How to Brand Your A Cappella Group: Lessons from Boston’s Redline
Thanks to shows like Glee and The Sing Off, a cappella has finally (arguably) broken into the mainstream. As a cappella gains a greater profile, we’re going to need to work harder to distinguish ourselves in creative, memorable ways. Redline from Boston are an example of a group that is doing exactly this.
5 Ways the New YouTube Design Could Affect Your A Cappella Group
It’s no exaggeration that YouTube is an important tool for a cappella groups. YouTube channels are a great way for groups to show off their talent to fans and potential clients. Recently, YouTube unveiled a new design that changes how the homepage works. What do these changes mean for your a cappella group?
1) Subscribers, subscribers, subscribers
Now more than ever, gaining more subscribers is of the utmost importance. The most recent uploads of your subscribed channels appear on the new homepage. Like it or not, almost every other helpful feature of the homepage requires that viewers have already subscribed to your group’s channel.
2) Groups will need to pay more attention to their channel’s activity
The advent of the channel-focused sidebar on the left-hand side of the new YouTube homepage means that your group’s channel is now the most prominent way for users to see your performances. You’ll need to upload videos more often to stay on your viewers’ minds, and the most recent video should be your best.
Video tour of the new YouTube homepage.
3) Channel logos and general aesthetics will be more important
Hand-in-hand with thoughtful channel activity goes thoughtful channel layout and aesthetics. Group channels will need simple and recognizable avatars and backgrounds. Featured playlists and featured videos can also draw visitors’ attention to the best your group has to offer. YouTube has four different channel layouts available—choose the one that seems right for your group and your group’s channel. Check out Yale OOTB on YouTube for an example of a considered channel.
4) Analyzing video viewership will be easier than ever
YouTube Insight has been replaced by YouTube Analytics, which provides data about video performance (views) and viewer engagement (likes, comments, etc.). Analytics also collects info about audience retention (at what point in an individual video viewers click off to watch something else) and which videos get people to subscribe. This data can help guide your group’s strategy and content.
5) A new emphasis on the intersection of YouTube and social media
An interesting addition to the new homepage is one-click access to Facebook and Google+ videos posted by your friends and fans. A video shared on Facebook or G+ will go to friends on those networks who might not have otherwise sought it out on YouTube.
These are five things that OOTB is keeping in mind as we respond to the changes, and we would love to hear what you think. How is your a cappella group taking advantage of the new YouTube? What’re examples of great-looking a cappella channels? Let us know in the comments!
BEHIND THE SCENES: The Album Art of 16 Edgewood, Part 1
16 Edgewood (stream the album or go to album site) is Yale Out of the Blue’s 11th studio album, and a labor of love. Every detail of the album was carefully considered, right down to the album art, and I want to share the process of realizing the cover art, the CD and the liner notes.
Capturing the Moment: The Art of Concert Posters
Music is a multi-sensory experience, and I think nothing quite captures the essence of the craft like music art. We make and collect concert posters, album art and other cultural artifacts about music in an attempt to hold on to the fleeting, fading memory of how a song moved us.
This poster is by design shop DKNG Studios for the band Phish, and after staring at it for an unhealthy amount of time, I think I finally understand the qualities that help make a concert poster great.
A great concert poster attempts to distill and communicate the essence of a music artist (or song) while paying homage to the unique mood of the venue. It celebrates the moment and respects that this is a singular event in time and space - even if Phish plays at the Blossom Music Center again, no performance will ever look, sound, smell, taste and feel like the performance that happened there on June 4th, 2011.
After seeing this, I’m tempted to try my hand at designing something that visually embodies the essence of my favorite arrangements in our repertoire. After hearing our arrangers discuss their influences, I think I have enough material to make something that remains true to their vision for each song…
Watch this space!
Here’re a few close-up shots from the poster (click through to see more), and a process video where DKNG shows its entire development, from initial sketch through final execution.