Cheap but awesome music videos: Why a good idea beats a big budget

I’m often puzzled when musicians and record companies produce their music videos on multi-million dollar production budgets.  In a period of declining music sales, an increasing ambivalence to the ‘wow’ factor sought by special effects and tiny attention spans, spending big on a music video is an investment which is often not worth the return.

What’s more, many big budget music videos lack a strong creative idea and as a result simply don’t resonate with people.  Even though they might be lavishly produced – the next, more interesting video is simply one click away on YouTube.   These videos are not shared, not remembered and the investment is wasted.

However, some of the most successful music videos of recent times, in terms of social media hype and views have been shot on tiny budgets.  Central to the success of these small budget music videos is one singular, compelling and shareable idea.  In these videos, money isn’t thrown at expensive film techniques or actors – the focus is on the idea and its novel execution.


For the sake of simplicity, consider that the return on investment of a music video is equal to its production budget divided by its amount of views on YouTube.  Therefore, if a video which costs $5 million to produce gets 5 million views, the artists have essentially paid $1 per view.

Alternatively, if a video shot on a $1,000 budget gets 5 million views then the artists have invested 2 cents in each view.


Clearly, a single good idea shot on a small budget is a much better investment.

Now, just to think of the next big idea…

//Alec Schumann

About AnthonySchumann
Subtle Bravado // Creative Boutique. Ted Anthony - Vision Alec Schumann - Creative Follow @AnthonySchumann

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