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Radar Music Videos: Using the Crowd To Disrupt The Music Video Industry

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Radar Music Videos is an an online network that helps artists and labels commission high quality music videos from some of the most talented directors in the world. The London based start-up has worked with major brands like Sony Music and Mercury Records, yet it still provides an affordable platform that allows indie labels to compete with the majors. Here is an interview I recently had with Radar’s Founder Caroline Bottomley, about how she is using the power of the crowd to disrupt the music video industry.

Where did the idea for Radar come from?
I knew from when I was a promoter that I felt right at home introducing talented people to each other. After promoting I worked in TV, but I was yearning to get back into music. I had been thinking about a business around short film for ages, but decided to go for broke and work with music videos. I found a niche in breaking down the gatekeeping in what used to be a tiny, closed industry.

Who are the people behind Radar?

A company called Tedra.net built and designed the site. They work with a lot of labels like Atlantic Records and Warp Records. It’s a continuous discussion between us on what needs tweaking, what needs dumping and what needs developing.

A guy called Sam Hill is our writer and looks after promotions. He’s also part of the BBC Music Video Festival. Kristina Cook is a media student and she helps as site admin and looking after customers. Kevin Bacon who developed AWAL the music distribution company and Buzzdeck helps me with the overall strategy.

How do you guys find the directors that your partner with?
Partly social media, doing live events and partnerships with film communities. Also, we do a lot of headhunting ourselves reading all of the industry blogs.

How are you able to make sure that there is a good fit between the directors and the client or is that totally left up to then?
It’s totally left up to the client to select the best director for them. Having said that, we give advice to all clients about how to create the best brief and attract the best possible directors. Treatments always have links back to directors’ websites, so they can check out their work. We always advise clients to check references to make sure directors have been honest about their work.

Can you kind of walk me through the process of what happens after a company decides what director they want to work with?

Well that’s the bit we’re not involved with, we’re with clients up to the point where we’ve brought them a load of directors and ideas and the client has decided who they want to work with.

After that, it’s up to the client and dirtector to work out between themselves a contract, schedule, cashflow, production issues and so on. Once the music video is made, we will help promote it and we can also help the client find professional PRs and pluggers to work the video in music media.

What are some of the more successful or known projects that Radar has been involved with?
The video that’s recieved the most press recently has been alt-J’s Breezeblocks, it’s been everywhere. Also Juan Magan’s ‘No Sigue Modas’, which was commissioned by Sony Music Spain is another video that has been very successful.

What is the long-term vision for Radar Music videos?
We’re aiming to be the go-to place for every band, artist and label in the world that wants to commission exciting and affordable music videos. We’re on the way to achieving that! I’m coming over to NYC in June to meet labels and we’re hoping to significantly grow the amount of work posted from US labels.