The Youtube Marketing Starters handbook for musicians

The YouTube Marketing Starters handbook for musicians

With an abundance of music platforms available for musicians worldwide, one might ask why YouTube is so important. Artists often go above and beyond to create music, why is it so important to add an extra step by also creating (and promoting) a video?

The answer is easy: the immense reach of YouTube makes it the perfect marketplace for modern musicians. Over 2 billion people log in to YouTube every month, generating billions of video views each day. We can easily state that YouTube is the most powerful music discovery platform in the world.

YouTube has many interesting features for musicians. This handbook shows you how any artist or record label can market their music on YouTube.

How do I create my own YouTube channel?

A YouTube channel is a great tool for any content creator on YouTube. As a musician, think of your channel as a hub for building your image online. Much like Spotify or Apple Music, the channel is the YouTube equivalent of an artist profile. 

Post music videos, links to socials, or create playlists with videos in any genre or topic. YouTube is a modern-day replacement of old school TV; your YouTube channel can function as a TV channel for your fans. Consume content whenever you like, online. 

Creating a YouTube channel is the first step:

  1. Sign in to YouTube.
  2. Try out any action that requires a channel (f.e. uploading a video, posting a comment or creating a playlist.
  3. If you don’t yet have a channel you’ll see a prompt to create a channel.
  4. Check the details and confirm to create a new channel.

What is an Official YouTube channel?

A YouTube channel can be compared to an artist profile on streaming services and a YouTube Official Artist Channel is YouTube’s version of a verified artist profile. An official presence on YouTube, like the blue checkmarks on Twitter for example. Not only is it good for building an image and maintaining your brand awareness, but YouTube also offers customization options, analytical tools and adding and removing auto-generated videos.

YouTube Official Artist Channel Haliene 1

The difference between an Official Artist Channel and a Topic Channel

A Topic Channel is an auto-generated channel, created by YouTube when your music is being distributed to YouTube’s own streaming service, YouTube Music. Topic Channels are generic channels featuring so-called ‘art-tracks’: a static image of the music’s artwork with the track title, album title and artist name.

YouTube Topic Channel Jon Craig

How do I claim my YouTube channel?

To claim a YouTube channel you have to meet certain criteria set out by YouTube. Your Official Artist Channel has to meet these requirements:

  • You have to have at least 3 official releases on YouTube, delivered by a music distributor or record label;
  • You can’t have any policy violations on your channel;
  • You have to own or operate a YouTube channel that represents an artist or band.

And you also need one of the following:

  • Be part of the YouTube Partner program;
  • Work with a YouTube Partner manager;
  • Or your channel has to be part of a label network that works with a Partner Manager.

Artists can claim their channel through YouTube, instructions can be found here.

How do I optimize my YouTube artist channel?

There are many ways to optimize a YouTube channel, all aimed at reaching more viewers and growing a fanbase. It doesn’t stop at optimizing your video, there’s more to it than that.

Here are a few interesting optimization tips:

1. Channel name

For consistent channel branding it is best to choose a name and use it consistently. The channel name is different from the channel URL, which means it can be edited. Choose a name that people can easily remember, like your artist name.

YouTube Channel name

2. Channel icon 

Upload a square high-res (800×800) image. Avoid using text, make sure it also looks great (and recognizable) at smaller resolutions.

YouTube Channel icon

3. Channel art 

This means the banner/header that appears on top of the channel. Upload a large hi-res image (2560×1440) with the most important visual elements located in the inner 1546×423 space. This is to make sure that when the image is scaled for mobile or tablet the most important information is still visible. 

YouTube Channel art

4. Channel trailer

You can select a channel trailer which is basically the first thing people see when they visit your channel. It automatically plays whenever an unsubscribed viewer visits your channel, here is a big opportunity to let them subscribe. A trailer should entice the viewer to stay and watch more content and of course, subscribe to the channel. 

YouTube Channel trailer

5. Channel description/About tab

Just below the channel art is a ‘customise channel’ button. Here you can write a channel description, use relevant keywords and describe exactly what your viewers can expect from your channel.

YouTube Channel description About tab

6. Links

In the ‘customise channel’ section, you can add social media links, corresponding icons will appear as overlays on your channel art. 

YouTube channel links

7. Sections

You can add sections to organize your channel (by f.e style, theme, genre). Sections can have videos, playlists or channels and can include not only your own content but also content from other people.

YouTube Channel sections

8. YouTube Analytics

Be sure to check all the facts and figures in your YouTube Analytics account, this provides valuable insights into user behaviour. 

YouTube Analytics

Tips to optimize YouTube videos

When the hard work on the channel is done, take a closer look at the videos uploaded:

1. Thumbnail image on a video

You can add a custom thumbnail image, a teaser of something cool in the video. Dimensions: 1280×720.

2. Cards

Add a card with a call to action to subscribe to the channel or watch another video.

3. Tags

Enter keywords associated with the video or artists.

4. Watermark

Embed your channel logo at the bottom right of the video. When people click that they will go to your channel to subscribe.

5. Description of the video

A good description of the video makes sure that it is triggered in search queries on YouTube. 

6. End cards

Short outros (5-10 seconds) that have call to action links to watch other content.

YouTube video description and end card

How to monetize a YouTube channel

YouTube offers content creators a piece of the ad revenue, pro-rata, on streamed videos. The YouTube Content ID function identifies videos and matches them to the audio in the YouTube database. So when user-generated content has your audio, it gets matched to your content and you can receive a piece of the ad revenue generated on the video. Whenever someone clicks on the ads placed on that particular video, YouTube pays the distributor its pro-rata share. 

Most importantly,  your music needs to be delivered to YouTube’s Content ID database. Companies like FUGA offer this service. 

How do I promote my YouTube channel?

Google offers several types of ads to promote music on YouTube. Kwettr YouTube ads drive more views to videos. These views have an incremental increase on YouTube channel subscribers. One of the few options Google does not (yet) offer is to promote a YouTube channel (unlike social media platforms). 

Kwettr YouTube promotional campaigns can also be tailored to target views or interactions.

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