The Machinimist Marketer: Music videos on a budget

Yesterday’s bands were limited by money. Awesome music is worthless if you can’t show it off, but how can you show it off while you still need your day job? The average cost of creating a well-done music video can be prohibitive, especially for a band that may be talent rich, but cash poor. Fortunately, machinimists have stepped in to fill the gap between desires and actually doing it.

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing machinima magic in the making with Pop Art Lab’s Machinima Expo 2011. The Danish band, Giana Factory, volunteered one of their songs for interpretation by machimists in Second Life. The result was a varied group of music videos that took full advantage of the creative possibilities available, but for virtually no cost.

Claus Uriza, one of the event’s organizers, is very excited by the possibilities now available to musicians. “Without a video nowadays it’s almost impossible to make a hit! The blogsphere and online media change so rapidly a rather unknown band can go big within very short time.” But not if they have nothing to share; in our fast moving culture of viral marketing, a video is vital.

But how does the quality of machinima compare to traditional production? Claus admits that while machinima hasn’t yet reached the quality available to higher cost music videos, many of them compare quite nicely, especially when considering all that bang for so little buck.

“I watch lots of videos as my profession as music editor and many of these are not better than a pro machinima,” he said. “For me, it’s clear there’s a market not only for music videos, but commercials in general… especially for upcoming bands without major labels to pay their costs.”

Another musician to take advantage of the machinima is DirtyDee Sweetwater. He recently teamed up with Kira Madrigal to create a video for his original tune, MissGuided. The space to build the set and the materials for the set were donated by a virtual business, and the entire production cost less than US $5. The entire project from start to finish was accomplished in a matter of days.

For a band with real potential, machinima is a powerful marketing tool. In the case of Giana Factory, Pop Art Lab was able to expose their music to a wider international audience via their expo. DirtyDee Sweetwater has seen his song come to visual life and can use this machinima to exhibit his talent in yet another format.

Machinima costs are minimal, but the potential impact is limitless. Videos can be shared through social network sites like FaceBook and Twitter. They are a marketer’s dream come true; free advertising that never expires, never tires and never charges. It self replicates, duplicating its message on a global scale within hours, recruiting enthusiastic fans to take a band from the garage to the big time in no time. All is possible when you have something to share.'