When you’re a musician, your image can be just as integral to your success as your sound. Music videos are, of course, a perfect way to document both, and they’re still as popular as they were the year MTV launched. In fact, a music video’s YouTube hits are now factored in a song’s standings on the Billboard charts.
But according to Bartlett co-owner Karli Ingersoll, few local artists are putting out their own promotional videos.
“I have friends in Seattle, and they’re a little more proactive about putting themselves out there,” she said. “People in Spokane just weren’t doing that at all. Especially with the live video trend in the music industry, there just weren’t many artists doing that.”
This led to the Collect Sessions, named after Ingersoll’s arts and music blog that was started in early 2013. Ingersoll wrangled some of her musician friends and filmed them performing a handful of their songs, shooting the footage on her iPhone. Local filmmakers have since offered their assistance, which has forged collaborations between musicians and videographers that might have not otherwise worked together.
“I felt like there’d be a lot of people willing to help out with it,” Ingersoll said, “and a lot of musicians that would be interested in having something put together for them but just didn’t know how to orchestrate it.”
Some of the Spokane artists to be featured in Collect videos so far include the Marshall McLean Band, Mama Doll, the Holy Broke and Pine League. Tomorrow night, the Bartlett will host a live Collect session with the pop trio Friends of Mine and the electro-goth rock duo Sea Giant, and one song from each of their sets will be filmed.
This short summer series – the next one will be held in late August – functions as a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of deal: The Bartlett is able to book a band on its stage, and the performing group gets a free video out of it.
“There are all these bands that I’ve been really wanting to get live videos of,” Ingersoll said. “Friends of Mine is one of my favorite local bands, and they don’t have any recordings out. I want people to be able to see what they’re doing.”
Ingersoll says that providing a band with a personalized video ensures visibility, and it’s an easy way for an artist to sell themselves to venue bookers that might not be familiar with their music.
“It’s gotten some film people more involved with musicians, which is an amazing thing,” she said. “And I think it’s also gotten some bands to take themselves more seriously. … Pine League actually told me their Collect session has helped them get a bunch of gigs. It’s a pretty direct representation of what they’re like live.”