The ULTIMATE InstagramTV (IGTV) Guide for Musicians

In Guides for Musicians by Jake LLeave a Comment

Last updated on May 2nd, 2019 at 08:27 am

Instagram TV (IGTV), is a new social media platform where people can upload their own videos online, potentially reaching many people through the app. IGTV’s new vertical video format might not work for all types of content, however, it might be the next big thing for musicians.

If you’re a musician who’s trying to build their music career, you should start utilizing the tools and platforms that the internet has brought us. In this case, let’s talk about IGTV.

Just like how we discussed in our Instagram TV (IGTV) – A New Opportunity for Musicians, IGTV is a new opportunity for musicians to start building an audience for their music.

In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know as a musician trying to utilize IGTV to help build their music career and how the online world is opening up many new opportunities for everyone in the creative space.

Let’s get started!

Formatting Your Video For IGTV

The first thing we should talk about is how you can format your videos for IGTV.

If you didn’t already know, IGTV’s video format will be mainly focusing on vertical videos. The audience you will be mainly targeting are smartphone users who are accessing IGTV on their phones.

Let’s take a look at how your videos should be formatted:

  • Video Format: MP4
  • Length of Videos: Minimum of 15 seconds to a maximum of 10 minutes. (Keep in mind that as of right now, only bigger verified accounts will have access to the maximum upload length of 60 minutes. Instagram has promised that they are planning to allow all users to have the 60-minute upload limit in the future.)
  • Video Size: Videos under 10 minutes should not exceed 650MB. The size limit for videos that are 60 minutes is 3.6GB
  • Orientation: Videos should be shot in Vertical, also known as Portrait.
  • Aspect Ratio: Minimum of 4:5. For best results, a 9:16 aspect ratio should be used.

In the example below, you can see the difference between the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio compared to IGTV’s 9:16 aspect ratio.

As you can see, more of the image is captured in a 16:9 aspect ratio compared to the 9:16, however, IGTV focuses on vertical videos.

This means that you will have to think more creatively in getting the right visuals and details to fit in the 9:16 screen. This can be challenging, however, if you plan your videos effectively, you’ll be able to overcome this challenge.

Keep in mind that your IGTV videos will probably be viewed on the screen of a smartphone, so tailor your videos to that type of audience.

Filming Your Video in Vertical

There are a few ways of approaching a vertical style of filming for your videos. Whether you use your smartphone or a DSLR Camera, you can get a nice video shot all in a vertical view.

Let’s talk about some methods of filming for IGTV.

DSLR/Video Cameras

When using a DSLR/Video Camera, we usually film videos with a horizontal view. There are many musicians who are already uploading videos onto YouTube, following YouTube’s video player’s 16:9 aspect ratio.

Uploading a full HD video onto YouTube usually means your editing your video in a resolution of 1080p with a 1920×1080 pixel aspect ratio.

Filming horizontally with your camera makes it easier for you to edit your videos down to fit YouTube’s format, but it’s a different story for IGTV.

Flip Your Camera Sideways

Filming for an IGTV video can be as easy as flipping your camera sideways. This allows you to film your shots in a vertical aspect ratio, making it easier to edit in post-production.

See the example below:

As you can see, the camera is flipped sideways, allowing you to capture vertical shots for the video you are working on. Not only will this make it easier for you while editing your video in post-production, you can start planning out your vertical shots and making sure that you fit everything you want in your video.

This is a great technique if you’re only planning on uploading videos onto IGTV, however, if you want to upload the same video onto YouTube, it may not work out as effectively.

By the way, if you are a musician trying to build a music career online, it’s highly recommended to upload onto YouTube for more discoverability potential.

Filming Your Video to Work With IGTV and YouTube

While uploading onto IGTV can be a great opportunity for any musician, they should still try and widen their horizons by uploading to YouTube and other video sharing platforms.

You can still shoot an entire video in a horizontal aspect ratio so you can upload it to multiple video sharing websites, but doesn’t that mean you won’t be able to upload it to IGTV?

The answer is no.

You can still upload the same horizontal video onto IGTV, you’re just going to have to do some extra editing in post-production.

Basically, you’re going to be making two versions of the same video. A horizontal version and a vertical one.

So how do you do that exactly? With your video editor. Do keep in mind that not all video editors are the same, so the process may differ depending on what editor you are using.

In this case, I’m using Sony Vegas Pro 12.

Making 2 Versions of Your Video

If you plan on making a video that can be uploaded to IGTV and other video platforms, you will need to make 2 versions.

Version 1 (Horizontal Video)

The horizontal version of your video will be the main version of your video as there are more video sharing platforms that utilize this aspect ratio.

Shooting in a horizontal aspect ratio gives you more flexibility to edit down your video. After you have finished editing,  you’ll have a video ready to upload to a video sharing platform like YouTube.

Now that it’s complete you can now start working on the second version of your video. The version you will be uploading to IGTV.

Version 2 (Vertical Video)

Converting a horizontal video into a vertical video is very possible. It can be a challenging process if you haven’t edited a video in a 9:16 aspect ratio.

Here’s a step-by-step procedure on how I convert horizontal videos into vertical videos.

Step 1:

Import your completed horizontal video into your video editor. Make sure to set up the video project settings to fit the formatting for IGTV.

Step 2:

Zoom in your video to fit the aspect ratio using the track motion tool.

Track Motion is usually used for animating a video track over tracks that are below it in the track list. However, it can also be used to zoom a video in to fit the current aspect ratio.

Step 3:

Play around with the pan and crop tool in your video editor to get the shots you want. Remember, there are many tutorials online that you can watch to improve on your editing ability for your video editor.

Step 4:

Edit your video.

Step 5:

Render your video down with the aspect ratio 900×1600 (9:16) as an MP4.

If you would like to see the entire IGTV version of this music video, click here: Redbone Acoustic Cover IGTV

Uploading Your IGTV Video

There 2 ways you can upload your videos onto IGTV.

Uploading to IGTV From Your Computer

The screen for uploading to IGTV from you computer

Instagram has made it possible for its users to upload their IGTV videos on to their channels straight from their computers. This makes it much easier and convenient for users to upload onto IGTV if they edit their videos using video editing software on their computers.

  • Just access your Instagram account on your computer through their main website.
  • Press on the IGTV button on your profile page.
  • Click on the Upload button
  • Drag your video file down onto the upload screen
  • Edit your title and description
  • Add a custom thumbnail

It’s really that easy and has saved me a lot of headaches I use to get from the other method of uploading videos to Instagram.

Uploading to IGTV From Your Smartphone

You can always upload your IGTV video through the traditional way, as in through the Instagram app on your smartphone.

This does have extra steps compared to the uploading through your computer method.

  • Send your IGTV video file to your phone through email (Google Drive)
  • Also, send your edited thumbnail to your phone through email
  • Download your video and thumbnail onto your phone
  • Access the IGTV tab on Instagram or the Standalone IGTV app
  • Go to your profile and hit the upload button
  • Edit the title and description
  • Add your custom thumbnail

You have these two methods of uploading your videos onto IGTV. If you plan on making all of your videos on your phone, then, of course, it may be easier to upload straight from your device. However, if you’re doing a lot of video editing on your computer, then stick with the computer uploading method.

Creating Your IGTV Thumbnail

IGTV also allows you to add a custom thumbnail to your video. When creating a thumbnail for IGTV, make sure that it can catch someone’s attention while giving a clear preview of what your video will be about.

Editing Your Thumbnail

I always use Photoshop for editing my thumbnails whether it be for YouTube videos or IGTV videos.

When starting a new project on Photoshop, set up your project’s aspect ratio to be 9:16 (900×1600).

Here’s a great tutorial on how to make an IGTV thumbnail that was done by IGTV: How To Create Custom Thumbnail Images in Photoshop

Types of Videos Musicians Should Make For IGTV

The first thing I would like to talk about is what are the type of videos that musicians should consider making for their IGTV channels.

This can be challenging for some musicians who have no experience in video making but don’t worry, we’ll explain everything in an easy to understand way.

1. Vertical Music Videos

Like we’ve been discussing already, IGTV’s main focus for content will be vertical videos.

Vertical Music Videos is a brand new form of music videos. Will this be the new norm when it comes to the idea of music videos? Probably not, but don’t count it out just yet.

An Innovative Way of Making Music Videos

This is a new innovative way to present a music video on a medium online. IGTV’s vertical video format pushes video creators to be more creative in how they put together their videos.

It’s a new playing field for any content creator, especially musicians. If you can work with IGTV’s video format, you have a better chance of excelling with the platform. It’s still in its early stages, giving people more of a chance to put out videos that stand out.

2. Live Recordings (Originals and Covers)

Recording yourself singing or playing a song on an instrument has been done for many years now, IGTV just opens another door for how we can put these videos out.

Whether you are performing song covers of your favorite songs or your own original work, having another platform to share your videos on is just a plus for any musician building their careers online.

Easy to Make Videos

These type of videos are much easier to make than a fully produced music video. You could go the route by setting up a camera and microphone, synchronizing the video and audio together and adding some edits.

But it doesn’t have to be that complicated.

For this type of videos, all you would really need is your smartphone. It will be much easier to film your video vertically with a smartphone compared to using a dedicated video camera.

The video quality that our phone’s cameras can capture has also come a long way. You can film full HD videos using your phone instead of investing in a high-quality camera.

The approach isn’t as intimidating either as anyone can do this without the strict learning curve that comes with video making. As long as you have the musical talent and you know how to record a video on your phone, you’ll be able to put out content onto this platform.

Equipment That Could Help You Film Videos on Your Smartphone

1. Tripod

Having a tripod is always a good idea if you plan on venturing into the video making space. Not only will you be able to stabilize your shots, it’ll make it easier for you to set up for a filming session when recording live videos.

I personally have the Magnus VT 300 Video Tripod as I like the quality and features that this Magnus tripod offers. I also do other types of video making, so having a good quality tripod that will last me a long time, offering excellent features was the selling point for me.

You don’t necessarily need to shell out a lot of money on a tripod if you only plan on using your smartphone to film. Something like the AmazonBasics 60 inch Lightweight Tripod will do just fine and will save you money.

2. Cellphone Tripod Mount

Check Price on Amazon

In order for you to use your tripod with your smartphone, you’re going to need a cellphone tripod mount. A cellphone mount will allow you to attach your phone onto your tripod, just like any other camera. They’re not expensive to buy so don’t worry about having to spend a lot of money.

A tripod mount like the DaVoice Cell Phone Tripod Mount Adapter will be a good investment to have if you plan to shoot videos with your phone.

3. Directional Microphones for Smartphones

Check Price on Amazon

If you really want to improve the audio quality that you will get from recording on your phone, the Rode VideoMic Me would be a great purchase. Having a dedicated microphone that works with your smartphone will enhance the audio quality of your live recording videos.

This will give you the extra edge in the competition as it will add another layer of quality to your videos.

This specific microphone is great for canceling out any of the background noises you don’t want in your videos. Whichever direction the mic is pointing to will determine what sound is being recorded.

It’s easy to use, set-up, and you’ll be getting higher quality audio for your videos, a definite plus for any musician deciding to make these type of videos for their IGTV channel.

3. Song Recordings (Streaming)

Another type of video musicians can upload onto IGTV would be song recordings.

No actual video at all, as you are mainly focusing on getting your music out there. So what does that actually mean?

If you have a lot of songs recorded, and you just want it to be uploaded somewhere for people to hear it without putting together a music video, this will be good for you. It’s like streaming your music on IGTV as if you were putting your music onto Soundcloud or other music streaming websites.

This still may require a little video editing, but all you would really need to do is add a picture that compliments your music to your video. Remember the main focus of this approach is the music.

Since IGTV is a video sharing platform, we’ll still have to upload your music as a video. It won’t take you as long to put together these type of videos, and you’ll be able to have the opportunity of having your music heard online.

I’m not saying IGTV will be the #1 place to stream your music, but it is another place that you can share your work online.

4. Vlog Style Videos

IGTV also gives you an opportunity to make vlog style videos. These type of videos are great for you to connect with your audience. It gives you a chance to let your audience know more about you as a person.

The personal connection that you have with your audience/followers is important. Being able to create a relationship with your followers, even your potential fans online will only benefit the music career that you are trying to build.

Behind the Scenes Footage

You could even show your followers some behind the scenes footage of the projects that you are working on. This could be behind the scenes footage of your music video shoot, your recording session, or even live performances.

Again this allows you to show a more personal side to your followers, while also providing more content for them.

How to Promote Your IGTV Videos

There are many ways you can promote your IGTV videos online.

Promoting IGTV Video on Your Instagram Story

Instagram released a feature where you can actually share a link to your IGTV video on your Instagram story.

The ability to share links on your Instagram story was originally for users who had more of a following or were verified on the platform. Now it’s possible for anyone who has an IGTV channel to utilize their stories as a place to promote their IGTV videos.

The promotional video on your story will only stay up for 24 hours and have a maximum length of 15 seconds, but if posted at the right time, the reach you can get from your audience can be incredible.

Instagram stories are great opportunities for you to share a preview of the IGTV video that you are trying to promote. You can also use a hashtag and a location button to widen the reach of your story.


Instagram Posts (Pictures and Videos)

Remember that IGTV is linked with your Instagram account. This means the audience that you may have already built on Instagram is connected with your IGTV channel.

Even though IGTV could be looked as a separate platform altogether, Instagram and IGTV coincide with each other. Using your Instagram posts can be an effective way of promoting your IGTV videos and channel.

If you just released a new music video or song cover on your IGTV channel, post a preview on your Instagram. Whether it be a picture or a video, make sure that it catches people’s attention while not giving too much of what the video will offer.

Just like the Instagram story, it’s only a preview for your full video on your IGTV channel.

Make sure to check your Instagram insights before posting so you can post during the most effective times.

Sharing Your Video on Other Social Media Platforms

Another method of promotion for your IGTV videos is utilizing your other social media platforms. (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.)

IGTV offers a way for you to share your video’s link onto other websites and social media platforms. This can be a good way to garner more attention for your IGTV videos while also connecting all of your social media platforms together.



Remember to Upload at the Right Time

You can promote as much as you want, but the timing of your uploads is one of the defining factors for the success of your IGTV videos. Take a look at your insights so you can plan your uploads to be posted at the best times to reach your audience.

Growing Your Music Career Online

The future of building a music career is done online.

IGTV is just one of the many platforms online where musicians can potentially build a music career on.

The opportunities that the internet has provided us in this day and age is incredible and it’s all on you if you want to grow your music career online. There are already thousands of musicians who are posting their work online.

It can be a competitive space, so let me give you some last words of advice.

Creativity Will Outshine Average

If you’re trying to build a music career online using all of these different platforms to drive yourself further, remember these words well. “Creativity will outshine average.”

The creative space is a competitive world, and thanks to the internet, people are able to share their works of art with the push of an upload button. We all tend to try and copy what we see is already successful.

Whether it be a certain video style, a certain way of singing or playing an instrument, or even just how we present ourselves online.

It’s not creative and it’s not who you are.

Always challenge yourself to think outside of the box. If you really want to try something that someone is already doing, try and add your own touch to it.

Be original and always try to be innovative as you grow as a musician/artist.

Keep Putting Out Work

People always say that consistency is key, and it’s almost always true.

Sure, someone could get famous off of one song or video, but the chances of going viral on the internet are very slim. However, the more content you put online on your multiple different platforms gives you more potential on being discovered.

You never know which song or video will be your big break, but you won’t get the chance at all if you don’t have any work to show.

Always be Ready to Adapt

The online world is always changing. Heck, the entire world is always changing. Those who can adapt to these changes will be the ones who can make it to the top.

For example, YouTube has gone through so many different changes throughout its years of existence. YouTubers come and go, but some were able to stay relevant even up to now.

But how?

Well, it’s because they were able to adapt and understand what was changing.

This is the same for any other platform on the internet, especially IGTV.

If you decide to focus most of your work on IGTV, always be ready for changes. Pay attention to trends and to what other people are doing. Learn and understand when it’s time to make changes. And last but not least, learn how to change while still being yourself.

Be informed of what’s going on in the online world so you’ll be ready for what may happen next.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, my ultimate IGTV guide for any musician trying to grow their music career online.

IGTV is just one of the many platforms that allow for musicians and artists to grow, not only in their careers but also in themselves.

The internet has truly changed the possibilities of discovery and it’s all up to the individual to take advantage of the opportunities. Whether you plan to use IGTV as your primary vehicle to drive your music career higher, or if it’s just another addition to your online music career, I hope these tips help you create better content.

I’m excited to see where Instagram and its creators will take IGTV next and I’m even more excited to see how musicians all around the world will take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

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