A year ago, almost to the day – and with a professional working the camera – I dipped a tentative toe into pro-shot video production. The videos would be edited by yours truly, embedded in a text review to serve as a product preview (a more effective show and tell) with sound quality and comparisons reserved for the written word. Thank you, Olaf von Voss for giving me the first push.
Then came Jana Dagdagan, fresh from her stint at Stereophile and keen to take on Darko.Audio’s video editing role. This saw shoots with von Voss switch up a gear. They would now be full reviews where everything – product preview, listening impressions, comparisons, concluding remarks – would be wrapped in a single video.
I met Dagdagan’s insistence that I embrace YouTube culture with some resistance. Vimeo had no ads and looked nicer once embedded on this website. “Yeah, but no-one’s on Vimeo!” she retorted. “Everyone’s on YouTube!”.
After wrapping my Munich High-End 2018 coverage in May, I relented. All video reviews would now go up on YouTube (and YouTube only) and to grow subscriber numbers we’d start with a bang: an outdoor shoot for Campfire Audio’s Comet IEM. The primary aim of this new approach to videos would be to increase hi-fi’s relatability, to take it out of the audiophile ghetto and put in under mainstream noses.
Imagine my disappointment when that Campfire video, shot in various spots around Gendarmenmarkt Berlin, struggled to reach 1000 views after several weeks online. It would take another nine months for it to nudge 20,000 views.
Making videos about hi-fi is a lot like writing about it. Success does not arrive overnight, even if your video production values are higher than almost everyone else working hi-fi territory.
You have to show up and do good work every day. You have to tell a story, share information, thoughts, insight and – too often lost in all the gear talk – provide some honest-to-goodness entertainment.
In other words, success has to be earned.
Success? A recent highlight was being nominated by Steve Guttenberg as one of the best audio reviewers of all time. (I disagree: both Herb Reichert and Srajan Ebaen have a far superior command of the English language than I an both of ’em deliver more insight — but thank you, Steve).
Back in the real world, one important new milestone was reached by yours truly this week: 20,000 YouTube subscribers. Thank you to everyone who clicked that little red button. And thank you to Jana Dagdagan for giving me a second push.
To mark the occasion, I took the Music-First Audiophile concept for a fresh spin:
Further information: Darko.Audio YouTube channel