YouTube for Artists: Making the Most of Your Channel

Optimize your YouTube releases and grow your audience with these tips.
YouTube for Artists: Making the Most of Your Channel
Sara Mekinc

There’s loads of potential on YouTube for artists. Every minute, over 600 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube, competing for the attention of 2.3B active monthly users.

By playing smart, you can work your way towards generating YouTube views and growing subscriber numbers with each upload. How? Simply by understanding how technical details can improve performance on YouTube for artists.

Step 1: Create a professional-looking YouTube channel

The first impression is crucial. It makes you look legit, and YouTube offers many ways for artists to customize their channel according to their vision. Spruce up your layout, profile pic and channel art, and display your logo once you have one. Make sure you add links to all your other channels – webpage, Facebook, Instagram, Viberate, etc. You’ll see the best results when all your channels work together, as you can take audiences from one channel to another, and vice versa.

Viberate YouTube for artists - what makes a good cover

Here’s how Oliver Tree does it. Notice how he uses both the YouTube cover and the links to promote new stuff, as those are the very first things you see when you click on an artist's channel. He’s also a good example of a quirkier artist who provides additional entertainment value with his videos and artwork. Hey, it’s his channel, he can do anything he wants - from making viewers laugh to urging them to watch and share his music or buy his merch.

Users watch over 1B hours of YouTube videos each day, more than Netflix and Facebook combined. Music videos are among the most popular content.

Once your channel has all of the above, is at least 30 days old and has 100 YouTube subscribers, you can create a custom URL to make it easier for your viewers to find you. Then, growing your YouTube views can begin.

Step 2: Get more YouTube views with consistent uploading and YouTube Shorts

The most important rule for growing on YouTube for artists is: be consistent with uploading. Don’t let people wait too long between videos. Give them a little taste of what you’re doing every now and then, such as samples, demos and quick glimpses into your everyday life. Show them that your YouTube channel is active and that you’re always coming up with something.

Viberate YouTube for artists - use YouTube Shorts

Using YouTube Shorts can be a good way to attract attention to your channel and gain subscribers. You can access Shorts via the YouTube app, record a short video (up to 60 seconds long) on your phone, and upload it with the #shorts hashtag for easier searching. Take inspiration from artists such as Milky Chance, who use Shorts to share cover songs, announce tours and take the fans backstage, thus creating a stronger bond.

With YouTube Shorts, the production value might be low, but it’s the feeling of genuine connection that most fans love.

Also, be consistent with your branding. Everyone’s bombarded with memes and videos from the minute they wake up, so presenting yourself consistently across all your channels can greatly improve your chances of people remembering you and hitting play when they see your YouTube video.

Viberate YouTube for artists - consistent branding

For example, The Weeknd’s YouTube channel offers a playlist with carefully designed lyric videos. Not only are these thumbnails more attractive for clicking, they work together as a whole – if you’ve seen one, you'll instantly recognize another when you see it somewhere else.

Don’t worry if you don’t start getting loads of views immediately. Almost 90% of YouTube videos never make it to 1000 views – but remember the massive amounts of uploads we mentioned at the beginning of the article. By putting in work, a YouTube artist can break into the 10%.

Step 3: Tap into the right audiences, communities and networks

Be proactive and use YouTube (and other social media) to communicate with people who might be important to your work. Comment under their videos/posts, ask questions and engage in discussions. You can even send e-mails or DMs, but don’t overdo it. 

Caleborate is an example of an artist successfully commenting on YouTube. At the beginning of his career, he made great efforts to comment on popular Hip Hop videos, posting links to his own tracks in the comments. Soon, people began noticing and subscribing. 

Viberate YouTube for artists - engage communities

He also keeps his audience engaged by using the Community tab on YouTube. You can use that to announce tracks, post interactive polls, organize giveaways, whatever seems good to you.

Be on the lookout for promotional YouTube channels that support artists such as yourself and try to get on their radar. When you find a channel that fits your vibe, ask them for a shout-out. Note that some channels might ask for payment in return.

Viberate YouTube for artists - find promotional channels with analytics

You can use Viberate’s YouTube Analytics to discover such channels. Find an artist whom you respect or who makes music similar to yours, open their Viberate page and examine the “YouTube Channels” section. We’re using Caleborate’s section as an example.

You can also expand your promotion and monetization possibilities by owning a YouTube Official Artist Channel. For that, you’ll need to upload at least three releases via a distributor or a label and start hitting thousands of views. Read about the rules in place on YouTube for artists who wish to do this.

Step 4: Use SEO and technical tools for promotion

Music discovery happens online, so help people find your tunes faster. You can master the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pretty quickly. At its core, SEO means that when you’re uploading your content, you use phrases and hashtags people will be searching for, so that they find you faster.

Start by learning these phrases:

  • Video keyword research – finding the best combination of phrases for your YouTube channel.
  • Low-competition keywords – rarely used keywords that might rank your content higher in search results.
  • YouTube Audience Retention – how well different moments of your YouTube video held viewers' attention.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) – measuring how much people click on your ads or links in search results.

By researching who your (potential) audience is and where you can find them, you can create targeted promotion across different channels for your releases.

Viberate YouTube for artists - social media promotion

Here’s DOE’s case. Her album release was promoted across social media with soulful video ads and short, emoji-filled texts. As her YouTube metrics prove, her efforts are paying off, and the right people are clicking on her YouTube videos.

Almost 90% of YouTube videos never make it to 1000 views, but strategic promotion helps break into that 10%.

There’s no straight trajectory on YouTube for artists, but there’s a tool that can help you monitor and adjust your promotional efforts. 

Step 5: Use YouTube Analytics to adjust as you go

Seeing what works and what doesn’t is an important part of any artist’s strategy. To monitor YouTube performance – and other music and streaming channels in the same tool –, Viberate has created YouTube Analytics.

YouTube Analytics is a visual tool that helps artists and their teams learn about audiences and their preferences, as well as spark new ideas on how to engage them and increase views. You can also look into an artist you respect and see if there are any patterns you could learn from them to reach your goals faster. Best of all, the audience metrics across channels are neatly collected in one place.

YouTube for artists: Bonus tip

Music data can do wonders for promotion. Give analytics a go and see for yourself – the trial run is completely free.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

·       Create a professional-looking YouTube channel.

·       Find communities and network.

·       Be consistent with uploading.

·       Find the right support channels to promote your music.

·       Use SEO for more hits. 

·       Use YouTube Analytics to monitor metrics and adjust.

Sara Mekinc

Sara Mekinc

Content Specialist at Viberate
Avid concert-goer, a sucker for creative wordsmithery, and 100 % biodegradable. Google "melomaniac".