Rising musicians promote themselves through YouTube

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Several local musicians are teaming with videographers to flesh out their artistic identity. This collaboration yields viral YouTube hits and garners more followers for the musicians.

Eric Thayne, owner of Celadora Studios, advocates that musicians today bolster their presence on YouTube and collaborate with other musicians and videographers. Thayne maintains his own YouTube channel, “EricThayneMusic,” as he finishes his senior year in graphic design at BYU.

During the filming of "Say Something" music video. Left to right: Eric Thayne, Chris Crabb of We are the Strike.
Eric Thayne plays the piano while Chris Crabb sings “Say Something.” (Photo by Cameron Gade.)

Early in 2012, Thayne started his YouTube channel for a class and posted weekly videos of him performing piano pieces. He gathered 200 channel subscribers by the end of the semester. His channel now boasts over 3,600 subscribers. Thayne continually grows his audience by posting more music videos and interacting with his fan base.

“YouTube is completely changing the industry,” Thayne said. “You don’t need a label to make it as a musician anymore. We’re seeing a rise in independent musicians. Also, YouTube allows artists to connect personally with people, so they have some of the most loyal fans.”

Over time, Thayne’s channel features more and more collaborative efforts with the help of Provo videographers and musicians. Such efforts include music video collaboration with videographer Cameron Gade, “We are the Strike’s” lead singer Chris Crabb, Vocal Point, a few artists outside of Utah and many local musicians.

About a month ago, Thayne released a collaborative 19-song mashup of 2013 pop hits with the aid of Gade, Mimi Knowles, Amber Lynn and Suzanne Whitehead. This venture benefitted Thayne’s channel with roughly 130,000 views, and it was mentioned by the Huffington Post, news blogs and radio stations internationally.

“Collaboration is key,” Thayne said. “When I work with another artist who is also trying to grow their presence on YouTube, we both benefit each other. My fans become their fans, and vice versa. And we both learn a lot from each other. It’s a win-win-win-win-win situation. People who avoid collaboration are missing out big time.”

The musicians and videographer involved in the mashup also listed benefits gained from their involvement.

“Since the mashup,” local musician Knowles said, “I’ve surpassed 1,000 followers on my Facebook page, tripled my YouTube subscribers and views, gained fans outside the United States and increased traffic to all my social media outlets.”

During the shooting of the 19-song mashup. From left to right: Cameron Gade, Mimi Knowles, Eric Thayne
Cameron Gade films Mimi Knowles and Eric Thayne to shoot the 19-song mashup created by the group. (Photo by Tara Brooke.)

Gade took on the role of director of cinematography for the mashup. Thayne and Gade’s collaboration has since yielded three music videos, with more in the works.

“I think collaboration is one of the most powerful ways to grow and learn as an artist,” Gade said. “Working together allows each artist to test their limits and learn from other talented people. The best thing about what I do is being surrounded by equally passionate people. I’m passionate about passion.”

Gade also suggested that videographers can help an audience visually connect with the music of an up-and-coming artist. He said that through video, a more established understanding of who the musician is can be founded.

Thayne takes this sentiment to heart. He recently collaborated with Jared and Neil Johnson, BYU alumni and founders of a free sheet music website “Piano Brag Songs.” Thayne filmed them playing a “Counting Stars”/”Wake Me Up” mashup. Jared and Neil Johnson hoped that, with Thayne’s help, they could take their music videos to the next level and visually represent what their sheet music service is all about.

“Eric quickly developed a creative direction for the video as we discussed our website,” Jared Johnson said. “And we could tell that he knew how to visually capture what we are all about. We wanted it to feel authentic, like anyone could try what we were doing, so we didn’t use any special effects or editing. It was filmed in one continuous take just as you see it.”

Jared and Neil Johnson also promote the use of YouTube for fleshing out an artist’s visual identity.

“YouTube opens the door for anyone to share their talents or passions,” Neil Johnson said. “And that has been really fun to incorporate into our site. It adds exposure that we couldn’t have in any other way.”

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