Here at the inside/out desk we like to keep you up to date on the latest in all music trends. Often, we let them seep like a good tea to see if they are going to get legs or not (read: is it worth your time to even learn about it?). If we reported on everything that came out, we would never get anything done. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce: Vine is here! But Vine has been here, you say incredulously with your questioning tone – and you are right. But with the signing of the first musical artists solely as a result of their work on Vine, it is now necessary to talk about this as a viable outlet for music promotion.
For the uninitiated, Vine is a Twitter-owned application that is largely considered to be ‘the Instagram of Video’ – and we all know how big Instagram is in the region! Vine, purportedly short for vignette and defined as a short impressionistic scene – is growing quickly and whose subscribers are now a quarter of the size of Instagram’s. With 40 million users as of the list figures, it allows users to post videos in 6-second increments. There are features to share privately and publicly (some of the private features are what they were originally critiqued on). In an age where the amount of data coming at you is bigger and more than ever before, these small digestible increments seem to be the key to engaging consumers in a manner that feels manageable.
In walks Shawn Mendes…
A year ago, Shawn Mendes recorded himself singing a 6 second clip of the Justin Bieber song, “As Long as You Love me.” The 16-year-old then went to sleep. By morning he had 10,000 followers. How is that for immediate response? Quick to respond to what was working, he then started posting covers nearly every day. He became a popular presence on Vine and by the time he showed up to his first Vine convention in Toronto, had a couple of thousand fans waiting to see him. Within weeks he had managers and record labels calling him, eventually signing a deal with Island Records. When they released his self-titled debut EP last month, it went to No. 1 on the iTunes charts in just 37 minutes – yes, that is 37 M-I-N-U-T-E-S-!
Still, this is increasingly looking like it may be the norm and not the exception. Just like labels were looking at YouTube 10 metaphorical minutes ago, this is just the latest in a series of ways for the industry to see if you have a direct connection to an audience and just how big that audience is. Vine is just the latest avenue. Another group, Michael and Carissa Alvarado, a married folk-pop-outfit who record as Us the Duo, signed a deal with Republic Records last month and is considered the first major label deal from Vine. Michael says that it is not as simple as just posting anything that comes to mind, that they had to strategically think about each post. It makes sense to ask how you can be strategic about such a minimalist medium. Literally, less is more here. The reality is that most of this does not happen by accident. People are vigorously learning the site algorithms and demographics of people so they can plug their new product. Still, that does not mean it cannot be done.
Could this be the cure for all of your music career woes? Of course not. But what it does represent is another tool in your toolbox in order to get your music heard. If you can find a way to shine in the short form, by all means do it. Perhaps covers are the only thing that shine here and original songs need more time. If you think you are better at the longer video, head to YouTube. The reality though is that there are more options then ever to get your music heard.
Inside Out is your guide to all things music related. From local reviews to changing industry dynamics. Stay fresh!