The alternative band Ok Go has done it before with their breakout video Here It Goes Again, a video which should hit 50 million views in the next few days with traffic from this new song. And in the video above, you can see they've done it again. Exactly to what extent remains to be seen, but still, a less-than-household-name band gets 2.5 million+ views on YouTube in 3 frickin' days and you better be paying attention. They aren't doing it by making sure the artists' faces are clearly recognizable. Or recreating the story of the song on screen. They did it - TWICE - by creating something unexpected and compelling and fun. They worried less about the literal takeaway and more about what the video told the viewer about the band: they are creative, smart, different, fun and I like them.
If you are gonna put money into videos, make them something people want to see. Stop meeting expectations and start exceeding them. Better yet, defy viewer expectations! Partner with a filmmaker with vision. Someone who adds to the story, not someone who just puts pretty pictures on the screen while your audience listens to a song on their TV or computer. I know that alternative audiences and country audiences are different, but everyone wants to be entertained and engaged. And it isn't about money, because both these videos were pretty cheap. And by the way, there's a time and a place for a beautiful, literal video. But right now, Nashville is doing all their videos and album covers and everything else like a checklist of elements that have to show up. Big face? Check. Live footage holding guitar (which the artist may or may not be able to play)? Check. People pretending to have fun? Check. The result? The audience remembers nothing. You are making a logical case, not an emotional one. You're telling them instead of showing them. And it sucks. It really, really sucks.