It’s no secret it’s been a crazy year for everyone, and one of the most heavily affected business sectors is no doubt the arts sector. How can you be a musician in 2020, and furthermore, how can you thrive are one?
While we have no magic answer (unfortunately), we’ve come up with five easy and efficient methods of promoting your music on platforms such as YouTube, in order to grow your following in 2020. Obviously, these are general strategies, so feel free to adapt to your own style as you see fit.
While many modern-day artists are focusing their attention on streaming apps, such as Spotify, statistics show that YouTube is still where it’s at. The numbers show that only 248 million people use Spotify on a monthly basis. Now, that may sound like a lot, but not when you see how many use YouTube.
According to statistics, over 2 billion independent users access the YouTube platform each month, in search of entertainment. Now, there’s a very good chance that at least some of those 2 billion are into your genre of music, and even a better chance they will recommend your music to their like-minded friends who use other platforms.
The trick is to make them come across your music. So how do you do that?
Don’t only publish music.
Wait, what? We know, that sounds counter-productive, since the whole purpose is to promote your music. But see, the thing is, people aren’t really that keen to “check out your dope single” simply because of the over-saturated entertainment scene we see today. So you need to hook them with something that will have personal appeal to them, which will make them click on your channel and then see the great music you’re putting out.
In YouTube, as in life, variety is key, so try uploading:
tutorials - if you play an instrument, do a DIY video on how to play either one of your own songs or some classic hits;
Q&As - help your subscribers feel like they know you on a personal level;
Podcast-like videos talking music, style or whatever you like.
Perfect your thumbnail.
The thumbnail is the picture that accompanies the video on YouTube, and the truth is, if your thumbnail is just a picture of you strumming your guitar in your mom’s kitchen, no one’s gonna click on it. Why? Because there’s about a trillion videos just like that.
You want to make a thumbnail that has great quality, even if the video itself does not. In other words, you want a thumbnail that marks you as a professional, not a basement amateur, because that shows potential listeners that your channel is worth their time.
As with any other social media platform, it’s not enough to just post good content and stay in your lane. You also need to invest a good chunk of time in watching and commenting on other people’s videos. This helps you build a connection with the YouTuber themselves (if you comment consistently) as well as meet people through the comments.
Note: Self-promotion is a big no-no. Don’t leave comments saying stuff like “check out my channel”, because no one will and you’ll get a bad rep. Instead, try talking about the subject at hand, you know, as you would in real life. Chances are, if the other people are into the same sort of entertainment you are, they might also be into the music you put out!
Use covers to your advantage.
If you check out many of the “big name” artists today, you’ll see they first started out doing covers of already famous songs. Now, many would-be artists think that’s fake, since they’re not really promoting their own music, but the problem with that is… no one knows your music yet. But they know famous hits and people always love a good cover, so they’re far more likely to click on your video if you’re covering one of their childhood anthems.
Trust us, if they like the way you sing/play, they’re very likely to check out your channel and discover your original music also. On the other hand, make sure you don’t do too many covers, otherwise you risk your audience viewing you as a “cover artist” and responding negatively to your original music.
Collaborate with other YouTubers.
This can mean playing together with other music YouTubers, but also reaching out to other content creators and offering your music to them. Game creators, vloggers, indie movie makers are all looking for a low-budget, but good soundtrack that won’t have them paying a fortune in royalties. By allowing them to use a song of yours for free in their videos/productions (and giving you appropriate credit, of course!), you are reaching a wider and broader audience than you normally would through your channel. And often, when people really love the soundtrack of a game/video/film, they end up digging back into that artist’s discography. And boom, that’s how you’ve got yourself a brand new fan!
Remember to be patient.
Now that we’ve gone through the best five pieces of advice for promoting your awesome music on YouTube to two billion people, we need to talk a bit about strategy. See, the issue with this kind of article is that artists read it and get all excited. Then they try one (or more) of the points on here and get all disappointed if it doesn’t work.
Disclaimer: these will work, but not within a week. In order to grow your channel and expand your fanbase, you need to put in months and sometimes even years to get to where you want to be, so you’ll need to be patient and not get disappointed if you don’t see thousands of subscribers in the first months of doing these things.
Look at all the “huge” YouTubers out there - they’ve been doing this for years and years, so you need to be prepared to do the same.