Music and Social Media: YouTubeBy
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Many artists count on gigs to grow their fan base; while gigging is important, it has its limits. For example, when you’re based out of Kansas with a broken-down van, it can be hard to get gigs much farther afield than your local pub. And, while playing at the same place every Friday night might have earned you a small dedicated group of fans, it’s not the best way to expand your fan base. If that’s your situation, how do you branch out?
This is where platforms like YouTube come in. YouTube allows users to create profiles, upload and share videos, establish channels, search other users’ videos, and subscribe to others’ channels. It’s an incredibly popular site, with over four billion views on YouTube each day. YouTube also happens to be one of the most popular search engines for music on the internet today, second only to Google.
You could think of YouTube as the ultimate gig, unencumbered by time of day or geographic location or venue capacity. This means that, without fixing up your van, you aren’t limited to small-town Kansas or the local pub. It also means that you can make music on your schedule, and fans can watch it on theirs. Unlike other social platforms, your fans aren’t limited to reading about your gig or catching a few pictures online; instead, they can watch your performance, making it almost as if they were there themselves.
If you’re ready to sign up, great! Of course, like any other social media site, there are a few tricks to getting the most out of your YouTube channel. Here are some tips to get you started:
Customize Your Channel
Like MySpace, YouTube allows you to customize your channel to match your band’s personality and brand. Name your channel after your band, then add your own banners, color schemes, and photos. You can also make a playlist of your band’s best videos to feature on your page.
Improve Your Odds
Remember: YouTube is a search engine, not just a social network. This is important to keep in mind when creating your profile and channels and uploading your video. One way to work with this is Search Engine Optimization, a marketing tactic that encourages search engines to find you. Use this to your advantage, stressing your band name, genres, song titles, and locations. Add searchable tags to the tag box and geo-target using the “targeting” section of your account page.
Check Your Statistics
YouTube is a wealth of information for your band. Not only can you see the number of views, likes, dislikes, comments, and shares on your videos, but you can see the demographics of your audience and other things they like. This information lets you cater to them more accurately (if you wish to do so).
Use YouTube as a base for your videos. Link back to your videos and your band’s YouTube page from your website or on other social media platforms to help fans find and share your music.
Monetize Your Videos
As any struggling artist knows, making music and paying bills don’t always go together. But with YouTube’s Partner Program, you can earn extra cash just by letting them post ads on your video pages. Though you can’t specifically choose the advertisements that will appear on your band page, you can influence the type of ads used by using effective tagging and descriptive terms.
YouTube provides musicians an incredible opportunity to expand their reach and connect with fans, and it provides more data on those fans than most social networks. like There really is no reason not to create a band page on YouTube. Better still, tie it in with your other social media profiles to maximize its usefulness.
Do you share your music videos on YouTube? Have you found any drawbacks to using the site, or has it only helped increase your fan base? What’s your top-viewed video, and why is that particular video so popular?
See also: Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act, Music and Social Media: Facebook, Music and Social Media: Twitter, Music and Social Media: MySpace, Music and Social Media: Instagram, Music and Social Media: Google+, and Music and Social Media: LinkedIn.