Music Video Marketing: What Makes a Music Video Go Viral?

music-video-viralThe viral video internet phenomenon kicked off in 2007 with the 57-second “Charlie Bit Me” video. It was the first viral sensation of its kind, racking up 845 million views to this day. Since then people so regularly share and watch these short videos that it now remarkably ingrained in our culture. It is no wonder then that millions of musicians have jumped aboard the viral crazy horse. Most notably ‘OK, Go’ who’s video for ‘This To Shall Pass’ is still climbing at 55 million views and even won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Short-Form Music Video.  

But with viral-ness by its very nature being something the manufacturer is unable to control, what is the formula? The truth is anyone who creates a music video with the primary intention of making it go viral, often fails. However, if you first focus on creating and sharing something unique and compelling, there are some features that viral videos have in common that can be utilised to boost the success of your video.

A digital playground for musicians and artists

While a digital world may be bad news for live venues at the moment, it does mean that there’s never been an easier time for musicians to get their work out there. Artists should be utilizing all the online tools available in order to reach their full potential.

Media platform juggernaut YouTube has empowered facilitated artists with the valuable tools for marketing and promotion. Couple that with platforms like Facebook and, Soundcloud,  and the like allow for and the potential for rapid distribution to a global audience is boundless. Not only that musicians and artists can also get honest feedback on their projects or a work-in-progress.

5 Ways to Make Your Music Video Go Viral

Enough exploration, here are five ways you can give your music video the best chance of going viral:

1. Length

Over 60% of successful viral videos run for under 3 minutes or less. When people are waiting for a train or friend to arrive, this is when they’re more likely to “freestyle” scroll. Anything too long and potential viewers may ignore the video in search of more instant entertainment

2. Humour

Humour should never be overlooked as it can lend massively to its shareability. People want to entertain their friends. This not only builds a rapport between you and the viewers but also creates alignment. This makes you more memorable.

3. Emotion

Like humour, it provides alignment. Although all kinds of emotion are important in the art world, positivity will bode well for you in terms of a viral video. When people feel happy it’s a natural instinct to want to share this feeling with others; Smile. Click. Share.

4. Talent

This is obviously the key factor here. If the music is good and the video well-crafted then people will enjoy it. It is always the product first then marketing.

5. Culture

Don’t forget that sharing is a form of communication. When something big happens everyone wants to have their say. People also like to show they’re in the know and a part of this happening so including something current in your video could just clinch a viral level.

If you’re really savvy you can predict the happening before it even happens and be at the forefront of the buzz.

Taking Back Control

Digital sales are at an all-time low, so online videos are paving the way for the unsigned. Many now have the control to be a successful full-time musician without having to desperately seek help from record companies and agencies.

You are in charge of your identity and that’s something to respect. So, above all be yourself. The culmination of all those things you draw inspiration from, your experiences and your style is what make you art unique.

Keep in mind that you don’t want your video to go viral, you want YOU to go viral. It doesn’t have to be fancy or high-tech either. You could film it on your phone as long as it creates a spark in just one person – who knows. Good luck!

Feature by Tuala Kiernan

Author: ALT-MU

A digital music magazine for musicians and music lovers with alternative ideas and careers.

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