“Music is Crucial to Storytelling” — Live Nation’s Top Video Tips

“Music is Crucial to Storytelling” — Live Nation’s Top Video Tips

What’s happening in the world of video content creation?

Tune in to this month’s 5 on 5 interview with Aaron Kirschtel from Primis, and Kayla Oktavec, former Director of Content & Creative at Live Nation, the global leader in live entertainment – artist-powered, fan-driven. Kayla talks through content strategies, her biggest inspirations in the industry, and what makes video content sing!

Full Transcript

AK: Welcome to 5 on 5 where we check in with the minds behind some of the most premium content providers in their respective industries.

I am Aaron Kirschtel, Senior Content Manager at Primis and we have a very special guest with us today. From the world’s leading live entertainment company, music powerhouse, we have Director of Content and Creative from Live Nation, Kayla Oktavec. How are you doing today Kayla?

KO: I’m doing alright Aaron, how are you?

AK: I’m doing great, happy you can join us there in the morning in sunny California, and I’m definitely excited to have you on today.

KO: Thank you for having me.

what makes a great video?

KO: I’m going to give you sort of my general answer there because I think everybody might have something similar to say here, but it is the truth where every great video has a great story to it. It doesn’t matter what the length is, It could be relatable or entertaining, it’s almost always authentic I find. And you’re not like reaching a specific point of the video and tuning out, right?

Mentally, for myself, if I’m in an edit and I start to tune out, that’s when the video’s got to wrap itself up. So, telling a great story or making a great video is leading that story. And then specifically since I work in music, the music is also very crucial in our storytelling. One of the most, or our most successful music content is always using the artist’s music in a new fresh way, to keep everything captivating the entire time.

5 on 5 Interview with Kayla

What content types perform well on your channels?

KO: We find the best performing videos are usually crafted specifically for the platform where the artist lives. Depending on how an artist is booked with us, we’re looking at all of their socials, whether they’ve got the biggest fan numbers on YouTube or is it on TikTok. We’re really crafting the story to be the best fitting for that platform. Really looking for the best performance and then crafting the narrative to reach that. It’s usually shorter content for us than longer running times, but just packing everything in a nice little punch.

AK: How is that for you? You’ve been working for Live Nation for the past 10 years and obviously different social media platforms are coming and going all the time, you have YouTube and then you’re jumping to short-form content from Vine to TikTok, etc. How is it for you making these types of changes?

KO: I love that you mentioned Vine, and specifically TikTok because I feel like on our team that’s something that I’m always trying to identify what the newest platform is going to be and how we can really capitalize on that. In many ways, like you said, it’s been short content throughout most of my career.

We actually in, I want to say 2018 or 2019 started to dip a little bit longer into our running times, closer to two minutes or sometimes even five. But we found it’s still the shorter the better. And in a lot of ways we started, even in our longer-form content, figuring out what the snackable version of it was. So, we take something long that we call a hero, that would say two minutes in length, and then create the 15 seconds that told the whole story from front to end, despite much less running time. I’ve really enjoyed how things have changed so fluidly and I feel like I’m the one team member that’s always trying to push our clients to do what’s next.

Lil Nas X TikTok

what are your main KPIs for your content strategy for 2022?

KO: Going alongside that thought that we had, where these video landscapes, they just keep changing. One of the biggest things we’re working on with our brand partners this year is to build out more robust storytelling with them. It used to be, we’d have a lot of one-offs. We’d come in, we tell one distinct story and we’d sort of move on, and that would be the close of that partnership. Now we’re looking to expand upon that more and create multiple months of programming, where we’re really looking at the distribution strategies that they have, what content platform are they looking to publish against the most, and definitely put in the artist’s storytelling as much as possible within that.

We like to keep the branding light for that reason because that’s the most organic to audiences, but it’s really blending together the brand and the artists as best as we can each time. And then separately, I didn’t speak to this yet, but we also have an editorial arm. We’re looking to reignite that in a big way this year and sort of restart it, But it’s very strategic, so like you sort of mentioned, the pandemic and everything, the impact that it had upon the video content landscape. We’re looking to really narrow in that scope of work and be very specific about where we’re distributing that content.

who is your target audience, and what do you have in mind or who do you have in mind when you create content?

KO: The fans. Again, with music content, it’s all about where the fans live, especially as it pertains to being successful with a video. We’re trying to reach them in the most authentic platform possible. And oftentimes that could be a multigenerational affair.

We have, you know, historic legacy, rock and roll artists and where can we really craft the narrative to fit them best in their distribution. And then separately we got young Gen Z, how do we appeal to them? It’s really with fans first and foremost in mind, and of course, alongside that, trying to tap into the artists and where they’re currently at in their journey.

AK: How do you find when you’re working with some of these legacy artists, that, as far as giving them the push, that kind of change to something new when things have changed so dramatically from, you know, even as far as people buying music or how people are consuming music these days?

KO: You have to sort of blend it together, right? Because if their audience is used to seeing something specific, you really need to still go that route. But it’s then trying to say, all right, we think this piece of content will obviously perform really well on YouTube. But how do we then reshape that for your Instagram that you’re looking to grow? Oftentimes, at that point, it becomes suggesting reels or the new format, taking again that preexisting idea that we know will sing really well with their audiences and trying to pave that path for them into the future.

Lizzo TikTok

who inspires you when it comes to video, when it comes to music?

KO: Okay, so I’ve got a lot of favorites, and in that same vein of looking at video platforms, what’s new constantly. It’s also looking at artists and what they’re out there doing. My two favorites, I would have to say right now are Lizzo and Lil Nas X, because they’ve planned years into the future of what their artistry is going to be and they’re creating their videos around that.

So, Lizzo has been on TikTok as one of the biggest artists there for years now, and her newest album is coming out and she’s really looking to that audience there to help spread the word on her new music. And if you are, I believe it’s on everyone’s for you page right now. But her song “About Damn Time” is just taking off because of it. But it’s because she’s authentic with them and then separately, Lil Nas X. I just love the new ideas that he brings. He’s constantly coming up with these new stories and surprising me, which I think is really difficult right now because, with video content, it feels like every idea has been done, but he has a way of just refreshing himself every time he’s releasing anything from new music to his tour announcement recently, which was also really cool.

Bonus question: what content are you watching? What captures your eye?

KO: TikTok, I’m a little obsessive about it. I have to have one of those screen time notifications for myself or I just get lost in it.

AK: Down the rabbit hole.

KO: Yeah, it’s become almost like a TV replacement in many ways for myself. And then on the creator front for that, I have never really bought into that culturally and for whatever reason, those voices that come through my for you page feel so authentic that I do have several that I follow now. Some of my favorites are Maya Knight, she’s a mom of two twins, which is random for me, but I really enjoyed her content, Anna X, and then a more recent one is Dylan Mulvaney. And again, all of these are just really inspiring voices and they’re just themselves and that’s what’s appealing.

AK: Okay, well thank you so much for running through these questions with us, and thank you so much for your time, and thank you everyone for tuning in to 5 on 5 we’ll definitely have another content provider next month, but this has been Kayla Octavec from Live Nation and thank you so much.

Really appreciate you spending your morning over here.

KO: Thank you Aaron.