting a multi-album launch of the century that could even draw Tupac out from hiding, VR and 360 will be the icing and the icecream on the cake with regards to your event or album marketing, organic reach, social media engagement, and overall campaign success.
Music Marketing on Social Media
Musicians use social media for all sorts of things. Tweets about their process, Facebook posts sharing songs that inspire them, using Facebook Live at an event, posting to Instagram stories, probably sharing an occasional meme, and much more (perhaps even more memes).
And this is how musicians help to build and strengthen a connection with their audience. Being themselves, sharing announcements, posting album art, sharing sneak previews of music videos, or interviews, and more.
360° VR media fits right in in this mix of social media sharing. (And right now, 360° content is supported on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat… with Instagram, we presume, on the soon horizon.)
As a whole, 360° content is a great way to draw more attention to the visual sides of an artist’s sound, while increasing understanding of who the artist is, what their music means, and why that matters to their world.
Imagine you are releasing your album in two weeks that is years in the making. You're hosting an album release party and want to get as many people to come out as possible. VR content is exciting, successful, and unique enough that people want to show it to their friends.
Interactive advertising, such as VR Flyers, cuts through the clutter of timelines and encourages engagement. A Beaumonde hip-hop event client saw +800% increase in organic sharing on Facebook with our interactive media.
Music Marketing Campaigns: In General
Musicians need high quality images and graphics to share, send around, pair with their music, etc.
VR media is highly versatile, and can be used in conjunction with product launches and events, to help musicians to distribute their art, and even as a part of a musician’s artwork itself (a la Kendrick Lamar). VR enhances current practices, integrates seamlessly into social media campaigns, and offers an opportunity for fresh creative styles.
This means more ticket sales, deeper connections with audiences, 4x the ROI, increased brand awareness, and a chance to stand out.
The Impact of using 360° and VR for Music Marketing
VR content is an incredible tool for music marketing and has longevity wherever applied. Musicians' incorporation of VR and 360° content creates a cohesive and highly impactful experience for audiences. VR and 360 are compellingly shareable, fit with social media campaigns, and can even help artists to define (or redefine) who they are. (Trill Sammy, the rapper with whom we worked to create a VR album cover, has modeled an upcoming music video off of the immersive world we made for him, too.)
Applications of Interactive Media
360° VR Content can be used to:
Capture artists' musical aesthetic more clearly than 2D media alone
Build hype for an album
Continue interest after the dust has settled
Terms like “VR” and “Music” may seem initially disparate, insofar as VR carries connotations of shiny headsets and Music calls to mind instrumentation and harmonies. However, we have witnessed firsthand how the two pair together to create truly incredible and rarely-before-seen pieces of versatile art and marketing strategies known to the all of planet Earth (we can’t speak for Mars, though).
Using VR and 360° media to enhance the pizzaz of your music, and to reinvigorate your music marketing plan and branding, is not very difficult or expensive to accomplish. (Especially if you work with a team of experienced professionals - like Beaumonde, ahem - because there is no I in team nor I in success nor even in Grammy or Album of the Year either.)
Interested in getting started with 360° VR content for your album art? We've worked with numerous musicians, event promoters, festivals, and others. We're here to help. Contact Us to get started today.