Do your music videos go viral on platforms like TikTok and Instagram? 

If not, there may be three fairly simple adjustments you can make moving forward to get more eyeballs on your music video content. 

Of course, I can’t promise your videos will go “viral.” 

There are a lot of variables for virality: Quality, talent, trends, timing, algorithms.

But I CAN say lots of the music content that’s surfaced in my own social feeds throughout the past year has shared three common qualities.

1. You should post “live” performance videos

Throughout 2023 and 2024, most of the music-related videos that I’ve seen going “viral” (meaning lots of views, likes, comments, and shares) are performances. And I don’t mean concert footage from gigs.

I mean things like Jon Poppii’s minimalist acoustic covers.

Or Mark Scibilia’s live-looping videos.

Or Walk Off the Earth’s hilarious stunt performances.

No matter how much you hear about the popularity of GRWM videos, dance trends, or memes — when it comes to music, it seems that viewers on TikTok and Reels simply love seeing good performers doing their thing. Singing a song. Playing an instrument. Feeling the feels. 

To be clear, I’ve noticed some exceptions to this rule in 2024, which is nice. Since that gives you more creative options for your videos, and you can explore more “vertical” approaches to the traditional narrative or impressionistic music-video format.

But as a general rule, I still think the live performance trend is holding strong and should be the approach you prioritize. 

So… don’t fret about big-budget videos. Don’t worry about “official” music videos. Just shoot some footage of you playing “live.” 

It can be in your bedroom, rehearsal space, studio, a theater, a field of flowers, a mountaintop, a protest, the median of a busy roadway (safety first!), a hot air balloon, or anywhere else. What’s most important is that you deliver a great performance. 

And when you do, how should you approach the video shoot so the viewer feels connected to your performance?

2. Get it all in one take with one camera

Another common quality of viral music content is the single-camera / single-take approach. 

A new iPhone is enough. 

No edits! No cutaways! No b-roll! 

Just the intimacy of one camera tracking whatever action is most important in the moment. And all of the real-time risk that comes with it. 

I don’t mean you have to publish your FIRST take. But rather, your best take.

This is great news for you, on the one hand, because it greatly reduces your production workload and budget; You don’t need multiple cameras or multiple people to shoot video. And you don’t need an editor afterwards. 

However, because you can’t lean on edits to create urgency or to cover-up for awkward moments, the pressure is on while filming. 

Remember, though: It’s short-form video. You’re apt to get more views for a 15-30 second snippet than for a full 4-minute performance. 

So if you can only confidently deliver 30 seconds of the hook, it might be more than enough!

If you’re still doubting yourself, worried that you can’t even capture 30-seconds of great visuals and great audio simultaneously…

3. You’re allowed to lip-sync in your “live” performance videos

Though the visuals are crucial, so is the audio. Quality sound is key. It can’t be crap.

As I said above, if getting good audio and video at the same time is stressful, just lip-sync!

Capture the great recording first, and then put effort into believably performing along with that track. It needs to look convincing, but it doesn’t have to be airtight. 

Plenty of the videos I see going viral in 2024 are obviously lip-synced. Others are less obviously lip-synced. Some — I assume — are actually live. But the point is, that distinction doesn’t really matter for you average viewer. 

It’s the type of thing we musicians will get all twisted about, holding ourselves back from producing content that has a chance of getting seen! So give yourself permission to lip-sync. 

You don’t have to publish the results, but I’d wager you’ll get better results when you try it. 


Conclusion

The exciting thing about this performance video trend is that it’s asking musicians to do the very thing you should already feel comfortable doing: playing songs live.

If you give yourself permission to lip-sync, you’re removing one of the biggest technical hurdles to capturing good performance footage. And if you commit to the single-camera / one-take approach, these kinds of videos are actually EASIER to produce. All great news for musicians who manage their own social, video production, and marketing.

But trends don’t last forever, and the algorithms will certainly shift what they recommend eventually. So jump on this music video trend today.

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