YouTube for Musicians
YouTube is the number one music search engine so a presence on it is mandatory for musicians.
Music occupies #2 position on the flyout menu when watching YouTube on the TV app, such is music’s importance to the platform.
On this page we will look at some important strategies for musicians...
- Rank and Authority
- How to set up your YouTube music channel
- The best strategy to create a Music Video for publishing to YouTube
All major artistes have a presence on YouTube and generate the majority of searches. However, it is possible, though not easy for new talent to break through.
There are plenty of lesser known but ambitious bands and musicians whose profile can be raised by a relatively small effort required to create and release their own music videos. New acts can benefit if for no other reason than to get noticed by agents, managers, and record companies who won’t even look at you without a healthy social presence.
I post mainly instrumental guitar tracks, which you must agree is a bit niche, nevertheless they found an audience. Some of my music videos regularly get 20,000+ views - such as with this video
I learnt some tricks along the way and I learnt them the hard, long, and slow way. I will share with you here the secrets to getting engagement. My advice can stop you making the same mistakes I made - so don’t upload another music video until you’ve read this.
Understanding Rank and Authority
Like all search engines what you are trying to impress is something that isn’t even human.
Even if you do, it may not stay impressed. YouTube changes its algorithms daily.
Worse than that, when a search engine has a major update, it can completely change the game, leaving creators who enjoyed decent traffic with none. There is no appeal, there are no humans to speak to.
It happened to me. One of my videos had 150K views. It was taken down due to a copyright claim!
Rank, or ‘juice’ as it is popularly called is something mysteriously bestowed. There is no end of keyboard ninjas who profess to have mastered the dark arts of brewing said ‘juice’ and will they happily use their skills to your benefit – at a price.
You don’t really need them. You will gain many of their hacks just by reading this tutorial. The learning curve is not steep, and I guarantee without personal understanding of the basics you will fail.
The good news is that any search engine is predictable on the basic levels.
- They want you to do all the hard work, provide quality content for free so they don’t have to pay for it. So logically all you need to do is upload quality content. Ideally on a regular basis. They are competing with network TV channels for attention.
- YouTube and Google both make their money from adverts. It’s a simple as that. Consequently, they reward channels that bring eyeballs and penalise anything that would make a user click away.
Everyone wants to go viral, but you will soon give up if you set that as a goal. Patience is required. Organic growth of your channel over time is what you should be aiming for. You need to set goals e.g., 1,000 subs this year. This will require discipline to regularly upload and curate.
First, set up your YouTube channel.
Follow the current sign-up directions on YouTube.com
There are some points of emphasis for musicians not mentioned. For instance, when you create a channel YouTube will ask you what type of channel it is. YouTube will know you are a music channel from the content you post, but you should declare your channel as a music channel at the outset.
Because they own YouTube Google can connect the dots between your profiles on each platform, another way they already know you are a musician.
Take pains to establish your theme and the musical niche you occupy. This will drive qualified traffic. You don’t want country music fans if you’re thrash metal. That sort of mismatch will impact your authority by increasing bounce rate, a metric based on how quickly people click off your videos/channel.
Within your channel you will be able to diversify by creating playlists, these are subgroupings within your channel. For musicians this will logically be used to present your albums.
I doubt many music fans will find you from your main channel page, but you should set up a custom graphic on it to make it look a bit more professional. A short (30 second) welcome video is a good idea for those that do turn up there.
Below is my music channels home page...
Current advice is here artists.youtube.com/
Now all you need is a music video to upload!
The best Music Video for publishing to YouTube
- The Music Video
- On-Video promo
My early music videos were just a soundtrack with a picture. You should purchase an editor like Adobe Premiere but generally speaking production quality doesn’t seem to influence popularity or ranking.
I now incorporate much more sophisticated footage from a stock video agency, it gives much more credibility although it doesn’t seem to get me more views. Quality music is what counts, as long as music videos are technically listenable and rich in audio value they will succeed regardless of the visuals.
The above examples illustrate that the visuals have little to do with viewing figures!
Hook people within the first ten seconds. No long intros, go straight to the song’s hook (the most important section, usually the chorus). It is like life generally, first impressions count.
How long should a music video be? There’s a reason why the Beatles songs are all three minutes long. In a world where attention spans are decreasing you need to get to the point quickly. Create music videos that are around 3 minutes long.
Retention, how long a user stays on your video is definitively a factor for gaining juice. Better to retain at 50% on a three-minute video than 5% on a thirty-minute video although that is a shorter time period.
Music videos are evergreen, timeless, relevant whether they are viewed today or five years in the future so do not do anything that may date them.
You can create a popular music channel to showcase your music videos if you follow this simple advice. Be patient, grow organically, hook visitors early and retain them.