Learn music marketing strategies from Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift, and Adele

Image Credit: Viberate

Spotify streams of Olivia Rodrigo album release Sour grew faster than Adele and Taylor Swift’s in 2021. What can we learn from the music marketing strategies of these popular female pop artists?

Music data analysts Viberate have crunched the numbers and revealed just how quickly Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album Sour grew on Spotify in 2021.

Rodrigo came out in front of two popular female pop artists who have been in the game much longer than the young singer. In the first two weeks of streams Sour outperformed Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version), and 30 by Adele.


So, what’s the secret sauce for marketing an album?

2021 was the year that Olivia Rodrigo’s music took off. In a big way this was thanks to her popularity on TikTok. Whilst viral fame shouldn’t be endgame for musicians, TikTok’s huge userbase means having a presence on the social media platform could be a winning tactic for artists – and it’s free promotion, too.

Rodrigo’s emotional single “drivers license” came out of nowhere on TikTok and captured the hearts of teenagers (and teenagers-at-heart). She strategised by quickly following the single with her debut album, the captivating Sour, which again slipped perfectly into social media trends with its 90s references. Upon the album release, “drivers license” was raking in 800 million streams every day. It’s now reached 1.2 billion total streams. Not bad!

But of course, Rodrigo wasn’t the only female pop artist achieving great new heights in 2021. Viberate looked at the streaming performances of Adele and Taylor Swift as a comparison.

Image Credit: Viberate

All three artists had an incredible year. Taylor Swift, one of Rodrigo’s most prominent musical influences, released two albums in 2021 – she came second in comparison to Rodrigo’s debut streaming numbers.

Both 2021 releases by Taylor Swift were re-recordings of previous albums, as she finally recorded the tracks as she always intended. Whilst longtime fans like Rodrigo streamed the albums to spot changes to the originals and hear bonus tracks, curiosity about the releases turned new listeners, who weren’t interested first time around, into fans.

Viberate noticed that releasing two albums meant Swift was on the radar for the whole year. Saying this, in those initial two weeks, Swift gained 759k followers and a whopping 11.9 million new monthly listeners. In particular, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version),” an extended version of her …. song, performed amazingly, generating an average of 50 million streams a day.

Streams of the longer version of “All Too Well” were boosted by the social media buzz around the track, as rumours of who the song was about unearthed years-old gossip; and also by a 15-minute short film which served as a cinematic music video accompaniment to the extended track. Viberate noted that out of the three artists, Swift was mentioned on social media the most.

Adele was third in the lineup in terms of streams. 2021 saw the release of her much anticipated sixth album 30. The lead single “Easy On Me” was released in November and by the end of two weeks had been streamed 385 million times.

Viberate found that the biggest jump in streams came around the release of the single and announcement of the album – Adele gained 7.4 million new monthly listeners and 694k new followers in a fortnight.

Image Credit: Viberate

Whilst Rodrigo may lead the trio, both Swift and Adele’s top-performing releases both arrived in the final third of the year, giving the younger singer a head start. But Olivia Rodrigo is still at the very beginning of her career – keep an eye on her to see how her next release performs, and what further smart marketing choices are on the cards.


Want to upload your music to Spotify? RouteNote distributes music by independent artists for free. Find out more here and sign up today for free releases, forever.

Social media takeovers – tips for musicians

What is a social media takeover, how do they work, and why would an artist get involved?

Musicians on social media always need new ways to find followers and expand their fanbase. One creative way to build connections with fans and peers in the music business is to take part in a social media takeover.


What is a social media takeover?

A social media takeover is when someone, in this case a music artist, takes control of a brand’s social media account for a set period. It’s sort of like being on work experience in social networking.

Social takeovers usually take place for a working day, or afternoon. Once you start, you’ll be in control of everything that gets posted. We’re talking Instagram stories and posts, live-tweeting an event, or posting TikToks. Usually the takeover will be of one platform account only.


Why are social media takeovers good for artists?

Takeovers are a chance to get out of your own social media bubble and get creative. You can show your personality to a whole new audience and promote your music in fun new ways. Above all, you’ll gather new followers for your own social media who will hopefully turn into big fans of your music. You might learn some new tricks, too.

What’s in it for the brand? You’ll be bringing your own existing followers to their account for a day, as fans check in to see how you’re getting on and what you have to say. So, indirectly, you’re promoting their brand as well.


Which accounts are best for a social media takeover?

Interested? Time to start thinking about who would be good to approach to offer yourself for a takeover. Accounts that could work well for musicians include:

  • Music festivals
  • Record labels
  • Music publications and blogs
  • Venues
  • Recording studios
  • Music business professionals and organisations
  • Radio stations
  • Other artists

Approach accounts with a similar follower reach as your own, rather than hugely popular accounts who might be out of your reach for now.

Contact them with a vague plan of what you’d be posting on the day – and show what’s in it for them. Make sure your own social media is performing well, so they know you’re going to be a fun and worthwhile addition for the day.


What to share

routenote Q&A

On the day, post frequently throughout with a mixture of planned posts and spontaneous content, such as Instagram stories of whatever you’re up to at that moment. Make sure to introduce yourself!

Try to have lots going on so you’ve got something to build content around. You might want to choose the day of a show, release day, or just set aside time to build a track from start to finish.

Although, if you’re planning on sitting in front of a DAW all day, it’s a good idea to mix it up a bit. Make sure your content isn’t in one static place – head out and get a coffee at least to give the viewer a change of scene, or pepper your content with previously shot videos and images.

Treat the account as your own for a day – but perhaps with more of a professional sheen, depending on which brand you’re working with. (That probably means toning down the swearing.) You want to strike a balancing act between matching the tone of their existing posts and bringing something fresh and unique to the page.

Check out other takeovers to get an idea of what to post. Scroll back through their posts or check out story highlights to find examples of what other artists got up to playing social media officer for the day.

Like any sort of social media content, engagement with the audience is vital – it’s not called social media for nothing. Talk to people, answer comments, start a Q&A on stories, post polls, ask opinions.


Being part of a social media takeover is a fantastic opportunity to make connections and promote your work to a new audience. Have some fun with it. Treat the account as your own, apply your social networking skills, and above all let your music shine. It’s your takeover, after all.


Want to release music across all the major streaming services and monetize your tracks on social media platforms – for free? Have a look at RouteNote.

We’ve been supporting unsigned artists and indie record labels since 2007. Head here to see what we could do for your music.

Is it easier to learn guitar or piano?

Whether you’re a beginner music producer or after a hobby, a new instrument opens up a world of music. But which is easier, piano or guitar?

Choosing your first musical instrument is a personal decision. If you’re on the fence of piano vs guitar, we’ve gathered some arguments that could help swing you in either direction.

First off, they’re both solid starter instruments. Co-ordination is the hardest part of learning any musical instrument, but at least with guitar and piano you don’t have to worry about breath control like with a wind or brass instrument.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of both instruments, to give you a better idea of which to jump in and learn first. That’s right – first. You can always learn both!


What’s easier to learn, piano or guitar?

Musicians playing keyboard and electric guitar.

When you’re debating whether to learn guitar vs piano, it’s worth noting that both instruments require co-ordination between the two hands, and of course with your brain.

Guitar comes out on top in terms of how quick it is to learn to play with both hands in harmony. To make any sound on the guitar you immediately have to strum or pick with one hand (usually your right) and with the other form the shape of a chord or hold down a single string.

With piano you can get started immediately playing a simple melody by playing each hand separately. That’s much easier to master – but eventually, you have to put the two hands together, which arguably is harder than the guitar.

The aerial view a pianist has while sat in front of the instrument makes it easier to visualise where to place fingers on the keyboard. Learning music theory is simpler when the notes are laid out in front of you, making patterns and shapes clearer.

Are you a beginner music producer? Piano might be more useful. Once you’re familiar with the layout of the keys, the piano roll in your DAW will make a whole lot more sense. You can buy a MIDI keyboard and program in melodies for any virtual instrument you like, after picking up even only basic piano skills. You can just use a guitar sound.

Which instrument is quicker to learn the basics?

In terms of quickly getting to grips with the layout of the instrument, piano is quicker to understand. The same 12 notes are repeated up the length of the piano, with the pitch getting higher from left to right. Guitar, with its different strings and positions along the neck, is initially more complicated for a beginner. Win for the piano.

If you’re looking to really master an instrument not just understand the basics, once you’ve learnt the layout and technique of guitar, progression is generally quicker than piano. Guitar tablature makes it simple to learn your favourite songs. Huh. Win for the guitar.

The unfortunate fact is that any musical instrument takes a lot of practise to master. But, if you’re only looking to quickly learn an easy melody, the piano is your friend – your hands fit over the keys in a natural way which you can see horizontally in front of you.


Now, forget all that. The only question that really matters is which instrument you want to play. If you’re drawn towards one more than the other, then you should learn whichever feels the most natural and fun.

Set out to play music that you know you’ll enjoy and feel proud of mastering. If there’s no spark, you’re setting up for a slog. You might be inspired by certain musicians or want to learn your favourite song that features either instrument, like a screaming guitar solo or beautiful piano arpeggios from a film soundtrack.

Of course, whichever instrument you learn first will probably be the easiest. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. Generally speaking, after learning one instrument, it’s easier to transfer your new musical skills to another.

The best way to start is to have a go at both piano and guitar and see which you prefer. Follow YouTube tutorials, get a tutor, or check out apps like Yousician.

And if you just can’t get to grips with either instrument, that’s OK. Fire up some free music software and explore making beats with just your mouse, or even on a smartphone app. There’s so many accessible ways to make music, you’ll have scratched that itch in no time and made progress to be proud of.


Serious about making music? Check out RouteNote. Since 2007 we’ve been helping independent artists get their music heard, without the need for a record label. You can upload your music for free to Spotify, Apple Music, and streaming services around the world.

Find out more about what we do here. We can’t wait to hear what you’ve made.

An analysis of almost a million Instagram Stories reveals valuable data for artists and brands

How many Instagram Stories should I post a day? Should I upload photos or videos? How do Stories perform compared to feed posts?

Answers to the above and many more key insights are detailed in Socialinsider’s article. Stories on the Meta-owned photo and video sharing platform receive deep engagement from all users, so it’s no wonder they are utilised by brands and musicians around the world to increase brand awareness and create strong relationships between artists and fans.

Social media analytics site Socialinsider analysed 962,402 Stories on Instagram between January 2020 and October 2021. From 6,014 business accounts, Socialinsider calculated results from thousands of accounts with under 5k followers, to hundreds of accounts with over 100k followers. Find the full deep dive here or click one of the headings below to learn more.


Key Insights

1. Major brands have doubled their Instagram story’s usage in the last year

Image Credit: Socialinsider

2. Posting up to 5 stories per day ensures a retention rate of over 70%

Image Credit: Socialinsider

3. Instagram users are more likely to tap forward sooner for image stories


4. Instagram users exit faster from video stories, and most of the exits happen within the first two stories


5. Image stories slightly outperform video stories in terms of reach

Image Credit: Socialinsider

6. Instagram stories have lower reach rates compared to posts in the feed



All RouteNote artists can upload their own music to Instagram for free, for monetization across Stories, videos, Reels and Facebook.

5 tips for sending the perfect demo submission

Before you send your music demo submissions, check out these five quick tips that will help you get signed to a record label.

So you want a record deal? To get signed to a record label, you need to send out music demos.

A demo is an example of several tracks you’ve written or produced, giving labels an idea of your style of music. The scary truth is, even a small record label accepting demos receives hundreds of submissions a week.

But never fear. Here’s how to break through the noise and send out a killer demo submission that will get your music noticed.


The music has to sound great

The beauty of a demo is it doesn’t have to be perfect. They’re different from a released single or EP which is a polished, final draft which must have professional sounding production. But your demo still needs to sound good, otherwise you’re putting people off before they’ve had the chance to hear the potential of your music.

Make sure your track is finished before sending. Watch your levels when recording, spend some time getting the mix right, and make sure you can hear every important element of the song. Don’t record too quiet.

If you want, you can tell the label what stage the recording is at, whether it was professionally mixed or not, so they can get an idea of its potential.


What demo songs to send

Sending unreleased tracks makes it more likely for labels to want to snap you up as an undiscovered new artist. Up to three tracks is a good amount to send. Send either a DropBox of MP3s or private SoundCloud links.

A demo should show off the best songs you’ve created. Now, that might not end up including your favourite song. Will it resonate with your intended audience? If the answer is no, you might have to make a hard decision.


Target the right labels

Make a list of labels who will be a good fit for the genre of your music. You’re wasting your hard-earned time by sending out your music to a label that isn’t the right fit for your music.

An EDM label won’t be able to do much with your indie rock demo. Remove yourself from the equation for a minute and think carefully about who you’re sending your demo to.


Send more than just a link

So you’ve chosen which labels to contact. Now tailor each of your emails or forms to each company, and, if you have the information, a specific person within the label. Labels will be able to tell if a blanket email has been sent out to hundreds of other companies.

Next, introduce yourself and your music. An email with just a link to your music seems lazy and might be sent straight to spam. Give your brief bio, where you’re based, how long you’ve been making music, and describe what your songs are like.

Keep the tone light and professional, whilst being yourself. It sounds tricky, but try and juggle being persuasive, not sucking up to the label too much, and not coming across as arrogant.


Don’t give up!

Rejection is sadly part of being an artist. Some labels don’t have time to even reply.

But keep trying. Research different labels and refine your approach. Change up your tone of voice in your messages, improve the mix of your tracks, and take on board criticism.

Having more music ready to send out is a good way to keep your creative momentum going if your submission is rejected. Producing more than one song also means that if a label asks to hear some of your other tracks you have something up your sleeve.


An alternative to getting signed to a label is releasing your music yourself. As an independent artist you keep complete control over your music and retain all the rights to your songs – as long as you sign up to a distributor like RouteNote.

We send your music to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, and streaming services around the world like Qobuz and JioSaavn, so your songs can be played everywhere.

With our free distribution you keep 85% of royalties, and you’re free to come and go as you please without signing away your music or putting ink on any restricting contracts. There’s also RouteNote’s Premium tier, allowing you to keep 100% of profits for an upfront and annual fee.

The trade-off for not being signed to a label is you have to handle your own career, which means taking on things like recording, promotion and marketing yourself. But we’ve got plenty of handy how-to videos and articles to guide you.

Whether you’re sending off demos to labels or heading down the independent route, the two most important things are making good music and believing in yourself.

The world deserves to hear your music. Get it out there.


Curious about RouteNote? Find out more about how we help unsigned artists and indie record labels here.

How to utilize YouTube to support your music career

Image credit: CardMapr.nl

YouTube has one of the biggest audiences in the world so you could be reaching billions with your music if you use it right.

It’s no secret that YouTube has a massive audience, one that is growing rapidly and constantly. As an artist, tapping into this huge potential fanbase is essential, whether that is with music videos, BTS content, or general engagement posts such as vlogs. Many artists use YouTube to support their career and if you’re wanting to build an audience early on, then it’s essential you do too. 


Promotion 

YouTube is an incredible platform to promote your next release or tour, you can do this through video content, page banners, and the recently added Shorts. Ideas for content to promote a single could be a quick vlog detailing the release, when it’s coming out, and where it will be available. Think outside the box and create something visually pleasing; or do a Kanye and make it interestingly cryptic. Either way, you’ll want to think of a way to make yourself stand out from the rest. 

You can also do something similar for a tour, announcing your gig dates and the locations you’re going to be heading to. This builds hype and engages the audience, especially if done well. Take this tour announcement video from Red Hot Chili Peppers as an example; They created something entertaining and engaging, regardless of if you care about the tour or the band.

A good idea would be to cut to footage from previous shows so that new fans can be aware of what to expect, and old fans can get hyped on the memories. Through both videos, you can use cards and links in the bio to head fans (new and old) to tickets sites, social media, websites, and streaming platforms. 

Once you’re established you can even use YouTube’s incredibly detailed data, for example through their analytics you can see what cities and locations listen to you the most, places you’re being discovered, and much more. All this information can help you target your releases and tours. 

As an artist on YouTube, getting an Official Artist Channel is a huge way to boost your presence and consolidate your fans and your content. These channels bring together all of your music content and music uploads (see below for more info on YouTube Music uploads) into one channel which you can customize and control. It’s a fantastic way of ensuring your image on YouTube is consistent and that new listeners and old fans alike can find all of your content with ease.


Connection 

In today’s world, people want to know as much about an artist as possible. There has never been an easier and more accepting time to create a fanbase or uber-fans. You can do this with tour diary content, vlogs, kit rundowns, anything really. Just be sure that you are connecting with your fans, giving them an insight into your creative world. This way you can build a relationship with your fans and truly take them on the journey with you. 

Extra things that you can do are pinning comments to the top of your posts to spark conversations, replying to as many (if not all) comments on your content, and sharing fan-uploaded content. 

It may seem small or extra work but in the long run, this sort of engagement and fan base is invaluable. Interaction offers fans a chance of connection and goes a long way to building a community around your presence.


Monetize

At some point, your channel may start growing and thus you’re going to want to monetize your content. You can do this by joining the YouTube Partner Program, however, to join this you will need to have 1000 subscribers and received 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months. Once partnered as a creator you will only need to focus on your content and music, YouTube will then pair ads to your videos and you will generate money through your AdSense account. 

In addition to this, if you make music and want it to be distributed to YouTube directly to be used by third parties, you can do so through RouteNote, for free. Through YouTube’s content ID system, we can send your music to YouTube’s content library. They will scan all videos uploaded to YouTube and any time your music is used we will be able to monetise the content on your behalf and ensure you are reciprocated for the use of your content.

You can also upload your music for streaming on YouTube through YouTube Music with RouteNote. If you want to keep 100% of what your music is earning through Content ID and/or YouTube Music then you can pay a small upfront cost to keep all of your revenues.


Conclusion

As an artist in today’s world, you need to be able to balance your creativity with engagement. Meaning not only are you an incredibly brilliant musician but you’re also a content creator, in most cases, you have to be both. By using YouTube’s tools and its access to such a large audience you can create content that cultivates your audience and in time even generates extra income. It can be a little hard to master but is worth the input of time. Be sure to check out other artists’ accounts for inspiration but be sure not to copy them directly and more importantly think outside the box! 

How the TikTok algorithm works

Whether you want to better promote your music on TikTok or would just like to get more views on TikTok, here’s how to make the algorithm work for you.

For an artist, right now there’s no better way of generating instant promotion for your music than going viral on TikTok. The short-form video app has launched the music careers of aspiring artists without record deals and given signed artists opportunities they would have had to work overtime to achieve before TikTok existed.

Everyone, music artist or not, wants a piece of the TikTok magic. There are plenty of stories of TikTokers posting an off-the-cuff video and waking up the next morning to find it’s reached tens of thousands of people. What’s the secret?


What is an algorithm?

An algorithm is a list of rules that a program follows to solve a problem – like instructions to bake a cake. In the case of TikTok, it makes sure that the information presented to the user on the For You feed is personalised to them.

It’s that algorithm that makes using the app so addictive – it’s ruthlessly brilliant at learning what users want to see.


What is TikTok’s algorithm?

In the past TikTok itself has shared a little insight into how the For You page works, giving a glimpse behind the algorithm that powers the platform.

Having a high amount of followers, or viral content in the past, may earn you more views but according to TikTok it’s not something that affects the For You feed where users discover new videos.

Things like other videos you share or comment on, whether there are captions in your videos and what sounds and hashtags you use, and your language and country setting all affect what pops up in your For You feed.

You can tell TikTok what content you don’t want to see by long-pressing and tapping “Not Interested,” but TikTok will still show you diverse content in amongst the content it knows you’ll enjoy, to avoid creating a repetitive social media bubble.

Watching a video all the way through sends a strong message to TikTok about what kind of content you like. The endless feed means you can just keep swiping until you a video you want to watch, with barely more effort than a flick of your thumb – and TikTok knows this strategy will keep you on the app, because you’ll always think there’s a better video waiting to be found.


How to use the TikTok algorithm

When you’re posting on TikTok, whether you’re an artist trying to find new fans or you just fancy kicking off a new cooking trend, view it as a free promotional tool for your music. Forecasts have TikTok up there battling YouTube to become the number one place to discover music online, but the random nature of the app means it’s hard to develop a strategy.

TikTok is built on organic, random content – videos on the app are less polished than Instagram, for example. It’s made for shooting something on a whim rather than spending an hour choosing a pretty filter. You need to be in a different mindset, focusing on getting to the point quickly and often in a way that has an edge of humour.

Generally speaking, have a vague strategy in mind, but don’t overthink it. As an artist, think about the central message of one of your songs and create content around it.

It might be a song about life’s adventures – go for a drive, and film it. Whether it’s a carefree party banger or a heartbreak ballad, let your music influence the mood of your TikToks.

The TikTok algorithm wants to know the real you. For your first couple of uploads, make sure they’re on brand – so posts that are about your music in some way – so that TikTok can learn what to show you in your feed.

TikTok appears to favour videos that resemble TikToks. Users can post videos up to three minutes in length, but TikTok is still popular for it’s short-form content, and most videos are much shorter.

So split your content into smaller chunks and make use of lenses, AR filters and stickers, as well as adding captions to your videos.

One key thing artists can do is make sure the hookiest part of your song is used in videos. The short videos and vertical layout means users are exposed to more music than even if they’re skipping through a streaming platform.

The most engaging part of the song plays instantly and the short length means viewers are left wanting to hear more of the song.

Because TikTok moves so quickly, so should you. When you see a trend, jump on it. The algorithm will reward you.

And remember, it’s called social media for a reason. Reach out to other artists and connect with your followers by replying to comments.

So much of TikTok is about luck and timing. You should never aim to go viral. Have fun, post a lot, and see what the results are.


To take advantage of TikTok for musicians, sure your songs are in the TikTok library. At RouteNote we offer social media monetization for free, so you can upload your music to TikTok and make money each time your tracks are used in videos on the app.

Explore everything RouteNote can do for your music here.

Everything you need to know to use YouTube Shorts as an artist

YouTube Shorts is an amazing way to reach new audiences and get creative with your online presence. Here’s what you can do as an artist.

YouTube Shorts offers an amazing potential for artists and creatives of all shapes and sizes to reach new viewers and connect with fans in brand new ways. Taking after the TikTok, Shorts transform the wealth of video content on YouTube into short, easy-to-watch, and fun videos that are great for casual entertainment or a quick watch.

In the short time since Shorts have launched, they’ve become a huge part of the veteran video site and gain billions of views every single day. Especially now whilst YouTube are prioritising Shorts videos to build the format and get YouTube users watching them, there is huge potential in reaching a much bigger audience with very little effort.

So, come and explore with us the potential in YouTube Shorts and how you can take advantage of them to grow your following.

YouTube Shorts logo

Click below to head straight to the section you’re interested in:


What are YouTube Shorts?

Shorts are YouTube’s answer to the short-form fun that is taking the world by storm on TikTok and Instagram Reels. With Shorts, viewers don’t have to leave their favourite video website to take part in short and easy to watch videos, optimised for smartphones and watching whilst on the go.

They are videos of up to 60 seconds which are either vertical (9:16) or square (1:1) ratio, making them easy to watch on phones and tablets. Content on Shorts can be anything from little comedy skits and jokes to educational snippets and bite-sized facts, dances and music trends to insights and advice.


How to upload YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts recording process

There are a number of ways you can upload YouTube Shorts and it depends on the content you’re looking to upload and where from. Shorts was designed with simplicity in mind, allowing anyone to use YouTube’s new in-app camera and editing tool available for on-the-fly recording. Recording with this tool means that users can immediately upload their Shorts straight after they’ve filmed it.

From the editing tool creators can add music to their videos, effects and filters, adjust the speed of it, and more to create the effect they want with a simple phone recording.

You can also upload Shorts the same way that you would normal YouTube videos, with all of the editable functionality with descriptions and thumbnails on offer. If your video is under 60 seconds long and in the compatible aspect ratio then uploading it normally will allow YouTube to pick it up as a Short automatically. Some recommend adding the hashtag ‘#shorts’ to your title to get recognised even more quickly.

You can also create Shorts from existing videos which are eligible for being sliced and made into clips. Videos which have been marked by the creator as approved for making clips from will show an option underneath the video to Clip it. This is only available on certain videos for the time being.


Where to find YouTube Shorts?

There are a number of places where you can find all of the Shorts on YouTube, whether you’re looking for the ones that you have created and uploaded or the Shorts of others.

Channel pages: Shorts will show up on the feed of channels. You can find your own Shorts in your video list on your channel and any other creators. You can also scroll down a channel’s homepage to see a collection of their Shorts at the bottom, separated from their regular videos.

YouTube’s homepage: On mobile devices, as you scroll down a sliding feed of Shorts will be available to explore based on trending videos and your tastes.

The Shorts tab: A Shorts feed is available on the bottom tab of the mobile app.

Subscriptions: When the channels you’re subscribed to upload Shorts videos then they’ll show up in your Subscriptions feed.

Searching: You can search topics and videos like usual and Shorts will be included in the search results.


How Shorts can help your music get discovered

Shorts offers a great opportunity for creators to get discovered and the potential for artists to use the format to reach new audiences is huge. For a start, creating Shorts yourself is a fantastic way to engage with audiences through a format that YouTube is prioritising currently and that engages with large audiences of viewers quickly.

Getting involved by creating your own Shorts opens up a huge opportunity to be watched by new viewers on the many places Shorts are displayed across YouTube. You can use them creatively to promote your music/artist personality in unique ways like behind the scenes videos, snippets of upcoming content, talking to fans, and whatever else you can come up with. Even just making a skit unrelated to your music can open you up to a big new audience that then have eyes on your content.

Then there’s the Audio Library, a massive source of potential for tracks to go viral and for artists to be heard by listeners who’ve never heard them before. The Audio Library allows any creator to explore YouTube’s music library and select a track to use as the soundtrack of their Shorts. This library is open to all creators and gives tracks the potential to reach millions of viewers when Shorts get viewed.

Each YouTube Short which uses a track from the Audio Library features that tracks icon in the bottom right. Viewers can tap this to go to the sound page for that track which shows more videos using that song. There is also then the option for fans to head straight to the music video for that track or create their own Short using the song.

It’s been proven with TikTok that being featured in a viral video can lead an artist to blow up and convert into new listeners and higher streams.


How to get your music in YouTube Shorts’ Audio Library?

At RouteNote we can add your music to the YouTube Shorts Audio library for free. First up you’ll need to create a free account and then upload your music. Select YouTube Music as a store to ensure that your music is sent to YouTube’s library.

Once your music has been approved, fill out this form to find out if your track is eligible to be made available in the YouTube Shorts library: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeNQWHN3RykE3liAZKH925PAI8qABR_haXA3Ytd2U1QRcFaIA/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0


How to use Shorts to promote your music

Use your music in Shorts

There are numerous ways that Shorts can be used to promote your music and your artist brand. One method to explore is using your own music to create Shorts, where you can then record anything to engage viewers: dance around, cartwheel into a hedge, skate off a large ramp, fall over in a comical fashion – whatever feels appropriate and entertaining. Treat it like a mini music-video that you can use to promote your track by showing every viewer a snippet of it.

Start a trend

Similarly, once your songs have gone live then encourage your fans to create Shorts with your music. Getting people sharing your music and setting it to videos they’ve created is a fantastic way of creating unique and varied content around your music. You can encourage people to get involved by creating a trend: come up with a unique dance for your song or do something silly that people can recreate in their own video.

Using a hashtag is a powerful way of starting a trend and keeping all the content connected. Make sure to come up with something unique that won’t be competing with other content and then encourage participants to create their own Shorts and use your hashtag to build a feed of fun and interesting videos that all link back to your track.

Find out how to get your music in YouTube’s Audio Library in the section below so that Shorts creators can use it in their videos.

Offer some valuable insights

Another great way to use Shorts to reach audiences is to take a step back from your own music and create engaging content beyond it. Any content that appeals to viewers is building your brand and gaining you increased recognition. Why not explore your creative process in a Short, appealing to likeminded music creators? Or you could provide some advice on the trials you’ve faced as a musician and how you’ve overcome them.

Pull back the curtains

You can make the most of anything you’re doing by recording it and sharing it. Going into a practice session? Why not record a snippet and share it with fans to show what you’re working on. Getting merch ready for a tour date? Share what you’ve got on offer in a Short and show fans what they can get whilst promoting your upcoming gigs at the same time.

Anything you’re doing will be interesting if you have dedicated fans who love your music. People love being able to relate to the people they look up to, and seeing behind the curtain at what happens beyond the music can be a great way to connect with audiences in a personal way that offers them some deeper value – though if this doesn’t work for your artist persona, then fair enough!


A release strategy using YouTube Shorts

Here’s some inspiration for using YouTube Shorts to promote your next release with an example schedule and strategy for combining a new release with Shorts content for maximum engagement. These tips come straight from YouTube themselves, so take notes!

Pre-release strategy
Save this image to refer back to when you’ve got a release coming up

Use Shorts as a creative platform for your music and brand, not just a place to broadcast messages

  • Utilise the 1 minute mobile (between 9:16 ratio and 1:1 ratio) format to creatively grab attention with storytelling content

Announce your upcoming release

  • Share a live performance of the unreleased song
  • Posting how-to Shorts content may help fans learn more about your music or show how you put a track together
  • Use relevant hashtags specific to you and your music

Connect to audiences with behind-the-scenes content

  • Try pulling back the curtain and showcasing content from recording sessions, backstage or on the road
Post-release
Save this image to reference when your release is out

Encourage fans to make their own Shorts using your music

  • Take a look at the sound page to view all the Shorts using your release
  • View the most popular Shorts using your music
  • Thank fans who created Shorts in their comments

Use Shorts Analytics to measure the performance of your Shorts content and make informed decisions for the future strategies

  • Click on the Analytics button to display performance stats for the Shorts that you have created such as views, likes, and average view duration

Continue posting Shorts with your music and engaging with fans on your Shorts


How top artists use YouTube Shorts to promote their music

Artists of any size can use YouTube Shorts to get the word out there about their music. Ed Sheeran has proved that even if you’re big enough to be known the world over with big marketing campaigns behind your music, you can do something as simple as creating Shorts to reach huge audiences in the same way.

In a series of Shorts; Sheeran stepped into an Ice Bath for Shivers, having a dance party on his own for Be Right Now, taking an outdoor shower for Stop the Rain, playing a mini ukulele for Sandman, and hanging out at home with his family for First Times.

Taking inspiration from Ed, you can get involved with Shorts by having fun to your music whether you’re huge and established or a smaller artist gaining a local audience. Sheeran’s videos were made with ease and encouraged his fans to get involved and create their own videos using hashtags. It’s that simple to get people talking.


YouTube Shorts FAQs

Here we will answer the most common questions relating to YouTUbe Shorts as a creator, viewer, and a music artist. If there’s anything we haven’t covered, leave a comment below the post and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.

What is the YouTube Shorts aspect ratio?

The aspect ratio of shorts is 9:16 although videos of 1:1 ratio will also be accepted as Shorts if under 60 seconds long.

What resolution are YouTube Shorts?

Shorts must be a minimum resolution of 600 x 600 and a maximum of 1080 x 1080.

Does a video under one minute automatically count as a Short?

If a video is in 9:16 or 1:11 ratio and is under a minute long then it will automatically be recognised as a Short and featured in the sections where YouTube features Shorts.

Why isn’t my song available in the Audio Library?

If your content has been uploaded for Shorts through RouteNote and isn’t available in the Audio Library, it may be because it wasn’t eligible. Some tracks won’t be eligible for certain territories or because of the rights involved in them. If you believe your music should have been eligible for Shorts but isn’t available in the library then get in touch with our support team via a support ticket on the website or at support@routenote.com.

Will subscribers be notified when a Short is uploaded?

Subscribers who have their ‘bell’ notifications turned on for a channel will be sent “personalised Shorts highlights notifications”. ‘Belled’ subscribers will receive up to three notifications a day for non-Shorts videos on a channel and a maximum of three personalised Shorts highlight notifications across all of the channels they’re subscribed to.

Can everyone linked to a channel create Shorts?

Only the primary owner of a channel can upload Shorts. YouTube have plans to update the Shorts potential across channel permissions.

Do Shorts show up in analytics for artists?

You can see analytics for your Shorts videos the same as the rest of your content in your channel’s analytics dashboard. On your individual Shorts you can select the ‘Analytics’ button to bring up a display of performance statistics for that video in particular.

How many views do YouTube Shorts get?

Earlier in 2021, YouTube CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that YouTube Shorts videos were receiving over 15 billion views every day. That was in July and was double the number of daily views they reported in March, so one can only presume the figures to be more significant than 15 billion now.

Are RouteNote partnered with YouTube Shorts?

Yes, we work with YouTube to get artists’ music on YouTube Shorts on their own terms. As mentioned above, you will need to upload your music to YouTube Music through RouteNote on either Free or Premium distribution. Once your music has been approved you can fill out our form to apply to have your music added to YouTube Shorts.

Where is YouTube Shorts available?

Shorts are now available globally wherever the YouTube app is available. YouTube is available in nearly every country in the world but is not available in China, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Turkmenistan whilst other countries have restrictions on YouTube.

What is the YouTube Shorts fund?

At the time of writing, YouTube are offering a $100 million fund to rewards creators who make original and enjoyable Shorts content. They’re reaching out to numerous creators every month to let them know if and when they qualify to receive rewards from the fund.

How to make money on TikTok using new Creator Next tools

Image Credit: TikTok

Did you know music artists can take advantage of new tools to monetize on TikTok?

Do you make money off TikTok? If not, check out the TikTok Creator Next update which gives creators tools to monetize content on the platform. Music artists who use TikTok can get tips and gifts from their fans on the app.

The new features let TikTok users “show their appreciation” for content they enjoy in the form of digital gifts that can be exchanged for cash. If eligible, creators can join Creator Next through the hub.


How can you make money on TikTok using the new tools?

For musicians on TikTok the new features offer another opportunity to make money on TikTok alongside making their music available to be used in videos – head here to find out how RouteNote can help out with that.

Previously users could only tip creators during live stream videos. The update will let anyone give gifts on short TikTok videos in the feed, and tip US creators directly.

Eligible creators must be over 18 with at least 100,000 followers. There’s further information on who is and isn’t eligible here.

Tipping directly is only available for creators in the US. After opting into Creator Next and making an account on Stripe, creators will get a “Tips” icon on their profile page. From then on users can see how many tips the creator has received and send either a $5, $10, $15 or custom amount.

TikTok creators can also be given Video Gifts by users. Once a creator has collected Gifts TikTok converts them to Diamonds, which in turn can be traded in for money.

Building a prescence on TikTok takes time and effort, so it’s a big step forward that more ways to make money on the platform are emerging.


You can also get your music on TikTok for free with RouteNote, and provide a soundtrack to videos around the world.

Music collaboration – how to work on songs together (video)

Image Credit: Spotify

What’s the best way to write songs with collaborators? Learn how songwriters and producers work together, with advice from Charli XCX and Spotify for Artists.

As part of Spotify for Artist’s Song Start series, featuring tips for new producers and artists, songwriters Charli XCX and Tove Lo provided some key advice about music collaboration. When music artists join forces in songwriting sessions, beautiful things can happen.

Music collaboration can spark some of the best songwriting results for everyone involved. There are do’s and don’ts to songwriting sessions, though, to make sure you’re working well together and getting the most creatively from each other.

We’ve picked a few of the best tips from the Spotify for Artists video to help you work better with other musicians and producers, and ensure happy and productive studio time for all.


Opposites attract

Your collaboration partners don’t necessarily have to echo your process. Tove Lo and Charli XCX agree that their songwriting processes are very different but somehow that seems to help the results when they sit down to collaborate.

Don’t write off a potential collaborator because they have a different writing style or enjoy different music genres. When you push each other’s boundaries you’ll inspire each other to go in a new direction you’d never considered – or want to make your idea the best, work harder, and end up with a better song as a result.


What do you do if you don’t like your collaborator’s idea?

Be constructive. Think of ways to soften the blow.

Charli XCX said when she doesn’t agree with an idea in the studio she says “I really love that but… what if we just add this little bit…” before sneakily changing the song slightly, and subsequently pointing out how much better the idea now sounds!


Let go of your ego

Your idea might not be the only great one being suggested in the studio, so knowing when to let go is an important skill. Know when to push your agenda and when to step back and listen to your collaborator.

Don’t assume you’re the hero of the track! So you’re convinced you have a great chord sequence or lyric, and push hard for it to be included – but make sure to strike a balance so you don’t end up steamrollering over the other songwriters.


Read the room

So much depends on how well you know your collaborators. When your songwriting partner is someone you’re close to, it’s of course far easier to say when you don’t like how something sounds – but even so, be respectful whilst objecting.

If you’re working with a new musician, make sure they feel comfortable and you listen to what they want rather than assuming that you know best. You’ll grow closer to them by being truthful about what you think works and what doesn’t.


Build up your songwriting collaborators, don’t shoot them down

Pay attention to your collaborator! Really listen to what the other people you’re working with are bringing to the table, don’t impatiently wait for it to be your turn to present your ideas.

If you love something, say so. There’ll be more likely to give you positive comments that will build up your confidence, too.


How to give notes to a producer

When songwriters are working with a producer, referencing other songs is a good way of explaining exactly what effect you’d like them to go for. Charli XCX also suggests using descriptive words – for example, she often asks producers “can you make that sound colder.”

Always trust the producer. Give them some space to work on the track without interrupting to try and steer the song in a certain direction.


You can find more Song Start videos on the Spotify for Artists YouTube channel. Head here learn how to begin your music production journey, and explore song structure here.

We’ve also gathered some tools for online music collaboration. Or perhaps you’d like to learn more about the history of music collaboration and how embracing it could benefit your songwriting:


When you release your songs with RouteNote distribution, we make it super-easy to split royalties between collaborators with free Revenue Sharing. Once you’ve recorded your tracks, head to routenote.com to see how we can help you get your music online, for free!