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What I Learnt from 6 months of Personalised Music Messages: with Bethany Jane

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Before COVID, Bethany Jane was regularly being booked for live gigs as a soloist and with her duo Bethany Jane and Bro. In April, she adapted and began offering personalised music messages to customers – and has since become the 3rd most-book musician on the platform for this service. 

We caught up with Bethany to learn the secrets to her success. 

If you’re a musician looking to get set up with Personalised Music Messages, we recommend you check out our introduction article here.

 

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Hi Bethany, thanks for stopping by for a virtual interview!

Can you explain why you first started offering Personalised Music Messages?

I loved the idea of working on something new as lockdown came and live music seemed to stop… Finding out I could still perform to an audience in some form was pretty cool, and the money was going to be a bonus – so I thought “what have I got to lose”! 

How much time do you spend on each video?

I usually spend between 30 minutes – 1 hour, but when I first started out it was taking a little longer (just getting used to filming myself and looking really happy etc!). It all depends on the song usually and how quickly I learn it. 

 

How did you work out what price to charge per video?

I decided to follow from the initial research Encore carried out with customers and pricing. I felt as it’s a tough time for people I would go with the lower pricing and see how it takes off. I was happy to get a tenner for each video for an hour of my time, and often people will then tip, so you can sometimes make a lot for one video! 

One client has come to me a number of times for the same song and message and just a different name – so doing your best the first time is also key as you can get repeat business from some people, which is wonderfully encouraging!

Which has been your favourite PMM to make so far?

I really enjoyed working on a version of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ a company asked me to make for their boss’ 40th. They changed all the lyrics and asked me to sing what they’d written, which took a bit of time to get right, but I played along to a backing track to give it that original rocky feel and it was really fun to do.   

 

How has your process of creating videos changed since your first PMM back in April?

I feel I’ve become a lot quicker at producing them, and know the order of filming etc…which is helpful with the time management. I looked into making my backdrop more professional, I also looked up audio/visual options and video editing software. Once I made these changes I could see a better quality to my videos since my first ones.

Here’s how I begin the process –
  1. Learn the song
  2. Perform the song and film it to the camera
  3. Film the message
  4. Edit the videos, piece them together then upload to Youtube

Can you talk us through your setup? 

I didn’t really like my office as background for my videos – the office is the only place I can go to escape the madness of children, so I bought a black sheet to go behind me. I hung this on an old foldable coat rack my dad had lying around and that seemed to do the trick! 

Then I decided to use my Yamaha AG06 mixer for all my audio, which is connected directly to my computer. I then use an app called iVCam, which enables you to use your phone as a webcam – this makes the visual quality a lot clearer than your average webcam (it takes the computer’s audio, which is from my mixer). 

I then used some cheap lights (a Neewer photography lighting kit from Amazon) and that gave me all the light I needed.  Daylight is always better for filming, but I’m often filming in the evenings, so these lights provided a solution to that issue. And that was my final set up which I like working with. 

 

Here’s how I get set up:

 

It looks like you also edit the video – what do you use to do this? 

I bought an app on my Android phone called Film Maker Pro, and I found this to be useful in creating my clips and trimming videos on my phone. It also enabled me to add in some nice animations and transitions, and then directly upload to YouTube. There are probably fancier apps out there, but it’s pretty good for basic functions.  

What advice would you give to someone who is considering getting involved with PMMs? 

I would say, definitely go for it! For me, this was such a great thing to get involved in and knowing how special it is for people is really heart-warming. 

Finally, which album are you listening to most in lockdown?

I am listening to a lot of Rend Collective, and loving Good News.

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Are you a musician looking to begin earning money from home with Personalised Music Messages? Click here to learn how to get set up. 

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Jonny Venvell

Jonny is Encore's Head of Artist Relations.

He's responsible for supporting and helping musicians on the platform and writes most of the musician-facing articles on the blog. He can usually be found singing in choirs, drumming in bands, or nodding meaningfully to particularly good chords in London's jazz bars.

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