Encore Blog

3 Video Showreels Every Musician Needs to Win Bookings Online

If you want to win bookings online you need outstanding, professionally-shot showreel videos.

We repeatedly hear from our clients that videos are the most important factor when it comes to making a decision about which artist to book. And it makes sense – videos are the closest thing clients have to going and seeing you perform live (until VR catches up…).

The falling cost* of video production also means that musicians everywhere are investing in showreels – so if your video promo isn’t professionally shot, you’re likely to be falling behind your competition. Even if you’re the best performer in the world, unfortunately in the world of online marketplaces, you’re only as good as your videos.

After speaking with thousands of clients and viewing hundreds of musician showreels, we’ve put together a list of three type of video which we think you need in your promotional inventory. Add these to your Encore profile, and we’re pretty confident you’ll see an increase in your booking conversion rate.

*Concerned about the cost? Check out our article on affordable showreel options here (from £150 upwards).


The studio video

Goal: show that your act is top quality

Fiddlin’ About’s showreel – a mixture of acoustic pop covers shot in a variety of locations (which audio dubbed over). They emphasise their ability to stroll around venues by throwing in some energetic choreography into the video. 

If there’s one video you invest in it should be this one. Your ‘studio video’ is a chance for you to display your act in the best possible light. Within the first 30 seconds of a client watching this video, it should be clear to them that you are an incredible performer.

That may mean you choose to shoot this in a controlled environment like a studio, and you’ll probably want the audio to be carefully mastered. Without a live crowd to worry about, you should aim to get a variety of shots to really make your video pop when it comes to the final edit. 

Here’s what Russ Parsons, from the acoustic strolling band Fiddlin’ About, said about this type of showreel at one of our recent Encore member events:

“It needs to look the best it can look… If you’re going to a car showroom to buy an Aston Martin, it’s not going to look dirty. It will be polished”

Singing guitarist Tom Butterworth goes for a much calmer approach with this showreel, performing a mix of repertoire in a church setting.

Step ‘n’ Soul put on an incredibly high-energy performance but benefit from the tight sound quality of a music studio.

The live video

Goal: show clients how your music affects your audiences

Party band, The Edge captured this live performance at a function and turned it into a great showreel. Though the sound quality isn’t the same as a studio recording, you can tell the crowd are loving the performance. 

Once you’ve reassured the client that you’re a professional, musically competent group, their next question is likely to be: “what do they sound like live?”

This is where your live video comes in. This should ideally be a professionally shot and recorded live performance, including shots of the audience enjoying the show. Displaying the audience’s reaction to your music is an essential part of this video type and helps show a client that you have what it takes to make their event a success. For example, our wedding clients often request music that will get their guests out of their seats and dancing.   

If you’re struggling to get good enough sound quality at a live show, you might want to consider recording an acoustic set instead. Sam Burkey, leader of Encore function band Halfway to New York recommends:

“For videos of live gigs the sound quality often isn’t as good. I’d recommend filming acoustic live sets where you can hear the quality of performance more easily.”

Though they’re missing some audience reaction shots, this acoustic performance by function band The Vents really displays the groups vocal and instrumental skills outside of the studio.

The personality video

Goal: show that your act is trustworthy and likeable

Here’s a great example of a personality video from the party band House of Chords. They introduce the band, the repertoire they play, details about performances, and include testimonials from previous clients.

If you’ve got professionally shot studio and live videos, you’re well on your way to edging ahead of your competition online. But for some clients, the personalities behind the act are just as important as your ability as performers.

These videos typically include a mixture of musician interviews, client testimonials, and clips of performances and are increasingly becoming an important tool for musicians who want to build trust with potential clients.  

Reel of Fortune, a Ceilidh Band, get bonus points for including some great shots of the audience enjoying their performance. If you’re a client watching this, you know that your guests are going to have a great time.

Bonus tips

  • Keep it unbranded. If you’re using platforms like Encore to increase your promotional reach, make sure your videos don’t contain links to your website or contact details, which may encourage clients to go around the platform. Encore invests in marketing to acquire customers for its members, so any member which encourages disintermediation will be losing the company money and removed from the platform immediately.
  • Refresh your content. We recommend producing a new showreel every 2 or 3 years to ensure your act is up-to-date with the latest video technology and music trends.
  • View the competition. Before you shoot a showreel, work out who your competitors are and take a look at their videos. What are they doing well and what could you improve on in your own videos?
  • Consider using other content channels. While the backbone of your promotional strategy should be these professionally shot videos, you may want to consider building engagement with your fans and followers by posting shorter clips on social media. Russ, from Fiddlin About, says: “You should post regular updates on social media which don’t necessarily need to be so polished, to give clients an idea of what you sound like live. But on platforms like Encore, you’ve always got your main selling tool – your most polished videos”.

Frequently posting quick, less-polished videos to social media can be a useful tool for providing regular engagement with your audience – but for winning gigs, you’ll need to invest in professionally-shot showreels. 

Ready to shoot?

Now you know which videos you need to get shot for your act, the next step is going to a videographer and booking in a shoot.

Lucky for you, we’ve scoured the country for the best videographers for musician showreels. Read out article on our top 10 musician showreel videographers here.

Jonny Venvell

Encore Community Manager, singer, oboist, jazz gig goer.

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