More Effective YouTube Videos for Independent Music
Most independent artists have YouTube music videos for their songs, which is great. However, the problem with YouTube is that it essentially acts as a search engine, not a referral engine. Unless someone is specifically looking for your video, it is unlikely they will stumble on it by chance. It is very difficult for a YouTube video to be a vehicle for new potential fans to discover your music.
Part of the problem is that the videos are being made by the artist themselves and usually make either them or the song the primary focus of the video. The visual part of the video generally won't appeal to anyone who isn't already a fan.
Fan-made videos, on the other hand, have a higher success rate because they make the visual aspect as interesting and appealing as the audio (your song). Here is an example from a band I worked with in the past:
Suffocation is a Death Metal band from New York. Their most popular official music video is professionally produced and currently sits at about 1.5 million views
A fan made video of a guy drumming along to a Suffocation song has over 6.2 million views (4 times as many). The videos cost the band and their label exactly $0 to produce.
More importantly, people are finding the video because of the humor value, it went 'viral'. There was an appeal to the video beyond whether you liked the music or not. Reading the comments reveals people who had never heard of Suffocation before. One comment even said they bought the drum set used, so even THEY got free advertising from it.
The beauty of a fan made video is that it costs nothing and the artist does no work. The downside is you have no say in the final version. The good news is YouTube allows you to request that a video with your music be taken down if it is just so horrible or offensive that it would do more harm to you than good.
Two types of music videos that are good for exposure are Machinima and Anime Music Videos. Machinima is a term for a specific type of animation using video game footage. Probably the most well know Machinima series is Red Vs Blue, using Halo footage. The most famous Machinima Music Video is "Code Monkey" by Jonathan Coulton, which currently has over 6.4 million views.
Anime Music Videos, as the name implies, uses video footage from anime movies or TV shows to go along with the music. This deserves a special mention because anime producers are less likely to challenge someone using their footage as they consider it free advertising. An example of this is the video for Britt Nicole's song "Welcome to the Show". The Anime Music Video version is the most viewed version of the song on YouTube:
The benefit of these kinds of videos is that they will draw in fans of the visual aspect who will (hopefully) like your music. If you do use anything like that, be sure to properly credit anything you use.
To give an example, I grabbed a few song clips from a few Chaos artists and made a sample reel using just footage from Grand Theft Auto 5 and Second Life.
It took me about a day using free software, Audacity to make the sound clips and Windows Movie Maker to make the video. It is a rough edit, a proof of concept, just to give you some ideas.