How to utilize YouTube to support your music career

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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! 

Music journalist and photojournalist based in Cornwall.

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One comment

    Thanks for the valuable content! Yes, I personally think that YouTube is among the best platforms for musicians in this era.
    Great features, professional possibilities and best of all, FREE!
    It has a bit of a steep hill when you are just starting out, but with the right strategies, you can become really famous!
    I know a ton of awesome musicians that I have discovered on YouTube.
    Thanks for sharing!

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