12 Best Practices for Music Creators on YouTube

/ Nov 10, 2013


With VideoInk’s “Music in Motion” Special Issue coming to a close, we asked some of the intelligent people we spoke to during the week to share their thoughts on what to do and what not to do when creating and distributing music content on YouTube. Some of these tips might feel obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people still don’t get it.

So enjoy.

1. Don’t go for the viral video. A lot of people believe they need a viral video, something that’s considered a hit. But that’s not how you create a fanbase at all. People are not loyal to someone who has a viral video, they become true fans when someone gives them content on a consistent basis. — Lindsey Stirling

2. Don’t be afraid of imperfection. Create. Do the best that you can. At the end of the day, every YouTuber is still learning, still trying to figure out what works. I remember when I was about to release “Crystallize,” I was so nervous because I thought the dubstep community would hate it. But I remembered that I’m still experimenting on YouTube. People are going to tell you what they think, so use that knowledge to test out what works. — Lindsey Stirling

3. You’re not just a musician, you’re also an entrepreneur. You wear many hats. You have to think of yourself as an entrepreneur. Look at someone as big as Justin Timberlake, who used to be controlled by his manager in his early days. Now he is very much in control of his business. You need to ensure you have similar control. — Brandon Martinez, co-founder and CEO, INDMUSIC

4. Be active on social media. Use all the different modes of social media to connect with people. Respond to comments, listen to feedback. It creates a direct connection with your fans. Use your channel, and the new videos you put on the channel to promote whatever you’re focused on at that time. — Lindsey Stirling

5. It’s OK to advertise. Creators who want to reach more people with their videos can use video ads to do so. To make it easier, we’ve developed a new way to create an ad for your video directly from your video manager. You can now easily upload a video to YouTube and start promoting it with a video ad within minutes. YouTube’s TrueView ad is unique in that a brand only pays for actual views/impressions. — YouTube

6. Metadata, metadata, metadata. The next version of the industry is going to be reliant on metadata. Producers, publishers, distributors, and in terms of rights management in general, metadata is vital. Now that Billboard is tracking YouTube views for its Hot 100 charts, and RIAA is tracking it for certification, this really matters. You as a musician can build a successful career based on this information, but you have to make sure you get it right. — Brandon Martinez

7. Use the tools that are available to you. Whether that’s via a partnership with a network or learning how to do it yourself, know how to take advantage of things like annotations and playlisting. You’ll learn that strategies for successful music videos are different to those for comedy videos and so on and so forth. You will learn a lot by practicing and iterating. — Brandon Martinez

8. Test before you publish. YouTube now has a system in place that allows you to publish a video privately and then determine, before it goes live, whether you’re going to run into any Content ID problems. Take advantage of this, so you don’t lose out on any ad revenue. — Brent McCrossen, CEO, Audiosocket

9. Consider YouTube Paid Channels. Musicians can launch a paid channel with a monthly subscription. This could be used for anything from exclusive live shows for super-fans to sharing archives of past concerts and music videos. — YouTube

10. Find a way to properly license a song. Call anyone you have to, and if that’s difficult, which in many cases is, or if you can’t get someone on the phone, go find a company that can issue it for you easily. Remove that headache, once and for all. — Brent McCrossen

11. Credit the licensor. When you upload a video, literally credit where that license is coming from. List that in the video itself. — Brent McCrossen

12. Collaborate. — Everybody

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