How Ryan Guay built his indie music business with video [video strategy]

By Team Vidyard in Content Marketing on February 12, 2013

3 minute read

Ryan Guay is the founder and lead vocalist of Street Pharmacy, a four piece reggae rock band. Ryan has successfully used video to grow his business, generated over 2.3 million views for his content, and continues to provide his core fans and customers with relevant, consistent video content.

We had the opportunity to talk with Ryan and ask him how he has used a range of video styles in the past year to grow his brand using Vidyard on his website and YouTube for distribution purposes.

What video strategies have you used in the last year to grow your business?

I created a low-fi, iPhone series distributed to my YouTube channel, with a regularly scheduled program on a weekly basis. Using this strategy, I was able to re-engage fans that have been supportive of our music for last 5 years. At the same time, I was able to attract new fans through the social networks belonging to those long-time fans.

The “iPhone Bedroom Jams” video web series is a combination of musical performance and video blogging (or vlogging). Each video is less than 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Many artists strive to achieve large scale production even though it’s ambitious, unrealistic and impractical in today’s fast-paced, stream-to-stream society.

Vidyard features used: syndicate from YouTube channel and custom thumbnail.

There were four key strategies which led to the success of the “iPhone Bedroom Jams” series:

  • Simplicity
  • Cost controls
  • Distribution and scheduling
  • Realistic content


These videos convey a sense of reality that are unmasked by any major effects in post production. Due to their simplicity, I was able to continue posting them on a regular basis, despite my tight schedule. This created a steady stream of content for viewers.

Creating these videos with consistently shorter length than a complete full-production video, allowed me to ensure the viewers were fully engaged for the length of the video .

Cost Controls

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to produce elaborate videos. I am rather saying, for most people, it is not likely that they will be able to afford pumping out a video with approximately $25,000 worth of production value every week.

In the current climate of the internet, a low-fi web series displaying your brand, raw talent and personality on a weekly basis, will go much farther in growing your brand than 4 large scale videos a year would.

The iPhone (or any smartphone for that matter) is a very powerful tool for making video. It shoots in 720p and with the right natural (or unnatural) lighting, you can take amazing looking video without the use of any post-production video editing program.

Distribution Channels and Scheduling

Video production is always challenge, regardless of budget and so is deciding how you distribute your video. For easy exporting of the video, I used SocialCam. It’s an iPhone app which allows you to insert background music into your video. If you are taking a video blog approach rather than a full production music video, it’s very effective. SocialCam also makes it incredibly easy to push your video to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The “iPhone Bedroom Jam” series, created with an iPhone and SocialCam, allowed me to create the video, upload to Vidyard for quick and effective tagging, push to YouTube and take advantage of all social media outlets from that point onward, all while driving my fans back to my website.

I took the “low-fi” approach for this series, because videos are most effective when they are honest, concise and direct. I learned that scheduling is key, it’s not about creating one, extremely well produced video. Rather, it’s the consistent and steady delivery of weekly content. Content that follows the same predicate standards to which your brand is known for, while at the same time showcasing your raw talent and ability to be relate-able to your audience on their level. I’ll talk more about scheduling in a future post.

Realistic Content

I shot these videos in my bedroom. That should be aesthetically appealing to any artist and musician due to the placement of posters, pictures, with everyday paraphernalia in the room, helping to create an instant rapport with fans both old and new.

One of the first comments I received a long-time subscriber: “It doesn’t get more raw than your bedroom! I’m sharing this now! Awesome!” There is something to be said about portraying an element of “reality” in your videos and the iPhone Bedroom Jams series did exactly that for my fans.

Keeping my content realistic allowed me to directly engage my most loyal fans. With an understanding of large scale versus modest production value video I’ve been working hard to find the balance that benefits me and my business as a creative musician.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in our ongoing interview series in which we’ll be talking to experts in their field who have implemented successful video strategies. We’ll be discussing the lessons learned, experiences they have had and how they have measured their success. Do you have video experiences you’d like to share with us? Interested in being featured in this series? Send us an email or tweet @Vidyard and we can chat!

That was awesome, huh?

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