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Can Short Video Apps Like Strum, Viddy, VJAM, Snapchat & Vine Be Used For Music Marketing?

JackdawThough it's easy to be attracted to every shiny new mobile app that comes down the pike, and I'm certainly prey to such Jackdaw thinking, most photo apps are only good for their initial novelty unless they build a strong sharing platform of their own as has Instagram. A recent flood of mobile apps for creating quick short videos has my attention but, at the moment, the only music marketing uses I can think of come from previous usage of photo apps.

Here's an overview of the most popular video apps that I've been hearing about followed by a brief discussion of the marketing possibilities.

Viddy and Socialcam - Adding Filters to Videos

Both Viddy and Socialcam launched with Instagram-like filters though Socialcam allows for longer video clips. These were the initial contenders for the "Instagram for video" crown.

Both these apps have had celebrity musician uptake but the real point of interest is that they are building sharing platforms.

Strum - Alters Your Voice Like T-Pain

Strum is an iOS app from Smule, the people that brought you I Am T-Pain. It's designed to turn "15-second video clips into rock masterpieces" as shown in the above promo video.

Strum is interesting because it levels the playing field so everybody sounds like T-Pain but that makes it more of a novelty item than any of the other apps discussed here.

Snapchat and Facebook Poke - This Video Will Self-Destruct

Snapchat and Facebook Poke are both media sharing apps focused primarily on pics and videos. Their claim to fame is that the content self-destructs, more or less, making it ideal for sexting and related activites.

The problem for keeping your videos private is that they can actually be saved. Even if the apps adjusted to the discovery, there's always going to be a workaround.

Nevertheless the Snapchat concept copied by Facebook Poke has caught the attention of young folks.

VJAM - Add Soundtracks to Your Video

VJAM's free app adds a soundtrack to your 30 second video clip as demoed above. The paid version allows for any length video.

It's an interesting concept with the involvement of both Pharrell and Hans Zimmer but the number of themes are limited.

Twitter's Vine - 6 Second Looping Videos

Vine is the new kid on the block from Twitter that allows you to "capture and share short looping videos" up to 6 seconds long. I imagined it would have the appeal of a gif until I saw this incredibly tedious and annoying video by one of my favorite acts, The Glitch Mob.

However, as part of the ongoing war between Twitter and Facebook at the expense of users, Facebook has already cut off access to their friend finding tools that allow you to easily invite your Facebook friends.

Vine's potential rests on the fact that it is building a separate social network yet will surely have an eventual Twitter integration.

So How Will These Video Apps Make You Famous?

The basic use of these video apps seems to be for status updates, i.e. quick posts that are part of the ongoing stream of mostly forgettable moments.

But, even though people create music videos out of Instagram pics and get coverage from gullible bloggers like myself, the marketing script seems somewhat exhausted unless you remember that most marketing is stuff somebody else already did, kind of like most music.

Most of the possible uses for music marketing actually work against the limits of these video apps:

Fans submit short video clips to be edited and assembled to create a full-length music video.

An artist shoots an intimate moment on Snapchat or Poke and then it gets "leaked" intentionally.

Musicians with the right connections get sponsored to use the app or promoted on the app's platform for using it.

An app rises in popularity or attracts people that should be in your fanbase making normal usage worthwhile.

A musician just digs the app for what it is and uses it for status updates.

Just because we've seen all this already on previous photo apps doesn't ruin their marketing potential. But unless you're going to get paid or a platform takes off and is really popular, why wouldn't you just shoot a short video and decide the length yourself?

Have some other ideas? Please do share them below!

[Thumbnail image courtesy John Haslam.]

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) also blogs at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM) and All World Dance: Videos. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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