Over 2 billion users log into Youtube each month, racking in billions of views on the platform every day. And that’s only part of the story — as it doesn’t include people watching videos when not signed in to a google account.
But everyone knows that Youtube is wildly popular. The question for independent musicians like you is: How do you harness all that traffic to promote your own music?
This article will answer that question and a whole lot more so that you can use Youtube to acquire new, loyal fans!
Why is a Youtube Presence Important For Musicians?
It’s no secret: people love videos. It’s one of the most consumed content channels out there. And by releasing your own content on Youtube, you can:
- Gain access to a whole new audience of music fanatics
- Build your personal brand, allowing fans to connect with your visual presence
- Push viewers to download your music on other platforms such as Spotify
The modern musician isn’t made popular solely on the quality of their music. This might be tough to hear, but it’s something you’ll want to accept sooner rather than later. You’re not just selling a song or an album, you’re selling a story. When people can connect with your personality and background, they’re more likely to return to your music again and again!
Musician Content on Youtube
The most obvious type of video content to post on Youtube is a music video. These are undoubtedly effective, but they’re expensive and time-consuming to produce. You won’t be able to release music videos on a week-by-week basis.
That’s why you’ve got to get creative with the type of content your churning out. Here are some suggestions for you:
- Artist Q&A: Source questions from your fans and answer them in a lively setting. This is a chance to showcase your humor, persona, and what you’re like outside of the recording studio.
- Jam Sessions: Are you an Indie songwriter? Post an acoustic version of you playing a song in the park. Are you a producer? Build a beat from scratch and film the entire process. People love informal settings.
- Behind-the-scenes: Take viewers into your creative process, create vlogs hanging out at musical events, or give tips/insights into how you make music. When people feel like they know you on a more personal level, your music becomes more meaningful.
At the end of the day, it’s all about thinking outside the box. What would you be interested in watching as a musician? Brainstorm some ideas, and then run with them.
Optimization of Youtube for Musicians
First and foremost, content should be the focus of your Youtube channel. Without engaging videos, you aren’t going to see shares, likes, and comments (which is what helps you to rank better in the algorithm).
Still — there are some steps you can take to drive that initial wave of traffic.
Youtube Channel Best Practices
- Channel Icon: Upload a square, high resolution, text-free photo with dimensions 800x800 for optimal sizing. This image will represent your brand across Youtube.
- Channel Art: Every Youtube channel has a banner/header section. Use album art or other creatives, then upload a large image (2560x1440) with the most important visual elements in the inner portion (dimensions 1546x423) for mobile optimization.
- Channel Description: Add relevant keywords for organic search results, highlight the type of content you create, and include a rough upload schedule so that your audience knows what to expect.
- The ‘About’ Tab: This is overlaid across your channel art, and should include links to other content channels such as your website, social accounts, newsletter signup form, promotional pages, and Spotify profile.
- “Featured Channels”: Adding Featured Channels help to teach the Youtube algorithm what niche you’re operating in. It also allows you to cross-promote with other musicians. So make sure to link out to relevant channels that you’re involved with / appreciate.
- Channel Trailer: This is a short video that will autoplay whenever an unsubscribed viewer visits your channel. Create something that will suck people in and make them want more!
- Customize URL: Youtube will auto generate a URL for you that is super complex. Edit it to something more simple, such as: youtube.com/yourartistname. This will make it more shareable.
- Organize With Sections: Sections allow you to organize your content by theme, style, genre, series, etc. This makes it easier for users to browse through your music videos, vlogs, jam sessions, or whatever categories you’re posting!
Youtube Video Upload Best Practices
- Title: Especially for non-music videos, give a descriptive title that is keyword-rich so people can find it in a search. For example: How an Indie Artist Writes a Song. You can find what people are searching for with this tool.
- Thumbnail: Customize your thumbnail image to attract a click. It should be 1280x720 with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
- Cards: These appear overlaid on your Youtube video, and can direct people to other content on your channel and beyond. Use them at the end to ask for a subscription, as well!
- Tags/Description: Use as many relevant tags as possible to inform the algorithm. And in your description, make sure to include keywords, interesting punchlines, and links to social media and Spotify pages.
It’s time to introduce Youtube into your growth strategy as an independent musician. We hope that this article has given you some ideas that will lead towards success!
Keep in mind that, just as with any growth strategy, it’s going to take some time to receive traction. But if you consistently produce engaging content, interact with your fans, and use the best practices listed above, you’ll start seeing results in months to come!
Good luck with your Youtube Journey. Who knows — maybe this is the content channel that ignites your career for take-off!