Guest post by Nicole McCray
Before the days of YouTube, many independent musicians relied solely on in-person gigs and open mic nights to promote their original work. Lack of digital resources and visibility coined the term “broke musician” since getting a record label deal was practically slim to none.
Reaching an audience that enjoys your music is easier now than ever with YouTube. It has leveled the playing field, giving independent musicians more opportunities for discovery and a platform to promote their music and brand.
However, it is more than just playing music on YouTube - the importance of having a channel allows musicians to make money with their music. With today’s emphasis on social media, an independent musician has as much potential to make it in the music industry as anyone else with a record label backing them.
But why is YouTube so crucial for musicians? And, more importantly, how can they use it to distribute their music in a way that reaches the masses? Using YouTube as a marketing tool is an excellent method to promote your music and broaden your outreach.
Below are some of the best tips to utilize YouTube as your most incredible resource as a working musician. As a result, you can further your musical ambitions, grow an audience and loyal fan base, and even monetize your brand, creating a recognizable and popular channel.
Why is YouTube so Significant for Musicians?
So the question still stands - why should you create a YouTube channel as a musician? Here are some of the crucial reasons that creating music over YouTube will give you a more significant opportunity within the music business:
The number one site is Google, which owns YouTube. So, if a musician decides to advertise their music but not utilize YouTube - what is the reasoning behind it? The best and broadest reach online would be by optimizing SEO with Google and having a YouTube channel - both of which can be done for free, so there’s nothing to lose.
Here are some great ways to start solidifying your brand as a musician and develop a broad audience of listeners when utilizing YouTube the right way.
Start With Some Covers
What are some of the best ways to help grow your reach on YouTube? Of course, having your original work is essential if you’re new to creating your music channel. But, it can also help to start establishing views by doing some covers. Ensure that you are following copyright regulations when marketing covers of songs that may require royalties.
By uploading renditions of songs that people know well, you can gain traction when people search for those particular songs, which will help jumpstart your recognition. To showcase your musical talents, you can even play with the arrangement and composition of the songs to make them your own, which will help your audience begin to feel as though they know you by your creativity.
Provide Value To Your Audience
“How-To” videos or tutorials are all the rage on YouTube channels. Musicians may think that providing music is the sole purpose of their channel, but the truth is, nowadays, your audience wants to feel that they know you. So, allow them to get to know you by providing other valuable videos on your channel, such as helpful advice or tutorials on singing or playing a specific instrument.
An excellent example of this is the singer Natalie Weiss. Weiss is a singer and musician who worked on Broadway and eventually started a YouTube channel solely to help other singers learn how to riff intricate music pieces. Her YouTube episodes entitled “Breaking Down the Riffs” where she breaks down popular pieces within songs that had complicated or complex note changes, making it easier for singers to perform. Her channel helped propel her career and gained her a lot of popularity on YouTube, allowing her to monetize her channel and start coaching others in singing and has made her not just a name but a great living for herself.
Staying Consistent and on Schedule
One of the best ways to ensure that you will develop a following and grow your reach with YouTube is by staying consistent. Set up your schedule realistically so your audience knows when to expect new video releases, be it twice a week, once a week, or a few times a month.
It helps to be active across other social media platforms so that you can lead those followers to your YouTube channel. Creating a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account with your musician logo and name will allow others to recognize your brand across all networks. Develop your own Call-To-Action (CTA) engagement tactics for your audience to comment on your videos and posts, which aids in your growth. The more people you can have making comments and being responsive on your social media will help your account be visible to more and more people.
Tips For Your YouTube Channel
Growing an organic following takes time, so exercise patience as you start your YouTube channel and understand that your exposure will increase, but there is a process. You want your growth and following to be legitimate instead of cutting corners by buying the “fake” followers - people recognize this and will not believe in you.
If you want to monetize your YouTube channel as you gain more and more followers, you should invest in a helpful shortener for YouTube links so that you can track your data more efficiently, and in turn, you can boost your revenue. Any way to analyze and track how your audience sees you is helpful, and gain any feedback from your followers that you can see to provide them with the content they want to see.
You want your YouTube channel and other social media channels to look uniform and eye-catching. Create a well-designed banner and utilize your logo across your social media to be easily recognizable by fans. You can create a photo of your band or take a professional-looking headshot as well. You want things to have a purpose and look nice to solidify your reputation.
Think about the different types of videos you will create and then make sections or categories for them on your channel. You can easily advertise your music by ordering and prioritizing your videos like this:
Organizing your videos helps boost your look of professionalism and makes it easy for those viewing your channel to know precisely where to go. In addition, your audience will engage in more informal videos like the recording sessions or behind the scenes so that they can feel relatable to you.
Make sure you link everything to your other social media platforms and your website. For example, if you’re an independent artist, chances are you sell music and merchandise on a website, so you want to encourage your followers to check it out. You can also create a distribution from your website to link back to your YouTube.
Some other suggestions that will help expand your audience once you get going with your YouTube channel are working on a collaboration with other musicians and investing in some good audio and recording equipment if you are doing this all from the comforts of home. Collaborating helps you gain access to other loyal viewers of musicians, and your equipment will help you provide the best audio/video quality for your viewers.
Perseverance is the most critical tool for you to master YouTube and understand your target viewers so that you can improve your musicianship and give them what they want to see. Once you get everything in line and keep consistent with your channel, you will take advantage of a growing and loyal audience.
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