Performance Video versus Narrative VideoDo you feel like you are singing into the void, or that not enough people are discovering your songs? Might be time to think about making a music video!

Music fans can always listen to tracks on bandcamp and soundcloud, but music videos work on multiple levels. They are a great way to show off your voice, songwriting, and style- all at one time. After enough views, fans not only can sing along with the song, but they also start to identify with the artist.

Music videos usually fall under two categories: performance or narrative. Both types have the potential to be fun and engaging promotion tools. Let’s take a look at how these videos differ!

Performance Video

You, your instrument, and a camera – that’s all you need to make a performance video. This type of video shows your raw talent. Booking agents, industry personnel, and new fans can see exactly what you have to offer with this type of video.  In fact, when Rick Barker, former manager of Taylor Swift, recorded a video ( about why he thinks TalentWatch is an important site for music artists, he specifically mentioned the value of performance videos.

Pros – Make it easy for people to instantly ‘get’ who you are and what kind of music you play; easier to film.

Cons – Not as creative as a narrative video; can get boring – especially if you’ve seen many performance videos.

Narrative Video

When you want to show off some extra creativity, a narrative video allows you to do that. It features a story line that is somehow related the song, and usually features the artist (or friends) as actors. Audiences can easily engage with this type of video. 

Pros – fun, engaging, and creative! A perfect way to speak to an audience about more than just your raw talent.

Cons – can be time-consuming, complicated, and costly to make; can “miss the mark” completely if it is too concept-driven or complex.

Both kinds of videos are acceptable for any beginning artist – whether you want the ease of making a performance video or the creative stimulation of creating the narrative type. The important thing is to create a video, so you can communicate your talent all over the world. And over time, you’ll probably get a chance to try out each type of video!