In Radio, What is Commercially heard is not what is Culturally happening. You can guarantee same logic applies to music videos. The music video industry is controlled by major distributors of music. The marketing systems that are in place force commercial products ahead of underground artists’ work right into hands of consumer. How do you compete with that?
Jesse Russell Brooks is director of an underground music video commissioned by Change Everything Music in Los Angeles, CA. Once he was on board in July 2004, small label stuck Brooks with that exact same problem to solve.
Underground Hip Hop artists have very little money compared to commercial giants. The standard approach for many underground Hip Hop artists is to immediately distribute a music video on internet through venues such as Ifilm.com or often to various public access shows in America. Independent agents such as The CVC Report or Royal 'D' Visual Marketing can distribute for your group or label and also help you try to place a music video on network TV for about $10,000. A small price to pay for possibility of commercial notoriety.
This article is about a film-maker who exploited an arena that would develop value of a Hip Hop music video over underground competition, without competing with commercial giants. “The power of music video has been diminished for underground artists by commercial industry. The consumer has become too savvy to rally around a public access music show in conjunction with one or two local radio interviews and or a club performance. In my mind, there was a piece of puzzle missing. A modern day promotional tool that would augment value of underground Hip Hop marketing.” Jesse explained.
“The International Film Festival Circuit is an untapped marketing device for underground Hip Hop artists. Absolutely Untapped.”
In America alone there is roughly 1500 Film Festivals that promote and screen work to over 10 million audience members a year. These audiences members include music labels, film directors, video game designers and famous artists all looking for what is new in film and music. Right now, 25% of these festivals carry a music video category. The last 75% is looking for a way to develop a music video category and will make adjustments to accommodate music video art form, Especially if it is Hip Hop.
The Spaghetti Junction Urban Film Festival is largest predominantly black film festival in Atlanta, Georgia. I emailed them to find out what their position was concerning music videos. A representative replied, “We do not have a category for music videos anymore. We did in previous years but did not receive any entries last year. Film-makers these days have over saturated market with shorts and documentaries. The music video submissions simply are not there to invest time and effort to promote a category for. If pressure was there, we would offer grants, industry support, and find money to make it happen.”
The Film Festival Market is point where needs of underground Hip Hop artists and underground film director can both be met. Festivals offer grants and cash prizes, merit initiatives, industry jobs, interviews, contacts and free advertising for film-makers as well as artists. Judges may be very important or distinguished industry professionals who make themselfs available to film makers and artists. Local and national major players such as production studio executives and radio DJ’s are often in audience. If they are not, you may be encourages to invite them with an endorsement from festival director. Film makers and Musicians participate in talk backs in front of large audiences. There are areas for free shameless advertisement and a lobby for impulse sales. Local music stores and book shops participate to boost their image and products to community. The film festival circuit is missing link to underground Hip Hop marketing.